Blog

In our last post, we discussed the importance of valuing workplace diversity and inclusion. The term "workplace diversity" has been in use for some time, but "workplace inclusivity" can have some of us scratching our heads. While diversity introduces variety to your team, an inclusive work environment is one that allows employees to truly be themselves.

diverse_workplace

You might think: people can always be themselves in our office, but there are often instances where an employee feels uncomfortable revealing certain information about themselves. Situations all too common in the office: a woman eliminates family photos from her desk to avoid seeming "serious" about her job, or a man takes vacation time for doctor's appointments to avoid indicating he's working through some mental health issues. These are only a couple examples, but "identity covering" is a frequent tactic in the workplace. A Deloitte University Leadership Center for Inclusion resport found that 61% of employees "cover" at work, meaning they aren't necessarily hiding something, but may be downplaying it in fear of attracting unwanted attention.

How to create a diverse and inclusive workspace? We'll get you started.

Share your story and be available for theirs.

When struggling at work or outside of work, open up about it. Talk about your life. Be honest about what you did over the weekend, and ask the same of your team. Revealing bits of your personal life displays openness and vulnerability, allowing your employees to feel welcome and free from judgment. Don't hide pieces of yourself, and you can expect the same from them.

Create a path for advancement.

In a diverse workplace, not all employees have informal networks among their superiors. It's important to have a path in place for someone to move up the ranks with achievements and recognition.

Establish diversity and inclusion programs.

If your team is large enough, creating joinable groups to unite people across the company can be a great way to allow space for discussion and incorporate feedback processes to larger topics. Consider the wheelchair-friendliness of your office, and give thought to perhaps adding gender-neutral restrooms. Evaluate the diversity of leadership at your organization. Involving your employees in the design and implementation of any further diversity or inclusion programs ensures future efforts are time well spent.

Be intentional about meetings.

Who is running your team meetings? How diverse are your project teams? Eliminating a day-to-day bias is the first stage of creating an inclusive environment. Being aware of meeting and team composition is important.

Categorize your numbers.

Employee satisfaction surveys and focus groups show your intentions are in the right place, but you shouldn't let above average reviews make you complacent. Statistically, the majority's views will overpower that of the minority, so take a look at the data separated into smaller categories. A great example is a Harvard Business Review study of a global law firm: while half of the firm's employees were women, only 23% of the firm's partners were female. Further segmenting their survey data, HBR discovered women didn't want to be partner as often as men. A follow-up survey revealed there were strategies to increase the number of female partners, by making some small changes.

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace is an ongoing discussion that continues to change with a shifting workforce landscape, but one thing is clear. Providing a diverse environment that allows people to be who they are will increase productivity and ultimately improve your business.

 

https://hbr.org/2019/02/survey-what-diversity-and-inclusion-policies-do-employees-actually-want

https://hbr.org/2014/11/help-your-employees-be-themselves-at-work

https://hbr.org/2018/12/to-retain-employees-focus-on-inclusion-not-just-diversity

https://theundercoverrecruiter.com/benefits-diversity-workplace/

 

Posted: 11/22/2019 10:11:45 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


Hearing the phrase "diversity in the workplace" prompts thoughts about the importance of hiring people with different ages, gender, abilities, races, sexual orientation, backgrounds, and even more, right? While hiring a staff that varies in all of these areas is very important, there's also a new workplace must-have in town: inclusion. Hiring a diverse team is the first step, and making them feel comfortable and accepted in their workspace is next. Whether it's providing an environment where a gay employee would feel comfortable bringing their partner to a work event, or offering gluten-free alternatives for a work lunch due to dietary issues, you support your employees by valuing their lifestyles.

diversity_inclusion

Today's young workforce sees diversity and inclusion as more than a legal or moral obligation; to them it is a sign of a strength.

Companies need to prioritize diversity and inclusion in order to retain employees and maintain company satisfaction. In this post, we'll talk a little about why, and in our next post we'll tackle just how to do it.

You better understand your customers. 

Having different opinions and backgrounds on your own team offers a more accurate representation of your customers. After all, there's no one person who represents a nation. Americans come in all shapes and sizes, as they say, and it's incredibly valuable to have many types of people involved the creation of a project.

You open up your client base.

Language skills, outside of English, open doors. Representation of minorities as people of power in your business, opens doors. Diversity in your staff shows you acknowledge the diversity of the world and may provide a gateway to international and global clients.

Employee performance improves.

People want to work in an inclusive workplace. And when they feel included, they are more engaged. More engagement means employees are bouncing ideas off each other more frequently so innovation increases. It's a win-win.

It's the new norm.

We long for a day when diversity and inclusion efforts aren't extra or special programs, but for now, your business must have a plan or risk being left in the dust. It is, simply, the direction the world is going, and the path on which to stay relevant and change for the better.

Posted: 11/4/2019 2:54:51 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


A new hire is a big deal. A piece of an unfinished puzzle. A chance to add valuable skills and great energy to your team. Meeting a candidate in an interview is a great first impression, but let's be real: you're meeting their Best Self, not necessarily their Real Self. A potential hire will tell you everything you want to hear, but trying to cut through the fluff can be a challenge.

Enter: the reference.

A reference, usually a former boss or coworker, is your key to getting the real story on your potential candidate. They have shared workspace, email correspondence, and project managements with them, and probably know a thing or two about what makes them tick. With such a valuable resource at your fingertips, make sure you use your time wisely – asking them these questions will offer a glimpse into this new hire.


1) What motivates them?

Are they driven by deadlines? Pushed by penalties? Encouraged by esteem-boosts? Find out what gets them going from someone who knows, and ensure you're pushing your new employee to their full potential in a way that works.

2) What was their role on the team?

In this case, we aren't talking about their technical role, but more or their social role. Every workplace has its own dynamic, and employees naturally find their place from the start. Are they the idea initiator or more likely to let the brainstorm session sit and simmer? Maybe they keep the mood light in meetings. Maybe they're a bit of a morale drag. Who knows? You'll have to ask.

3) In what area would they need support during their first few months?

This is a crucial question for planning your next quarter. Get a sense of your potential hire's problem areas and you won't be caught off-guard when some subpar skills show up later.

4) Can you name a situation when this candidate has gone above and beyond?

The answer to this question won't be as revealing as the speed at which it is answered. If an instance is recalled quickly, you can assume the candidate goes beyond their expected duties fairly often.

5) Would you hire them again?

Perhaps the most important question to ask, the answer to this sums up the reference's overall impression of the candidate and indicates whether this person is worth hiring or not. Whether the answer is yes or no, be sure to press for an explanation.

6) What conflicts did they have? How were they resolved?

As they say, "beautiful sunsets don't exist without cloudy skies." There's a chance even the most attractive candidate has had some clouds in their professional past. Learn more about how your candidate responds to pressure and conflict with a question that's bound to get an interesting response.

When dealing with a potential new hire, don't make any assumptions. Put some effort into your discussions with references, and get the valuable information for making your decision!

Posted: 9/24/2019 12:29:26 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


Give your workplace a hard look and you'll see it – there's often someone who is less than a perfect fit. Maybe they don't communicate well, they're somewhat unprofessional, or simply put – they just aren't as efficient as you had hoped.

What does it take to find employees who will show up with the skills, savvy, and seriousness to make you satisfied with your decision to hire them? It doesn't take much, but we'll help get you started.

handshake_job_search_candidate2

Pay close attention to their Job Application Self.

In theory, everyone would present an accurate version of themselves throughout the hiring process, but besides lying on resumes (which ___% of the population has admitted to doing), people do much more. Have you ever described yourself with qualities you are hoping to have or wish you had already mastered? Candidates do the same thing by presenting a potential employer with their aspirational self instead of their true self. This unintentional phoniness leaves employers with only one option: pay close attention to what they DO instead of what they SAY.

Do they claim to be excellent communicators but have some confusing wording in their emails?
Do they flaunt organization skills but their portfolio filename ends with "final_FINALreal2.pdf"?
Are they pitching themselves as a people-person but have trouble connecting in the interview?

In all of these instances, there is an opportunity to cut through claims of perfection to get to the meat of a person. What they do is who they are, and you can't assume that good intentions will become long term qualities.

Give them a trial period.

There's only one way to truly know how a person will act in your workplace, and that's to pop them right in! Set up a trial employment period at the beginning of the hire, trying anything from 2 days to 1 month. And don't underestimate what three days in an office can tell you about a person's work ethic and general demeanor.

Ask their references informative questions.

"Did you enjoy working with them?" might give you a clue that the person will be a culture fit, but how much does it tell you about their professional abilities? References will provide glimpses into your potential hire's professional life, offering evidence of their work habits, strengths, and flaws. Asking them the right questions can address your future concerns before they even arise. Skip over the general questions and ask what motivates them, what their communication style is like, etc. We'll have more suggestions in an upcoming blog post!

Listen to your colleagues.

If anyone else at your organization met the candidate, what did they think? Different people can offer a new perspective on a prospective hire, especially from those they'd be working alongside. See what others think, and be open to the possibility that a candidate might put on a different face for a future coworker than they would a future boss.

Be clear about the rules.

In many cases, an employee that appears to be somewhat lacking is just an employee who hasn't been told the rules. When you're on-boarding a new team member, have a team-wide meeting to refresh on company policies like vacation time, lunch breaks, and the like, or review the employee handbook with them. Then there's no question about your expectations..

Assuring the new hire that shows up on day 1 is the same person you interviewed can be a tough task, but hopefully these tips get you one step closer to keeping your team strong!

 

Posted: 8/27/2019 2:06:05 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


The daytime temps have tipped past 80. Happy hours and weekday friend hangs have become the norm once again. You know the feeling: summer has returned!

sunflower

Your personal life might be thriving, but your work life is probably taking a bit of a dip. Navigating a sea of Out Of Office notifications leaves many projects at a standstill and makes scheduling meetings a game of whack-a-mole. Looking for someone in the office on a Friday afternoon? Forget about it. With the school year break, the beautiful weather, and weddings and graduations, it's no wonder the common belief is that companies slow down their hiring in the summer.

But we're here to tell you: the summer can be one of the best times to look for a job!

Why, you ask? A few reasons.

Everyone else takes a step back.

Yes, this answer seems a little roundabout: it's great to job search in the summer... because other people think it isn't? But, think about it. If others have abandoned their job searches under the assumption that it's not a good time to apply, it opens up the field for you. Plus, August is prime vacation time, and Americans are taking more vacation days than ever. There's a good chance your competition would rather be poolside than hitting the pavement for a new job.

To top off a smaller applicant pool, hiring managers aren't caught up in year-end obligations or tax season, so they have more time to review and meet with candidates.

It's Easy Season for networking.

There's no worse feeling than being stuck under fluorescent lights, plodding away on last month's expense report, when just outside your window is a cool breeze and a bright blue sky. Everyone wants to be outside. Now is the time to take a chance on that happy hour rooftop networking event or arrange a lunchtime meeting with an old colleague.

Your own network is essential when searching for a new gig, and taking advantage of the August slow down can be a great opportunity to make connections while getting in some time in the fresh air. It's a win-win.

Taking time off isn't suspicious.

The moment you set up an interview with a hiring manager can be one of confused elation and dread. You've nailed down a time to chat, but what sort of lie do you have to concoct to sneak out of the office unnoticed? Summer PTO requests are expected, so summertime makes it much easier to avoid the fishy, "third dentist appointment." No one was believing that anyway.

You are your best self.

Sunshine exposure increases your serotonin (your feel-good neurotransmitter) levels, so summertime = more happiness. Warm weather, and longer days mean more fresh produce, more exercise, better immune systems, and generally more fun. This season makes all of us the most refreshed version of ourselves, so don't wait to show your best side to a potential new boss.

Nice weather can do a number on morale, and the summer months can leave openings for new employment to come easily. Take advantage of the good vibes and sunshine and find yourself a new position before fall foliage starts to turn. Don't shy away from looking for something new!

 

Posted: 6/25/2019 8:01:12 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments