Posts Tagged ‘diversity’

HR Lessons From the Garden

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

I enjoy gardening, beautiful flowers, and being in the fresh air outdoors.  As I was weeding my flower bed this weekend, I thought about how the principles relate to HR.  At the time I planted the flowers I bought, they looked beautiful (although they were small and just beginning to bloom).  Over time, instead of growing and prospering, they began to look weak and like they were struggling to survive.  Weeds had crept in the garden, and were draining the nutrients from the flowers.  That is when I thought about the analogy to what can happen in business.  Take a look at what happens from a different perspective.

Recruitment and Selection

Talent_ManagmentWhen you go to the garden shop or farmers market, there are so many beautiful flowers that it is hard to decide which to buy.  What should be considered?   At garden shops, plants have tags that identify what environment they need to thrive: amount of sun, amount of water, heat or cold tolerance.  If you don’t consider the needs of the plant and the environment you will put it in, you won’t get the results you desire.  The same for employees.  It is important in recruitment and selection to understand the needs of the person and what environment works best for them, and to share honestly what your expectations and culture are for optimal results.

Culture

Just as you need to determine the conditions that will help a plant to thrive, applicants need to understand the culture of your company, the management style, opportunities for growth, and communication flow within the company.  Culture fit is very important, and many argue it is most important.  You can teach employees many things but you can’t teach fit.  You can take a thriving plant and put it in a toxic environment and it will wilt and falter.  Interviews should include questions about the position/company/manager thus far that the employee has considered the best and why.  Assessments can also help in determining culture fit.  Someone who is an idea person and wants to contribute and share ideas for process/product improvement will not be happy in a company that is top down management unreceptive to employee input.

Orientation

Once you know the needs of the plant and have purchased it, place it where it can bloom best.  That means providing proper orientation.  It needs proper soil, water, plant food and more attention as it gets oriented to the new surroundings.  Likewise with new employees.  It may be helpful to have an employee assigned to help orient them to where things are, who to go to for various issues, and just to orient them to the day-to-day.  We sometimes forget that things we take for granted everyday will be new and strange and take time to absorb for new employees.  Identify expectations early on.  Employees, like plants, that get off to a good start are more likely to thrive.

Coaching/Training

The work doesn’t end after orientation.  Plants need ongoing attention.  Sometimes plants may need pruning to help them grow better.  Others may flourish and need a trellis to support their growth. Each is unique, just like employees. Supervisors need to be trained to recognize that one size doesn’t fit all.  Some employees may need more guidance in their development.  We need to help supervisors understand the important role they have in recognizing the uniqueness of each employee and giving appropriate feedback, coaching, training, development and pruning.  Sometimes, employee failure can be attributed to supervisor failure; and in those cases, the supervisor should be held accountable as well.

Diversity

Have you noticed that gardens that have different types of plants– various sizes, shapes, textures, and a variety of colors and leaf structure, are more pleasing to the eye than those that are all the same?  Diversity can inspire new ideas.  And since our customers and our world are diverse, we need diversity to thrive.

Life Cycle

Some plants (perennials) come back year after year.  Annuals only last one season, even with the best of care.  Hopefully you have more perennials in your workplace than annuals. But we all have some annuals (sometimes quarters).  Sometimes they just don’t thrive in the environment.  Sometimes we only hire them for a season for projects and then they move on.  In other cases, they grow stronger, develop new branches and flowers and someone else admires the attributes and wants to acquire them.  There is a life cycle for employees.  For some, you may make the decision that despite your best efforts, they are not a fit for your company.  Sometimes, even with your best efforts at describing the job and your culture, and trying to ascertain what the employee has to offer, what they need, and under what conditions they thrive; you determine it was a bad decision.  It happens. Sometimes the beautiful plant that looks healthy and has the most blooms can have underlying aphids (pests) that you can’t see that will eventually destroy the plant.

Keep in mind that even perennials that come back every year need attention: fresh soil, weeding, water, mulch.  Don’t take your perennial employees for granted.  They still need nurturing and opportunities for growth, as well as recognition for jobs well done.

Weeding

And lastly, we all know that a garden will not flourish if is overrun by weeds.  As hard as I try to prevent weeds from even starting, they eventually creep in to the garden starting small.  If I don’t deal with the weeds, or wait too long to start dealing with them, I will have lost many beautiful flowers.  The same holds true at work.  Whether your “weeds” are bad fits, or can’t do the jobs you’re asking them to do, or have lousy attitudes, they will slowly take over and drive out your good employees, much like kudzu.  Don’t let the kudzu take over your thriving workplace.  Avoid the many reasons we find to not deal with weeds at work…lack of time, fear of a suit, trying to be “too consistent,” poor managers, etc.

I hope taking a look from a fresh perspective gives you some inspiration to work in your garden…at home and at work.  For over 50 years North Carolina employers have trusted CAI to be their #1 HR partner.  Learn how we can help you too!

How to Create and Sustain a More Diverse Workforce

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

diversity

In today’s post, CAI’s HR Manager Melissa Short and Marketing Intern Andy Bradshaw discuss the strategies HR professionals should take in order to foster a diverse and inclusive organizational culture.

In 2013, Harvard Business Review conducted a survey of 1800 professionals that found a striking correlation between diversity and innovation in the workplace. The study examined what it terms “two-dimensional diversity”- which encompasses both inherent diversity, or traits you are born with such as gender and ethnicity, as well as acquired diversity, involving traits you gain from experience. The study referred to companies whose leaders exhibit at least three inherent and three acquired diversity traits as having two-dimensional diversity, and found that that companies with 2-D diversity out-innovate and out-perform others.

In fact, employees at these companies are 45% likelier to report that their firm’s market share grew over the previous year and 70% likelier to report that the firm captured a new market.

Though it may sound intuitive, the evidence for the business case for workplace diversity is significant. Along with carrying the obvious social value of creating a more inclusive, tolerant workplace, diversity in the office really can improve profits and your bottom line, as evidenced above.

Of course, most HR professionals don’t need to be told that diversity is important to the workplace, as they are most likely aware of its many benefits. Where many in HR may struggle with the process, however, is how to get started on tackling diversity initiatives with limited time and money. That’s where we’re here to help. By dividing the process into these easily digestible phases, you’ll not only be able to quickly lay the groundwork for a more diverse workplace, but also put your office on a path to sustaining this diversity going forward.

Selection and Hiring

To create a truly diverse workplace, you have to start at the beginning. Hiring people with different backgrounds may be an obvious way to improve diversity, but it takes a conscious effort to broaden recruiting efforts to reach those candidates. Here are a few ideas as to where to start this process:

  • Think about where you look for candidates. Are you looking in markets or roles that seek out membership associations, clubs, and publications with minority or underrepresented community audiences? Right here in the Triangle, you could be looking at reaching out to minority publications such as Que Pasa and The Triangle Tribune in order to place job postings.
  • But go beyond just posting a job to engaging and networking with the owners and employees in order to build longer term-genuine relationships.
  • Train and educate hiring managers on the importance of organizational diversity, particularly the business benefits. By ensuring the hiring team is aware of both the social and financial need for diversity in the office, HR can lead the charge to finding more qualified and diverse minority candidates.

Enhancing Organizational Inclusion

Once you’ve moved past the selection and hiring of a diverse pool of candidates, how will you ensure they want to stay at your organization? It takes a company-wide commitment to cultivate a culture of organizational inclusion. Employees want to work in an environment where they feel supported and valued for their differences and Human Resources plays a large role in driving this culture. Here’s how HR can permeate inclusion throughout their organization’s culture:

  • Go beyond handbook policies that cover anti-discrimination laws and consider including an organizational statement that addresses the company’s commitment to an environment of support and inclusion.
  • Revisit your dress guidelines to ensure that you aren’t inadvertently excluding items that are cultural or religious in nature.
  • Demonstrate a company commitment to utilizing minority-owned or managed businesses for key vendor relationships.
  • Regularly review your pay system to identify and correct any pay inequities.

Sustaining diversity going forward

Now that you’ve planted the seeds of diversity within your organization, HR must do its part to ensure it continues to grow and prosper moving forward. Creating a diverse workplace is one thing, but what about keeping it that way? Here are a few tips to ensure your diverse workplace is here to stay:

  • Ensure your minority employees have equal access to opportunities through the use of a minority mentorship program. This will not only give minority employees a space for engagement and advancement but also breaks down barriers between generations and other boundaries at work
  • Train managers and all employees on cultural awareness and inclusion – this can be as simple as an online training course or even sharing an article or case study around this subject.
  • Educate your front line managers around the business and social benefits of diversity and teach them to recognize any signs that point otherwise.
  • Be transparent around your intent to create and sustain a diverse and inclusive work environment and the company practices that support it. By openly showcasing your organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, you will continue to create a culture that fosters these ideals and attract employees who are dedicated to fulfilling them.

Though the process may seem overwhelming, it is imperative that HR leads the charge for a more diverse and inclusive workplace. By following these phases, you can foster a sense of inclusion that will transform your business for the better, both culturally and financially. For any other helpful tips about how to create a more diverse workplace, please let us know in the comments!

5 Ways to Celebrate Diversity at Your Workplace

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

diversity trainingThis coming Monday is the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday that honors his legacy as a civil rights activist, noble peace prize winner and champion for equal rights. To observe the holiday, many organizations offer the day as a paid holiday for their employees, but those who don’t close their facilities often celebrate in other ways. The holiday is a great way to recognize the importance of diversity in the workplace.

Here are five ways you can encourage diversity and celebrate the different team members that make up your workplace:

Training

Make sure your employees are trained on the importance of diversity in the workplace. Whether you hire an outside consultant or require a class, offer training to improve the communication between people of different backgrounds.

Emphasis

Establish a hiring plan that encourages the recruiting of diverse individuals. Additionally, include the value of diversity in your culture and interactions you have with your staffers. Accept all of your employees no matter their differences.

After Hours

Host after work socials and activities for your team members to mingle. Attendance should not be required because your employees may have prior engagements. Workplace gatherings are a good way for colleagues to get to know one another’s unique attributes. Host these events once a quarter to become familiar with your staff.

Policies

Update your policies to reflect your beliefs on improving diversity and cultural acceptance at your organization. Be aware of any language in your written documents that could come across as offensive or discriminatory to people of diverse backgrounds.

Celebrations

Throw celebrations to recognize and enjoy the different backgrounds that are present in your staff. Hold a diversity day where staff members bring in dishes that reflect their cultures. Another way to celebrate diversity is to acknowledge cultural holidays that are not mainstream but still fun for all.

For more ideas to recognize the diversity of your workforce, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Victor1558