Diversity In The Workplace: Trendy or Valuable?

Diversity in the workplace is a hot topic right now. I mean, it probably has always been a hot topic for HR folks; but add in the political landscape and societal current events this subject is more touchy than ever. It's always been on the task list since I started my career in Talent Acquisition & HR. It has always been super interesting how Employers and even those that make up the employee base could ignore what is happening in everyday life. Well, kinda. Not that I want to walk in to work and discuss the latest political hashtag. I am not looking to have debates on issues or see how all my coworkers vote but it would be good to have a level of awareness.

What does that mean? I believe awareness of an issue can bring about training to help decrease deficiencies or gaps in knowledge. As a HR Professional, I look for areas to develop or help workplaces create synergy and healthy workplaces. I remember working for an organization that had cultural sensitive training to help keep the workplace collaborative and progressive. It was a challenge at first. But it uncovered some really great ways to help our employee base grow- in a diverse manner.

You see, once the organization was transparent and AWARE of the conversation on diversity- employee buzz began. They saw the necessity in having varieties of profiles in their talent pool and it seemed employees felt safe to refer friends and other colleagues. Not saying there were folks that were resistant or saw the need. But overall the survey results we received in HR were positive. It communicated that the organization as a whole saw the importance of being competitive in a world that is diverse. It also says, “Hey, we value the talents and smarts of all walks of life and qualifications.” Not to mention, it made recruiting easier!

It can be a hard pill to shallow when you are forced to look in the mirror and then tell your shortcomings. Uber is experiencing this right now. I read in Diversity411 about Uber’s CEO difficulty in being transparent and building goals to be more diverse. Uber's CEO Travis Kalanick shares in an email to Fortune, “Creating a more diverse and inclusive company is a top priority and it starts with releasing our demographic data, which we will do very soon.”  Sounds good right? But like most companies pretty words mean nothing without action and metrics. So I gave a side eye when there were no metrics given or shared plan to understand how such a cutting-edge company could lag here. Seems like would want to be a leader and innovator in this space as well. On the other hand, I posted on my Facebook regarding Intel getting 100% equal pay for women and minorities. Some get it and some don’t. Such is life.

This is the thing… diversity is a beautiful thing. Hearing different perspectives helps bring different ways to solve a problem. Having a variety of education levels can help flesh out talent and strengthen professionals in overlapping areas. Shoot- having people from different cultures can make a regular Christmas party potluck LIT! One Christmas I had homemade Tandoori chicken and baklava. Mannn. I was in heaven! I learned so much in the environments that challenged me to look at things in different ways because of the organization’s commitment to diversity in the workplace. I can say, after experiencing the benefits, I have added this component to my own employment strategy when I begin looking for a new Employer. All in all- just be you. Diversity is beautiful and as the world becomes more and more of a melting pot- the smart employers will embrace it!  xo- Jas