We have heard much about sexual harassment in the workplace lately. While this is a practice that is illegal is also destroys a well aligned diverse workplace. Diverse teams led by good leaders are highly productive teams. Creating a dynamic workforce involves valuing and respecting every individual.
Diversity and Inclusion is really all about engaging employees and customers for more success. It involves valuing all cultures, all races, genders. And it also involves respecting all ideas—that is—diversity of thought. Why do you and your company want to embrace diversity? Most would answer that they would do it because it is right. But there is an ROI. You will get more business and more customers. Gaining loyal customers and engaged employees is built on trust.
Here is how diversity helped one company. The company has restaurants in a metropolitan area located in suburbs as well as downtown cities. The company found that its management development process was not creating successful managers in every location. Specifically, the company was placing whole teams of successful suburban managers into inner city restaurants which were quite different in employee and customer experiences. There was friction among managers, employees, and customers. The problems included several sexual harassment complaints, difficult problems with guests late at night, employee turnover, and turnover of frustrated managers.
The company believed that lack of diversity was causing friction. It then put together processes aimed at connecting to every employee and every customer. First, every restaurant was to have enough female managers. The female staff now had the option of speaking to another female about a harassment complaint. But that was not all. Culturally diverse managers helped with training and development of all team members. The turnover in the restaurants was reduced. The company also measured guest engagement and that rose substantially. Guests could complain to managers who they perceived understood their needs. The incidents late at night with bar guests were substantially eliminated at the restaurant. The ROI was quickly seen. Sales increased and so did profits because of higher guest counts, more staff engagement, better customer service, and loyal repeat customers.
Is there a cost to being exclusive rather than inclusive? The example just given says there most definitely is. Can you afford to ignore large numbers of employees and customers? Why not start listening to your employees and customers.
Gallup has long had a list of twelve engagement questions They commissioned a study on diversity in 2005. One finding was that diversity has a business advantage. But the culture must be engaged and inclusive. Here are some questions to consider asking:
I always trust my company to be fair to all employees.
My company treasures diverse opinions and ideas.
If I raised a concern about discrimination, I am confident my employer would do what is right.
My supervisor creates an environment that is trusting and open.
You can learn diversity at the Society for Human Resource Management. I have been a proud member and volunteer leader in this organization for many years.
or call 914-953-4458.
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