Does Everyone Still Look the Same in your Organization?

There has been a lot of talk about diversity in the workplace. A lot of money has been poured into countless diversity programs and yet a lot of organizations still fail to achieve their quest for a diverse workplace. One question to ask is why does diversity matter? If organizations don’t understand why diversity is important to them, the battle is already lost. According to an article in the Center for American Progress, a diverse workforce combines workers from different backgrounds and experiences that together breed a more creative, innovative, and productive workplace. Another thing to consider is the understanding of what a diverse team look like to an organization. Diversity can mean different things to different organizations. Once these questions are answered then the question of how to attract and retain top and diverse talent can be addressed. 
Why does everyone look the same in your organization? Why can’t your organization retain the best talent? With all the programs and resources expended to grow diversity, the numbers haven’t shifted in the positive direction for some. One underlying reason is because organizations and teams attract who they are and not who they want.

I remember interviewing for an engineering position at a plant many years ago. The plant environment was so dirty and I told myself while the interview was still on that even if I got the job I wasn’t going to accept it. I couldn’t see myself working in a place like that. On other occasions, I’ve would always wonder if I would be working with at least one other woman on my team if hired. 
When people show up at your door, the first thing they look for is anything that looks like them in terms of people, the environment, culture and values. Your people, culture, values, and work ethic and environment need to have a semblance of who you want to attract and retain.

When you have a toxic culture, you will continue to attract people who have bad attitudes. If you have all baby boomers in a team, no millennial may want to join that team and add value. If your organization doesn’t have strong core values such as innovation, integrity, excellence, and customer service, you might repel the best talent. 
How do you remedy this? Make a few changes in your organization and teams.

  • Become the type of people you want to attract and keep.
  • Put policies and systems in place that will meet the needs of those you are trying to attract. Have you updated your office spaces lately? Have you considered whether your culture is not conducive for those who work for you?
  • Train and develop your managers to become better leaders. A number of people in leadership positions still do not know how to treat employees. A high percentage of employees are always looking for the next opportunity because they hate their bosses or the unhealthy cultures created by other managers.
  • Introduce on going personal and leadership development training and coaching for all employees. When you focus on your personal development and that of your teams, attitudes are improved, characters are developed and teams become more cohesive. People become more tolerant of one another. You will have less lawsuits, ethical and moral breakdowns and develop a stronger culture.
  • In addition, put the kinds of people you want to attract on your leadership team and in prominent positions; and treat them well so they don’t leave. Diversity in your leadership team translates into diversity in your entire organization.

I believe when you do these, soon enough, you will begin to attract the right kinds of people and retain the best.

Kemi Sorinmade is a certified leadership coach and trainer and the owner of the Growth Studio a global leadership development training and coaching firm. She works with science, engineering, technology and healthcare professionals to help them overcome difficult work challenges, improve performance and maximize results; and she equips organizations with strategies to improve employee engagement, reduce turnover and build a better company culture so that they can grow their profits and remain competitive.

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