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Responding to Increasing Government Interest in Workplace Diversity

Posted by Afton Funk

Aug 3, 2011 12:02:00 PM

By: Don Kim

Workplace diversity is on the government’s mind.  As ERE reports, President Obama is considering a new Executive Order that would push a “government-wide effort to promote diversity and inclusion” in the workplace.  Formal diversity legislation is already in place in the finance industry via the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.  All signs point to workplace diversity becoming an increasingly important factor that HR managers and recruiters must be aware of.

There is nothing new about firms trying to promote diversity in the workplace.  Workshops on operating with different peers  of a different background/gender are becoming increasingly popular. However,  it would be a stretch to say that these old measures take actual steps in promoting workplace diversity.  So, what is an enterprising HR manager to do to promote a diversity-friendly workplace environment?  Read on!

Sodexo, which has been recognized by DiversityInc as the #1 overall among top diverse and inclusive companies and #1 for recruitment and retention, took a very simple yet direct approach to improving workplace diversity.  Instead of educating others about the importance of diversity, they took steps to help individuals from diverse backgrounds achieve success in the company.  Below are the two key strategies that allowed Sodexo to achieve its prominent workplace diversity.

  • Conduct targeted recruiting

Sodexo sent recruiters to college campuses and professional associations historically known for having diverse candidates.  Besides going to diverse college campuses and professional associations, you can check out job boards that are catered specifically towards individuals of different backgrounds.  Look atTalentOyster, a website that brands itself as Canada’s premier online job board for candidates of diverse backgrounds.

  • Foster intra-workforce relationships

Having a diverse workforce doesn’t mean anything if your employees don’t interact in a way that fosters sharing of different ideas.  To address this issue, start some sort of employee networking/mentoring system.  Establish small network groups and mentor/mentee relationships to increase employee cohesiveness.

If you don’t think that these solutions are a good fit for your company, maybe you should consult the experts.  The Medici Effect is a group that specializes in promoting business success through the joining of diverse ideas.  Whatever you do, remember the two key points of a successful and diverse work environment: having a diverse set of employees and having an environment that allows those employees to utilize their different points of view for business success.

Topics: Recruiting, Diversity

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