Build a More Diverse Workplace (By Eliminating Diversity)

January 6th, 2017
Jon-Mark Sabel

“In most organizations today the words ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’ do not have any real meaning,” Joe Gerstandt begins. “Organizational diversity and inclusion effort are still very much in their infancy and still suffer greatly from conceptual and linguistic underdevelopment.” In other words, a lack of common language is a huge barrier to diversity recognition and accommodation efforts. In his article “Different Kinds of Difference,” Gerstandt undertakes the Herculean task of establishing that common language. He identifies three different kinds of difference that should be considered when referring to “diversity”:

  1. Identity Diversity. “These are real and/or perceived identities and this is where the vast majority of our conversations and efforts around diversity happen,” Gerstandt explains. Identity is our foundational, personal ideology- and that ideology has very real consequences. Rigor should be applied to any efforts to remove identity-related barriers to entry and participation.
  2. Cognitive Diversity. This is, more or less, diversity of thought. Different ways of solving problems and different perspectives are examples of cognitive diversity. But at the end of the day, “it is hard to completely divorce diversity of thought from diversity of identity.”
  3. Value Diversity. These are differences in our values, or fundamental preferences. A high variability in values has the potential to cause serious problems. Of particular importance is how much individual employees value diversity. If it is not an issue they are fundamentally concerned about, chances are your grandiose diversity-related efforts will fail.

Efforts to increase identity and cognitive diversity are laudable, and have the potential to positively impact an organization’s bottom line. On the other hand, reducing the amount of value of diversity is just as important. Clashing values lead to nigh-unreconcilable conflicts. In terms of long-term success, it is critical to do both. Find Joe: LinkedIn Twitter

2. How to Reject a Great Applicant

We all know how to deal with a poor applicant, telling them “no” is about as cut and dry as can be. But what about great applicants? There are certainly times when great applicants need to be rejected as well- and this is what Pablo Fuentes explores in his article. He identifies two main reasons great applicants might need to be rejected, and how to go about rejecting them. 1. Timing. Perhaps you need to fill a role immediately and your perfect candidate is in the middle of a six-month gig. Maybe a role needs to be filled six months down the line, and that terrific candidate is only available for the next four. The Solution: When hiring is just not an option, “you can be straightforward and explain the circumstances,” Fuentes says. “The labor market is becoming more fluid, and things change all the time.” There are two ways to stay in contact with these candidates: inform them of updates in your timeline, and touch base every 3-4 weeks. You never know when circumstances will change and the stars align. 2. Cultural Fit. Company chemistry, while descriptively nebulous, is a crucial part of long-term success. Fuentes provides the example of a startup that barely has a product: “You probably do not need to hire a VP of Sales with lots of experience scaling and organization.” The Solution: In this situation wording is key. “You want to avoid the perception of discrimination in any form,” Fuentes explains. In cases of personal conflict, including specific details in your rejection may do more harm than good. Ultimately, your team needs to function. Find Pablo: LinkedIn Twitter

3. Marketing to Gen C

Daniel Newman defines Gen C as a technological mindset that transcends age. Gen-Cers keep up with the latest tech trends and are frustrated when modern businesses do not do the same. They look to each other for information and advice, and form close-knit online groups and communities. As an expanding demographic, marketing to Gen C is more important than ever. In order to market to Gen C, start with mobile. “Leverage mobility as a marketing asset,” Newman says. “You’re going to need to be able to effectively market to Gen C on mobile platforms.” Doing so will not only keep your ship from sinking, put you ahead of the competition as well. He provides four methods for leveraging mobility:

  • Responsive web design. Enable websites to adjust in size and design to fit different devices’ screens. Gen-Cers are not going to fiddle with clunky mobile sights, and are more than happy to take their clicks to your competitors.
  • Social media marketing. Develop a social media presence. At this point it’s expected for organizations to have a friendly, non-advertising social media network. “Generate meaningful interactions.”
  • SMS marketing. “Text messaging is one of the best ways to reach your audience anywhere,” Newman explains. “Having your customers sign up for text alerts and ads is a great way to ensure they always have information about all your latest innovations and offerings.”
  • Geo-location. Localize your ads, and hone your message to a specific geographical area.

All of these methods mesh together to create a meaningful user experience. And for the Gen C consumer, as well as the job hunter, that is the most important metric of all. Find Daniel: LinkedIn Twitter

4. 10 HR Recommendations for 2017

It’s a new year, which means lists of resolutions, recommendations, and suggestions are to be found in abundance. HR is no exception. Here are Kathy Rapp’s (President of hrQ) 10 HR Recommendations for 2017.

  1. Stop saying “strategic.”
  2. Update your LinkedIn profile picture. “For those who think their pic from 15 years ago is fooling anyone, think again.”
  3. Attend 1 event each month. These do not necessarily have to be HR events- broaden your network.
  4. Have a voice. Blog, create online content, give advice.
  5. Put down your phone. Talk to people and observe the goings-on in your immediate vicinity.
  6. Read. Not just social media.
  7. Write important stuff down. Hold yourself accountable with a physical record of your goals and priorities.
  8. Be proud of your profession. You do important work, critical for maintaining the humanity of business in an increasingly automated world.
  9. Build your brand. Be active in the HR community and don’t be afraid to present your own personal insight and spin on the latest news and trends.
  10. Keep reading FOT. They’re a seriously great HR blog, part of an elite group that consistently puts out high-quality, insightful content.

Find Kathy: LinkedIn Twitter

5. Seven Deadly Sins of Compensation

It’s the compensation season, a season many organizations use as a way to make up for mistakes and slights made throughout the year. According to Ruth Thomas, this is the wrong approach. She details seven “sins” of compensation that should be avoided:

  1. Too much focus on process, not outputs. The compensation process is complicated, a mess of spreadsheets and hard-to-find data. It is easy to get caught up in the minutiae and miss the big picture. Consider the key business imperatives for the coming year, and tailor compensation to those.
  2. A one-size-fits-all approach. As employee bases diversify, it is important to segment rewards to meet varying employee needs. “If you really want to optimise compensation spend, you need to move away from a bell curve approach that allocates the majority of your budget to average performers, and instead to one that recognizes your key talent,” Thomas says.
  3. Too much focus on budget and how it is spent. Use the compensation process as an opportunity to recognize the best talent, not as an exercise in expense management.
  4. Poor data readiness. Your compensation plan should be data-driven. Making relevant data readily available is critical for its successful enactment.
  5. Lack of risk assessment of compensation process. You don’t want to reward employees who gained their edge through nefarious means.
  6. Lack of manager empowerment. Empower managers with the information and tools to make optimal pay decisions. They’re the ones on the front line, after all.
  7. Poor communication. “Reward communication is very important for creating perceptions of fairness and equity, and communicating reward issues poorly can erode those perceptions,” Thomas explains.

Find Ruth: LinkedIn