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Diversity: Undervalued, under-resourced and in decline

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HC Online | 31 Jul 2013, 12:02 AM Agree 0
Despite its proven effectiveness on employer branding, corporate decision-making and even profitability new research shows many organisations are downsizing their diversity programs and strategies.
  • SDM | 01 Aug 2013, 09:43 AM Agree 0
    I work for a publically listed business where we have ASX obligations around diversity. Before those obligations came into place, in truth we never really thought about it. The industry I work in is pretty fast paced & reactive so although people is high on our agenda, diversity itself was simply not thought of. So as we venture on our diversity journey what we have come across is a whole lot of nothing. It was weeks before the we could speak with anyone at the diversity council because our calls were always answered by a voicemail. When we finlaly spoke with someone they said they were really busy & weren't very helpful. What they want is a very large membership fee for not much in return. We have since googled our hearts out to try to find someone who can provide training & consultation on how we can build a diversity strategy & we have come up with very little. So without going on about it more, we are an organisation that believes in diversity but we just can't get REAL assistance & consequently I can see how what you say in your article comes to pass. If the ASX & Workplace Gender Equality Agency are going to have expectations & we want real cultural change, then someone might want to provide the tools to assist employers in getting there. My organisation is actually interested & even we're about to throw our hands up in the air!
  • HLH | 02 Aug 2013, 12:30 AM Agree 0
    I would like to specifically respond to SDM with my comment. I am saddened by your experience with the "diversity council", specifically because it is obvious that you are trying to identify good diversity resources so that your company may begin to do some diversity work.

    I agree that finding and validating helpful diversity resources can be next to impossible. Mainly because diversity itself is a workplace topic that very few people have experience successfully applying to drive business outcomes. Often times people that I talk to don't even know what questions to ask or what they are trying to achieve.

    I always say, start by taking steps to understand how diversity is actually impacting your organization right now. How do you do that? Look at the most crucial activities that take place at your organization, employee/customer interactions on the phone or in person? Business development efforts in new communities? Manager/employee interactions in factories? Whatever it is that your company needs to do well (now and in the future). Now look at who the people are at the heart of those interactions and how are those people being impacted by diversity? The impact can be evident by communication patterns, employee complaints, productivity or the lack there of. Once you understand how diversity is impacting your actual business operations you can start to craft business goals that address those impacts and figure out what interventions to put into place (proactive or reactive).

    I am in the US, and I am guessing that you are in Australia? But I am happy to exchange emails with you if you have any questions. Diversity in the workplace is my mission.
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