Have you ever been in a conversation with a group..

when one person was way behind what everyone else seems to know? I witnessed exactly that at a business dinner event just recently.

Everyone at the table was talking about ways they were strategizing to find qualified employees in new talent pools and how they were trying to address retention issues. For hiring, employers were giving examples of sending “scouts” to cultural events, creating partnerships with immigrant serving organizations, taking “hire for ability” awareness sessions, and targeting school to work programs to attract older or transitioning workers. For retention they were talking about attending webinars to improve communication between boomers and millennials, and stats they had read recently.

But there was one guy who looked like he wondered if he was at the wrong party. He kept saying things like “I just hire people. If candidates from different populations don’t apply, it’s not my problem. If they don’t stay they obviously couldn’t handle the heat. And besides, I just don’t have time to keep up on all this new information.”

 

Clearly he was way behind the reality of today’s workforce.

But he did have a point about not having time 

to gather information and figure out how to restructure things. Thinking strategically about his workforce wasn’t his focus. He wanted to sell his products. Had he considered for a moment the ideas of the people at his dinner table, he would have realized this was a great learning opportunity for him to do exactly that. Not only was he getting the networking opportunity he came for, but his colleagues were giving him tips that could improve his business results from a new perspective – totally for free!

You do not want to be “that guy” who doesn’t get it when it comes to how hire and keep a diverse workplace.

Let me explain.

Think of your workforce like the human body. We don’t have 20 hearts and 15 lungs do we? We have a variety of body parts to perform different functions, but they all work together to get us to where we want to go and do what we need to do. That’s because diverse body parts are necessary for accomplishing pretty much anything. If your workplace has people with different life experiences, come from different places, have different ideas, look and sound different, and access different groups of friends, you already have increased your exposure to your products and services just from your employees alone. When customers come into your organization and see your employees in their many colours, shapes, sizes and personalities, they are more likely to find someone they identify with. When you solve business problems using all those diverse experiences you come up with new and innovative solutions that work in ways you could never have imagined previously. People who feel like they “belong” when they come to your business are more likely to buy. Your happy diverse employees will bring a bigger pool of customers to your business. (note the word “happy”. Unhappy employees drive business away.)

Here’s another quick story from my experience in grade 5.

My teacher was a huge hockey fan. He had hockey posters, jerseys all over the place and we were all put into “NFL teams” for our math and language arts projects and encouraged to compete against the other groups and win. For the eight people in the class who were big hockey fans, they thought they had died and gone to school heaven. The hockey fan kids always stayed later to chat with the teacher and had the highest marks almost all the time. But for the other 25 kids in the class who had little to moderate hockey interest, they felt there was no place for them. They never spoke up in class and left as soon as they could.

See how much “business” he was losing by having such a narrow focus? Almost 75%!!! His lack of interest in finding out what mattered to the other 75% of his class caused those students to disengage. I remember feeling very intimidated when I walked into his class and every time he talked about “beating” the other teams, my heart sank because I knew that our “team” was never in the winners group. That’s why being aware of the power of diversity, and being interested in knowing more about people from their own perspective is so important.

But diversity alone is not enough to get all those moving parts working together.

That is where inclusion comes in. When people feel they belong, they know why they are doing something, what they are doing, and they realize that the diverse talents and skills of their colleagues are necessary for reaching those goals, then you have results! Inclusion is about finding out what really makes people tick and then using that to create an experience with them that ignites creativity, problem solving and sales.

Diversity and inclusion of course are not something everyone is “up” on. When you are keenly focused on the immediate goals of your business, you don’t have the time to get top of mind workforce information in a concise way you can actually apply to your workplace. There is only so much of you to divide up into all the things you need to get done each day.

That’s why we created the Employer certificate in workplace inclusion program.

To help you focus, we have gathered and distilled the latest information on building an inclusive workforce and put it into a practical format you can use to start one project and get it done with the minimum of time and effort. You don’t need to read 20 books, listen to years of podcasts and watch a kazillion YouTube “how to” videos to get this valuable information for your business. And you don’t need to take an expensive time consuming course either.

Just register for our Certificate in Employer Inclusion workshop on February 5th and experience the “done-for-you” version you can apply immediately.

Get in touch with today's workforce hiring and retention realities

So if you want to join the “in crowd”

with hiring and retention and avoid the stigma of being seen as out of touch with today’s workforce realities – check out our Edmonton workshop here.

Don’t live in Edmonton?

We have a Calgary event coming up in March – stay tuned…

Don’t live in either of those cities? Ask me to bring the show to your town! I just might come 🙂 marie@shiftworkplace.com.

This workshop is part of the

Spruce Grove and District Chamber of Commerce

Inclusive Employer breakfast and workshop series 2018

http://www.sprucegrovechamber.com/pages/building-inclusive-workplaces

 

About the presenter

CEO of Shift Management Inc., Marie Gervais, PhD., brings workplace learning to new heights with supervisory and leadership training for industry, online learning, webinars, and workplace learning needs assessment services. She applies field-based practical tools to workplace problems, builds capacity for systems thinking and problem solving, and facilitates collaborative teamwork for today’s multicultural workforce. If you are looking for leadership training with real workplace results, happy employees and increased market share, a conversation with Marie is the best place to start.