DiversityNursing Blog

It’s not enough to want a diverse workforce; you have to create one

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Jun 27, 2014 @ 11:25 AM

By Caitlyn Coverly

google diversity data resized 600

A few weeks ago, senior vice-president Laszlo Bock took to Google’s official blog to publicly share the company’s employee demographics, revealing a predominately white male workforce and admitting a reluctance to come forward with the data earlier.

The announcement was deemed a groundbreaking disclosure, because U.S. companies are not obligated to make their workforce demographics public. However, citing that transparency is key to finding a solution, Mr. Bock wrote, “Simply put, Google is not where we want to be when it comes to diversity … our efforts, including going public with these numbers, are designed to help us recruit and develop the world’s most talented and diverse people.”

In Canada, many companies have come to realize the strategic importance of a diverse workforce and, much like Google, have initiated comprehensive diversity strategies. But developing and executing those strategies is no easy feat.

Financial institutions were among the first organizations to act on the long-term demographic and labour-market significance of Canada’s Employment Equity Act, which requires special measures and the accommodation of differences for four designated groups in Canada: women, aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities.

“As a regulated organization, we looked at diversity from a compliance perspective at first,” said Norma Tombari, director of Global Diversity at the Royal Bank of Canada. “However, with the appointment of Gordon Nixon as CEO in 2001, came the revitalization of a very robust diversity strategy; what we refer to as our Diversity Blueprint.”

RBC has been recognized in recent years for its achievements in diversity and inclusion practices. Its 2013 Diversity and Inclusion Report shows RBC’s workforce is comprised of 64% women, 31% visible minorities, 4.6% people with disabilities and 1.5% aboriginal persons — numbers that are fairly representative of the general workforce in Canada.

So, how do companies reach this level?

“Education becomes key when you are managing a multicultural and multigenerational workforce,” Ms. Tombari said. “There will be unconscious bias and blindspots, as well as a lack of cultural understanding and awareness throughout all levels of the organization, so it is our job to put programs in place that counter those attitudes.”

RBC takes a multifaceted approach, offering employees various workshops and webcasts on raising cultural acumen, as well as access to self-assessment tools where employees can rate their own level of understanding.

“The goal is to provide learning that is focused on the topic of diversity and inclusion and the rest is about embedding it in the cultural landscape of an organization,” Ms. Tombari said.

Canada’s energy giant Suncor is at a different stage of the diversity and inclusion-implementation process. After merging with Petro-Canada in 2009, changes in corporate structure created a tidal wave of new systems and strategies.

“With so much change and turnover, some things — such as our diversity strategies — got pushed to the side,” said Kelli Stevens, a company spokeswoman.

The company’s 2012 diversity report shows Suncor’s workforce is comprised of 23% women, 11.1% visible minorities and 2.7% Aboriginal persons. “We don’t look at our current percentages and think that’s okay,” Ms. Stevens said. “We are, and always will be, trying to improve them.”

Suncor, similar to Google, faces the uphill battle of recruiting from a rather homogenous talent pool. “We are a male-dominated field,” Ms. Stevens said.

In 2011, women earned only 16.5% of degrees/diplomas categorized within the fields of architecture, engineering and related technologies, Statistics Canada data shows. In fields relating to mathematics, computer and information sciences, women earned only 27% of degrees/diplomas. However, out of those pursuing post-secondary education, women account for more than half at 58%.

Suncor is in the process of developing a strategy that makes those desires a reality. Part of that strategy is supporting various programs that work to broaden the talent pool.

In March 2013, the Suncor Energy Foundation approved a five-year, $1.5-million program aimed at helping Women Building Futures (WBF), an organization that specializes in encouraging and preparing women for careers in skilled trades, to refine its business model and expand its impact.

Suncor also provides funding for Actua, the Ottawa-based national science, technology engineering, and mathematics (STEM) program, to help develop and deliver STEM programs to Aboriginal youth across Canada.

“Many of the communities we have a strong presence in have a high representation of aboriginal people,” Ms. Stevens said. “We want to be reflective of where we work and build strong relationships with those communities.”

Echoed in both companies’ strategies is the hard fact that implementing a diversity strategy is not easy; it is a long-term commitment with results as well as challenges at all stages.

Susan Black, managing partner at Crossbar Group, and Keith Caver, North America practice leader for talent management and organizational alignment at Towers Watson, offer the following advice for corporations undergoing a significant change in workforce demographics:

Inclusion is about making the numbers count: “Companies tend to jump right into programs without clearly defining their goals,” Ms. Black said. “This is often the result of a disconnect in their understanding of their own issues. In an ideal world, having a 50/50 split between male and female employees would be considered success, however, companies really need to look at their corporate structure and their client base to determine if that is what is best for their organization.”

Don’t define diversity too narrowly: “Companies tend to frame all diversity efforts around the four groups and they end up leaving a lot of white space,” Ms. Black said. “As a result people get left out of the diversity conversation. We are all a part of diversity and the thoughts and opinions of everyone should be valued in an organization.”

Culture isn’t something you can change overnight: “It typically goes one of two ways,” she said. “Either organizations declare victory too soon or they fall prey to diversity fatigue. The fact is it takes a long time to change workplace cultures. Don’t rush the process.”

You must address cultural differences and unconscious bias: “It is not good enough to just have the people in place,” Mr. Caver said. “There is an array of information available about shifting demographics and leveraging human capital. There must be an unwavering commitment to educating and preparing leaders so companies are not held back by hidden biases.”

Source: business.financialpost.com


Topics: business, company, diversity, Workforce

Are Women More Ethical Than Men?

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Mon, May 20, 2013 @ 10:51 AM

By:  

We’ve all heard it preached — in our corporations and beyond — how we should do the right things in the right way and for the right reasons. Even so, it’s often easier, faster and seems more profitable to take actions that fall in a somewhat gray area — what we’ll call a slippery slope.

Here’s what that could look like in an organizational setting: approving products before quality checks, production rate trumping safe practices, questionable sales made for goods notdescribe the image available, creative accounting to justify mergers, suppressing reporting errors, and the many other small ways we individually fail to keep promises or look away when our gut tells us something is amiss.

If one were to break it down by gender, there is no evidence that women are more likely to behave more ethically than men. But gender research does report more verbal sensitivity to the rights and dignity of others among women when compared to men. For instance, women overwhelmingly report that they would not work for a company that will do anything to win. Still, refusal to select such a workplace doesn’t mean that women in the workplace will behave more ethically than men. What people say they will do has very little predictive validity compared to what they actually do.

Nevertheless, gender is an untapped resource in setting the conditions to behave ethically. Consider the oft-cited stereotype that women are known for their inclination as caregivers and men for their conditioning to reach the end goal. Both are important. Caring is of little value if the corporation fails, and end goals are meaningless if people and the public good are harmed. But if each were to bring their strengths to the table when addressing ethical concerns and help keep each other accountable to do the right thing, we might not read about ethical lapses in the news as often.

So, who is in charge of the organizational ethical compass? The ultimate responsibility rests on the shoulders of those who lead, and diversity executives can help leaders to create an ethical workplace culture by starting with the following steps:

• Encourage leaders to surround themselves with men and women who are committed to supporting ethical actions.

• Make sure there’s a set of values that leaders and employees can look to when facing ethical dilemmas. Craft a sophisticated plan of action to ensure ethics is part of everything from sales meetings to production report to community involvement. Translate values into the varied observable actions that represent those values.

• Provide a forum in which errors and near-misses are reported without negative consequences, but are part of the healthy ethical framework the company is striving to create.

• Examine the consequences for saying and doing the wrong thing — subtle and unintended, overt and intended. Leaders must examine themselves and seek evaluative support from others about what they do that’s trending toward or away from what others deem ethical.

• Arrange practices, processes and incentives of the workplace to shape and maintain ethical decisions from the boardroom to the shop floor.

• Leaders should be open to critique of business strategies and tactics — in some instances it’s acknowledging that the worker in the boiler room may know better than leaders about what is really going on that is ethical or not.

• Encourage use of a scorecard of ethical elements to evaluate how well leaders and employees are doing, jot down what “slippery slopes” they faced and how they might better respond to it going forward.

• Share learning in an active way. Review short-term effects against uncertain but possible longer-term effects. Calibrate and change course where needed.

Source: Diversity Executive 

Are women more ethical than men? What do you think? Let us know with your comments below.

Topics: women, business, men, gender, ethical, ethical compass

Create a Culture Where Female Leaders Can Thrive

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Dec 14, 2012 @ 01:04 PM

 -  12/3/12

Investing in ways to recruit, retain and develop women is not only a fair business practice, it is smart business. These three initiatives can help.

It has been an uphill battle to make room for women at the top. With Yahoo's appointment of Marissa Mayer, only 20 women — and that’s a record high — are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Though some progress has been made on this front, organizations can still do more to recruit, retain and develop women leaders because, as the numbers show, there’s a correlation between having more women in the boardroom and improved performance.

A Catalyst study comparing Fortune 500 companies in the bottom versus top quartile in terms of women’s representation on the board showed that the top quartile organizations outperformed the bottom by 53 percent more returns on equities, 42 percent more return on sales and 66 percent more return on invested capital.

Investing in ways to recruit, retain and develop women is not only a fair business practice, it is smart business. Here are three initiatives any organization can implement to create a culture where female leaders can thrive:

Cultivate community. Women excel through social support networks. Organizations can provide tools to facilitate a sense of community and support to develop female leaders. There are different ways that this can be done, and it should always be tailored to the unique culture within an organization.

One successful tactic is to sponsor and support employee resource groups for women. These groups offer a space for discussion and information to propel women in their careers. Mentoring programs can link female leaders with other female employees who are interested in pursuing similar career paths. Through sharing stories, experiences and advice, women can learn from success stories and avoid making the same mistakes. These relationships further develop female leaders and retain high-potential candidates for leadership roles.

Develop a diverse leadership culture. To attract and encourage women to pursue higher positions, it behooves companies to walk the talk and actually have women in senior-level positions. When female up-and-comers are able to see female role models attaining executive-level positions, it shows the possibility and demonstrates the company’s support of a diverse leadership culture.

An organization does not need to have a female CEO to demonstrate a genuine commitment to women’s career advancement. Women in leadership roles should span across the organization and across functions. Organizations can consider having advisory committees that appoint women to review challenges faced by female employees and suggest appropriate action to resolve issues.

Leverage technology. Technology should not only be used as a tool for employees to connect with one another, but also as a way to recruit potential employees. New technologies are available to facilitate employee communication like never before. Internal social networking sites allow for women to connect, communicate and collaborate with one another.

Organizations can pilot programs where women create webcasts for other women that are inspiring and informative on a variety of workplace topics such as leadership, communication, professional development and goal setting. Additionally, online training programs to help the workforce appreciate gender differences and leverage distinct strengths can also help develop a diverse leadership culture.

In addition to these initiatives, by offering progressive policies on maternity leave and work-life balance, organizations can better attract and retain a high-potential female talent pool. It’s not enough to create spaces for collaboration, information and social support; organizations need to track their initiatives and measure progress to ensure fair and equitable promotion of both genders.

Topics: business, female, Fortune 500, culture, leaders

The Top 10 Facts of Economic Diversity in the Workplace

Posted by Hannah McCaffrey

Wed, Aug 01, 2012 @ 10:19 AM

From the Center for American Progress by Sophia Kerby & Crosby Burns

Our nation and our workforce are both becoming more diverse. The share of people of color in the United States is increasing; more women are entering the labor force; and gay* and transgender individuals are making vital contributions to our economy, while being increasingly open about who they are. To that end, businesses that embrace diversity have a more solid footing in the marketplace than others.

A diverse workforce combines workers from different backgrounds and experiences that together breed a more creative, innovative, and productive workforce. And businesses have learned that they can draw upon our nation’s diversity to strengthen their bottom line. In this way, diversity is a key ingredient to growing a strong and inclusive economy that’s built to last.

diversity 2

Let’s look at the top 10 economic benefits of workplace diversity.

1. A diverse workforce drives economic growth. Our nation’s human capital substantially grows as more women, racial and ethnic minorities, and gay and transgender individuals enter the workforce. A McKinsey & Company study, for example, found that the increase in women’s overall share of labor in the United States—women went from holding 37 percent of all jobs to 47 percent over the past 40 years—has accounted for about a quarter of current GDP.

2. A diverse workforce can capture a greater share of the consumer market. By bringing together individuals from different backgrounds and experiences, businesses can more effectively market to consumers from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, women, and consumers who are gay or transgender. It is no surprise, then, that studies show diversifying the workplace helps businesses increase their market share.

3. Recruiting from a diverse pool of candidates means a more qualified workforce. When companies recruit from a diverse set of potential employees, they are more likely to hire the best and the brightest in the labor market. In an increasingly competitive economy where talent is crucial to improving the bottom line, pooling from the largest and most diverse set of candidates is increasingly necessary to succeed in the market.

4. A diverse and inclusive workforce helps businesses avoid employee turnover costs. Businesses that fail to foster inclusive workplaces see higher turnover rates than businesses that value a diverse workforce because they foster a hostile work environment that forces employees to leave. The failure to retain qualified employees results in avoidable turnover-related costs at the expense of a company’s profits. Having a diverse and discrimination-free work environment helps businesses avoid these costs.

5. Diversity fosters a more creative and innovative workforce. Bringing together workers with different qualifications, backgrounds, and experiences are all key to effective problem-solving on the job. Similarly, diversity breeds creativity and innovation. Of 321 large global enterprises—companies with at least $500 million in annual revenue—surveyed in a Forbes study in 2011, 85 percent agreed or strongly agreed that diversity is crucial to fostering innovation in the workplace.

6. Businesses need to adapt to our changing nation to be competitive in the economic market. Census data tell us that by 2050 there will be no racial or ethnic majority in our country. Further, between 2000 and 2050 new immigrants and their children will account for 83 percent of the growth in the working-age population. Our economy will grow and benefit from these changing demographics if businesses commit to meeting the needs of diverse communities as workers and consumers.

7. Diversity is a key aspect of entrepreneurialism. Our nation’s entrepreneurs are a diverse set of people of color, women, gay, and transgender individuals. According to the Census Bureau, people of color own 22.1 percent of U.S. businesses. Moreover, women own28.8 percent of U.S. businesses, and Latina-owned businesses in particular are the fastest-growing segment of the women-owned business market. According to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, gay or transgender individuals own approximately 1.4 million (or approximately 5 percent) of U.S. businesses.

8. Diversity in business ownership, particularly among women of color, is key to moving our economy forward. The diversity of our nation’s business owners helps boost employment and grow our economy. For example, women of color own 1.9 million firms. These businesses generate $165 billion in revenue annually and employ 1.2 million people. Latina-owned businesses in particular have total receipts of $55.7 billion since 2002.

9. Diversity in the workplace is necessary to create a competitive economy in a globalized world. As communities continue to grow, it’s important to harness the talent of all Americans. Businesses should continue to capitalize on the growth of women, people of color, and gay and transgender people in the labor force. Our increasing diversity is a great opportunity for the United States to become more competitive in the global economy by capitalizing on the unique talents and contributions that diverse communities bring to the table.

10. Diversity in the boardroom is needed to leverage a company’s full potential.By 2050 there will be no racial or ethnic majority in the United States, and our nation’s boardrooms need to represent these changing demographics. Currently people of color and women only represent about 14.5 percent and 18 percent, respectively, of corporate boards among the senior management of Fortune 500 companies. Recruiting board directors with a breadth of expertise and varied experiences will make companies more proficient.

Topics: business, diversity, Workforce, employment, nursing, nurse, culture, career, salary

7 Reasons Why Successful Nurse Entrepreneurs Blog or Write Articles

Posted by Hannah McCaffrey

Fri, Jul 27, 2012 @ 12:01 PM

By Lea Rae Keyes via Nurse Entrepreneur Network

There are a few things any nurse entrepreneurs can do to increase their likelihood of being successful. One of the easiest and most powerful is to blog or write articles. This is also a very low cost way to promote your business. If you are wondering what blogging or writing articles has to do with the success of your business, read on....

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1.  Develops your brand - Your brand tells your potential customers what you stand for, what you deliver, and portrays an overall experience. It tells your potential customers why they should buy from you.

2.  Helps people get to know you - Blogging is a way for you to share your personality and brand so your potential customers have a feeling that they know you or are at least getting to know you.

3.  Establishes you as an expert -- Blogging gives you the chance to share your expertise and knowledge with a larger audience.

4.  Helps to create community -- As you blog your audience will begin to add comments. Next they will start commenting on each other's postings and ultimately a community will begin to be form in a space you created.

5.  Aids your 'know, like, and trust' factor -- The more people read with you have written the more they feel as though they know you. As this continues they begin to like and trust you. People are far more likely to buy from someone they know, like, and trust.

6.  Enhances readability -- When you blog or write short articles it is easy for your audience to scan or quickly read what you have written. If your target audience can quickly read what you have written they are more likely to do this than if you are writing a long, complex newsletter or white paper.

7.  Increases you chances of being invited to write for others -- Blogging helps others notice you and then ask you to be a guest blogger for them. When you guest blog for someone else it broadens the number of people exposed to your writing.

If you want a low cost, effective way to become better known you need to add blogging to your marketing plan mix.

Topics: business, success, diversity, nursing, nurse, communication

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