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DiversityNursing Blog

New Report Finds a ‘Diversity Dividend’ at Work

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Thu, Jan 22, 2015 @ 02:29 PM


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Is there such a thing as a diversity dividend?

A new study of 366 public companies in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Brazil, Mexico and Chile by McKinsey & Co., a major management consultancy, found a statistically significant relationship between companies with women and minorities in their upper ranks and better financial performance as measured by earnings before interest and tax, or EBIT.

The findings could further fuel employers’ efforts to increase the ranks of women and people of color for executive suites and boardrooms — an issue where some progress is being made, albeit slowly.

McKinsey researchers examined the gender, ethnic and racial makeup of top management teams and boards for large concerns across a range of industries as of 2014.  Then, they analyzed the firms’ average earnings before interest and taxes between 2010 and 2013. They collected but didn’t analyze other financial measures such as return on equity.

Businesses with the most gender diverse leadership were 15% more likely to report financial returns above their national industry median, the study showed. An even more striking link turned up at concerns with extensive ethnic diversity. Those best performers were 35% more likely to have financial returns that outpace their industry, according to the analysis. The report did not disclose specific companies.

Highly diverse companies appear to excel financially due to their talent recruitment efforts, strong customer orientation, increased employee satisfaction and improved decision making, the report said.  Those possible factors emerged from prior McKinsey research about diversity.

McKinsey cited “measurable progress” among U.S. companies, where women now represent about 16% of executive teams — compared with 12% for U.K. ones and 6% for Brazilian ones.  But American businesses don’t see a financial payoff from gender diversity “until women constitute at least 22% of a senior executive team,’’ the study noted.  (McKinsey tracked 186 U.S. and Canadian firms.)

The study marks the first time “that the impact of ethnic and gender diversity on financial performance has been looked at for an international sample of companies,’’ said Vivian Hunt, a co-author, in an interview.  Yet “no company is a high performer on both ethnic diversity and on gender,’’ she reported.

And “very few U.S. companies yet have a systematic approach to diversity that is able to consistently achieve a diverse global talent pool,” Ms. Hunt added.

McKinsey has long tracked workplace diversity. A 2007 study, for instance, uncovered a positive relationship between corporate performance and the elevated presence of working women in European countries such as the U.K., France and Germany.


Topics: jobs, work, gender, workplace, management, minorities, recruitment, report, companies, employer, employee, gender diversity, ethnic diversity, diversity, ethnic, career, race

'Ambient' Bullying in the Workplace

Posted by Hannah McCaffrey

Wed, Aug 01, 2012 @ 10:49 AM

From Human Resource Executive Online By Katie Kuehner-Hebert

It's one thing to be bullied by a co-worker or a boss, but simply witnessing the behavior in the workplace can be enough to make a worker call it quits, according to a study of "ambient" bullying.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada surveyed 357 nurses in 41 hospital units and found a statistically significant link between working in an environment where bullying was occurring and a desire to leave the organization. The study was published last month in the journal Human Relationsby SAGE.

"We underestimate the power of the impact of just being around bullying in the workplace," says Sandra Robinson, a professor at UBC's Sauder School of Business and one of the authors of the study.

office bully"For those seeking to influence problematic behavior, they need to be sensitive [to the fact] that the impact of such behavior transcends the person or the group . . . actually being bullied, and that there may be other victims who are impacted by the harmful behavior, whether it comes from their supervisor or co-workers," Robinson says.

Marianne Jacobbi, senior editor at Ceridian/Lifeworks EAP programs in Boston, says research has shown that ambient bullying, or "indirect bullying" is pervasive -- 70 percent of employees say they have witnessed other people being bullied or mistreated at work.

"Bullying has a negative effect on team relationships, which creates a toxic work environment," Jacobbi says. "When [people] witnesses bulling, they think, 'This could be me next,' particularly if it's their boss."

Indeed, research has also shown that 72 percent of all bullies are bosses, she says.

HR managers should encourage an environment in which people feel safe to discuss bullying they've witnessed, and assessed that their comments will remain confidential whether they come to their boss, the HR department or the organization's employee-assistance program, Jacobbi says.

"The most important thing is creating a climate where people feel they have someplace to go when they feel uncomfortable," she says.

Ken Zuckerberg, director of training at ComPsych Corp. in Chicago, says HR managers not only have to watch out for employees with low morale after witnessing bullying, but also employees who try to appease the bully and make bad business decisions to avoid getting on their bad side.

When dealing with bullying behavior, organizations should treat it as a performance problem first and foremost, Zuckerberg says. A common mistake that HR managers often make in these situations is to take on the role of a counselor and try to figure out what is going on in the bully's life to cause them to act that way.

"One word of caution ? you want to continue to manage performance, but you don't want to be diagnosing mental-health issues," he says. "Most HR managers are not clinicians and they instead, should refer the bully to their EAP for help in uncovering what might be core issues behind bullying."

Seymour Adler, a partner with Aon Hewitt in New York and an organizational psychologist, says some people who witness bullying in the workplace feel they've been put in "a totally untenable situation of whether or not they need to try to be a hero."

"Who knows what the consequences will be if they do something about it, so they end up being passive about it," Alder says. "That can really be very corroding to their self-esteem, to how they view themselves as human beings."

If top-level managers are bullies, HR managers need to risk confronting them for the sake of the rest of the organization, he says.

"[HR managers have] the responsibility for the motivation, effective use and treatment of all of the human capital within their organizations," Adler says. "They need to be true to their value system, even if it ends up costing them their job."

Topics: management, unity, diversity, Workforce, nursing, nurse, bullying, community, career

Coaching the big game: Mentors help nurses get into the swing of things

Posted by Hannah McCaffrey

Wed, Jun 06, 2012 @ 11:30 AM


Alisa Glaister, RN, credits her opportunity to ascend from new grad to nurse manager to a few key colleagues, including a director from a different unit who advised her as she led a project to treat angioplasty patients on the telemetry floor. “He helped me get my foot in the door for this project, which I believe has led to my current management position,” said Glaister, a nurse manager at St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco.

Glaister met with her mentor weekly to discuss techniques of effective leadership. “He was a tremendous help and guide,” she said. 

NurseMentor 300pxMentoring has gained considerable respect as an essential element for training new nurses, whether they’re fresh out of school or recently transferred from another unit. “The first year [out of school] you have those vulnerable moments all the time, and you forget what you have accomplished,” said Hazel Curtis, RN, BSN, MPH, an education specialist for staff development at Loma Linda (Calif.) University Medical Center. “A great mentor picks you up, dusts you off, gives you a pat on the back and says, ‘You can do it.’” 

Going one on one

Formal mentoring programs hatched in professional associations and hospitals are popping up around the country as researchers and managers find the practice boosts a nurse’s job satisfaction and confidence. 

Cecelia Gatson Grindel, RN, PhD, CMSRN, FAAN, studied the outcomes of Nurses Nurturing Nurses (N3), a mentoring program designed by the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses. The year-long program was rolled out to 40 medical institutions across the country in 2002. Grindel, a professor and interim dean at Georgia State University in Atlanta, said data she could gather indicated more than 90% of mentored nurses stayed on the job, compared to attrition rates as high as 30%. Feedback collected throughout the pilot year of the program suggested mentored nurses had more job satisfaction and confidence. 

Yvonne Brookes, RN, director of clinical learning at Baptist Health South Florida in Miami, found similar results after implementing a residency program that included a mentorship component. Previously, turnover among the system’s 4,000 nurses averaged 22%, often because new graduates left the profession or pursued an advanced degree after their first year. Since implementing the program in 2007, the new graduate turnover rate dropped to 6%, she said.

“We realized it wasn’t about the science, it was all that other stuff that goes to the head of a new grad,” she said. 

“Other stuff” can range from implementing unit procedure to dealing with difficult managers or unhelpful preceptors. It can be conflict with patients or their families dealing with the shock of witnessing a death for the first time. “Sometimes you just need to vent,” Brookes said.

A mentor also can help a nurse recover from making a medical error — a potentially traumatic experience — by offering emotional support and emphasizing that one mistake doesn’t make a bad nurse. 

Choosing teams

Matching the mentor who responds to help with complaints, concerns, self-doubts and errors with the nurse who needs to share them is somewhat hit and miss in formal mentorship programs. Both parties have to accept the relationship takes time — not an easy pill to swallow in today’s intense work environment.

N3 guidelines advised managers to look for someone with three- to five-years of experience in the same field who worked outside the nurse’s unit. In a new mentoring program at St. Mary’s, nurse managers help match personalities and proximity, among other factors, Glaister said. “We really take into consideration who we’re matching with whom,” she said.

At Baptist Health, the process was more intuitive, Brookes said. Mentors and mentees gathered in one room to talk one on one and then rotated until every mentee had met every mentor. “It’s sort of a speed-dating situation to find a mentor that will work for you,” she said. 

Programs across institutions vary, but the time commitment can range from trading a text message or two per month to having biweekly meetings for one year. Since many new nurses are assigned to the night shift, a good deal of these conversations happen in the evening. But meetings also can be irregular or precipitated by emergent situations, said Abigail Mitchell, RN, DHEd, MSN, a professor at D’Youville College, Buffalo, N.Y., and a nursing supervisor at Kaleida Health, Buffalo, N.Y. “If they’re in crisis, you have to handle it,” said Mitchell, who runs a private mentoring firm. “You can’t just say, ‘It’s not our date to meet.’”

Generation gaps can present challenges in mentor-mentee relationships. For instance, younger nurses are often more comfortable communicating through texting and email. Nurses from the baby-boomer generation are sometimes reluctant to mentor the next generation. “The work ethic is different,” Mitchell said. Boomers will pick up extra time or stay over their shift to help coworkers, while some younger-generation nurses rather go home and pick up extra hours when it works for them, around holidays, for example, she said.

Sometimes the mentor-mentee relationship just doesn’t work out, but that doesn’t necessarily mean mentoring didn’t work. Anecdotal evidence from the N3 program indicated nurses who’d been assigned a mentor were likely to seek out another if the first relationship wasn’t helpful. Managers also have noticed that mentored nurses go on to mentor their junior colleagues. “The process has fed on itself,” Brookes said. “The more professional their approach, the more they want to contribute to the next group coming in.”

The program’s success has inspired Brookes to extend the model to other levels of the profession. A med/surg nurse with 15 years experience still needs guidance when transferring to a different unit, like critical care, she said. She is mentoring four managers to help them ease into their new roles. “They’re degreed up to the caboozle, but that doesn’t mean they know whom to reach out to,” Brookes said.

At this level, mentoring is more about handling people and situations than about patients and skills. Healthcare management involves evaluating staffing ratios, managing human and fiscal resources and strategic planning. Sometimes advice is just practical: a nurse manager would do well to keep a pressed blazer in the office closet, for example. 

Recently, Curtis convened a small mentor circle for managers. The new managers come together about once a week to ask questions and hear presentations on broad topics of interest, such as the hospital culture. The program has boosted their confidence, she said. 

Educating educators

Academia, too, reaps benefits from mentoring. Shellie Bumgarner, RN, MSN, CEN, EMT, a clinical educator at Lenoir-Rhyne University School of Nursing in Hickory, N.C., sought help to implement an education day for nurses at a small rural hospital. 

She found a mentor at the 2010 national convention of the Emergency Nurses Association, which had started EMINENCE (Establishing Mentors InterNationally for Emergency Nurses Creating Excellence) in 2008. The pair worked together for one year, talking about once a month and trading emails frequently. 

Her mentor helped her with the substance of her topic, which focused on pediatric care in smaller, rural facilities. She also contributed creative ideas to help Bumgarner find a way to cover the shifts of nurses who attended her training. “She advised how to tweak my ideas to better fit the smaller hospital,” she said. 

Retention of nursing faculty is as urgent as the need for unit staff, as professors leave academia for higher paying jobs. The National League for Nursing, which focuses on nursing education, released “The Mentoring of Nursing Faculty Tool Kit” to promote recruitment and retention of nurse faculty (available online at 

Beyond orientation, mentoring faculty includes the development of teaching and research skills. 

Mitchell has started her own mentoring program targeting faculty. Managing workload and outlining governance procedures are primary topics, she said.

The idea may be slow to grow, but more nurses at all levels are realizing the importance of mentoring, said Brookes. Is it a widespread practice? “No,” she said. “But it should be.”

Topics: management, mentor, diversity, education, nursing, nurses

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