Birds of a feather do indeed flock together. Go to any large event, and you’ll see people that have similar attributes gathered together, sometimes segregated from others. People in the same professions, socio-economic background, race and gender all gravitate toward each other. I’m sure you’ve been at parties and noticed that at times all the men are gathered in one room and the women have drifted to another. That’s natural. However, if a business does not have a system in place to ensure they are identifying, recruiting and retaining the most talented employees from all backgrounds, then that business is limiting their growth potential.
Left to their own devices, a well-meaning and otherwise savvy manager will suffer from “glare” issues when interviewing prospective employees. It’s only natural that a manager can be strongly influenced by a candidate’s obvious attributes that stand out and “glare” such as age, education, vocabulary, gender, dress and of course, race. This “glare” can prevent managers from overlooking some of the best talent available to them. If the company does not have systems in place to ensure that the best talent is being recruited, then they miss out on long term profits.
Yes, I said “recruited.”
To find the best talent, a company should have an “outreach” program to ensure that they were scouring every available source to find the best talent. Managers should be expected to search long and hard to find the best available talent. There is a difference between talent, skills and experience, and talent cannot be “taught.”
When the term “diversity training” is mentioned inside of a company, in many cases, eyes start rolling and the moaning and groaning commences. Today, there’s a lot of backlash to concepts deemed “politically correct” (and rightfully in so many cases). The key issue is for a company to improve its profitability. To do this the company must disregard “glare” issues and find the best talent available. That’s the only way a company can raise its standards and competencies. No single race, gender, orientation, political philosophy or religion has a monopoly on talent. Talent can be found everywhere. All you have to do is seek it out. However, few managers realize the importance of doing so.
Some of the negative perceptions of what has become known as “diversity training” is that this philosophy will somehow “lower standards” — or worse; attempt to change employees’ personal beliefs and values. Of course, neither is true, if you put in a complete and well thought out system. A good program should ensure that everyone within the work force has a comfortable and professional environment. The “end game” of this philosophy is to change work behavior, not an individual employee’s individual beliefs. The bottom line profit goals should be emphasized as the reason for implementing a program and all managers should know that they are expected to reach out and find the best talent period.
It’s really simple: a company’s employees should closely reflect the market that the company is trying to serve. This helps ensure that customer loyalty will be stronger… birds of a feather do flock together. You need to make sure that your company has employees that customers feel comfortable flocking toward.