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Retaining Talent with Intentional Planning.

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Category: Organizational Behavior

In the 1990s, there was considerable buzz about the business case for diversity. Businesses who hired individuals from underrepresented groups using the “quota” system were not finding success. Hiring visible ethnic/racial minorities and women as an exercise often led to backlash for the hires and the companies who were unprepared to develop this talent.

Books such as Affirming Action from Affirming Diversity by Dr. Roosevelt Thomas, Cultural Diversity in Organizations by T.H. Cox, Jr. and others heralded the necessity of going beyond “head count” or “surface diversity” and quotas to consider the benefits of a multicultural diverse workforce on the bottom line. The message of these texts 15-20 years ago are still relevant.

My book, Successful Diversity Management Initiatives (Arredondo, 1996), outlined a road-map for organizational change through a focus on diversity. Steps in the process were determining the pros and cons of addressing diversity, consequences of neglecting the diversity factor and the self-interest proposition. Intentionality was essential.

In essence, the academic and professional literature points to paradigms for organizational change and development to fully address diverse talent. One of my fundamental statements was and continues to be “Diversity is a fact of life”, not a trend but a global reality.

Employers today recognize that multicultural diversity is at the heart of changing demographics. Just review the list of “the best companies to work for” and the best companies for gays and lesbians, people with disabilities, Hispanic/Latinos and so forth. Talent management is not magical but businesses can learn from one another.

Common factors among the best companies include developmental programs for employees, affinity networks, mentorship, family-friendliness, flexibility (i.e., telecommuting, nonstandard work days and time for education), and so forth.

In a global world of talent shortage, retaining diverse talent requires intentional planning.

What is your employer doing to retain talent?

Please visit diversebusinessnews.com for more resources.

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What Women Want.

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Category: Academic Insights

One doesn’t need to have supernatural powers like Mel Gibson’s character in the movie “What Women Want” to figure out the answer to this question. Time and again, numerous research studies and other data have revealed that women want the same things as men do – advancement, challenging work assignments, and opportunities to have an impact at work. And when women don’t find these opportunities at work – they quit their jobs. And these are the very same reasons that drive men to quit their jobs too.

A recent McKinsey Quarterly article published last week (4/11/2011) on women’s progress (or lack thereof) in Corporate America succinctly summarizes this issue– “Women don’t opt out of the workforce; most cannot afford to. They do leave specific jobs for others in pursuit of personal achievement, more money and recognition—just like men.”

Our research (“Stemming the Tide”) on over 3,700 women engineers’ work and career experiences revealed very much the same pattern – women were most likely to stay in their jobs and in the engineering profession when their companies invested in their training and professional development, when they recognized their contributions to the companies, and when they offered them opportunities and clear paths to advancement.

As noted in our research, it’s a myth that women undertake rigorous educational training and join the workforce only to quit their jobs for ‘lifestyle reasons.’ Most cannot afford to or even want to quit. Stymied by long-standing institutional and structural barriers and entrenched gender stereotypes at work, many women professionals often alter their career trajectories and seek to satisfy their career ambitions in workplaces that respect, promote, and leverage their skills and talents. Again, not very different from what men do.

Corporate America has made huge strides in attracting top-notch female talent to their workplaces, but they rapidly lose them – not for gender-specific reasons, but gender-neutral reasons. Retention is closely tied to advancement: same for women as it is for men. What is Corporate America doing to close the revolving door for women?

After decades of research on this topic – the question is no longer what women want or even whether what women want is different from what men want – the question is how do organizations ensure that they are indeed offering women the same things as they are offering men?

What is your company doing to ensure that both women and men have same opportunities and same access to opportunities?

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Boomers and Millennials – What’s Their Effect on the Workplace?

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Category: Changing Demographics

Download the video transcript.

The Center for the Study of the Workplace interviewed Rebecca Ryan, founder of Next Generation Consulting (NGC) and author of the book “Live First, Work Second”, to hear her insights about Boomer’s retirement and the transition from Boomers to Millennials in the workplace.

Ms. Ryan certainly has been accurate in predicting the trends of the workplace since the creation of NGC in 1998.

Rebecca first addresses how both generations are impacting the workplace. In the short term, she states, younger generations will help companies move out of the recession by creating innovative solutions.

She believes that in the long term we will see stronger teams. Generation Y has been team-working since college, so “Boomers’ invention” – team work – will be improved.

In her opinion, companies now face two main challenges. The first is related to how to engage and retain younger talent when firms’ top positions are being held by Boomers and there is no place to Millennials advancement. The second challenge is to convince Boomers to share their leadership, “so institutional knowledge transfer can happen”.

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