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.