Friday, October 18, 2019
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 19:00

Are We Past Diversity?

Written by Cindy J. Lau-Evans

Diversity & Inclusion is seen by some as a compliance-driven HR topic that was relevant “in the past.” Some view it as divisive, pitting one group against another. As businesses focus on the bottom-line, some question whether diversity and inclusion initiatives have value for an organization functioning in ‘the real world’ and whether “these days” the U.S. really needs to be looking at workplace composition or exerting efforts on inclusion initiatives.

As Diversity initiatives have evolved over time into Diversity & Inclusion, for many this is really a leadership issue involving ethics and business strategy -What is the right thing to do? and What is the smart thing to do?’ Ongoing and accelerating forces -both national and global- are pushing waves of change. They present both challenge and opportunity. We must adapt to survive and manage change to thrive. Organizations thrive when executive leadership ensures that talent management strategy is an integral part of the strategic plan and is recognized as a factor in achieving organizational goals; when diversity and inclusion are seen in a positive light, are seen as essential and are leveraged for success. Organizational goals are facilitated by human resource activity that is designed and modified to support day-to-day operations. Both strategic and operational activities are dependent on the recruitment, development and engagement of diverse talent (people!) who are empowered and actively engaged in an inclusive workplace.

Don’t buy it? The argument for diversity and inclusion can be complex but this article will provide food for thought in a format that allows readers to quickly sample bits of information. This article was created using bytes of data, thoughts and opinions gathered by the writer from the Internet as well as data and quotations served directly to the writer by respected professionals and leaders from various industries for your consumption (indicated by the blue diamond and the italicized font). Bon appetit!

What’s happening?

What is Diversity?
@Cindy J. Lau-Evans:
DEFINITION: One way of defining Diversity is a narrow one focused purely on compliance with the letter of the law but Diversity is broader and deeper than simply differences based on race, sex and national origin.

DEFINITION: One definition of Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace is the fostering and maintenance of a welcoming work environment that respects and values the differences that make each individual unique and offers opportunity for participation and development.

The Reality Argument: The Waves of Change, The Force of Diversity and the Need for Inclusion Strategy

Florida Vocational Rehabilitation @Florida VR
“Nearly 1 in 5 people has a disability in the U.S. releases/archives/miscellaneous/cb12-134.html”

“Only 41% of people with disabilities between the age of 21 and 64 are employed compared with 79% of people who do not have a disability.”

“Between 2012 and 2050, the United States will experience considerable growth in its older population (…) In 2050, the population aged 65 and over is projected to be 83.7 million, almost double its esti¬mated population of 43.1 million in 2012.” (As reported in “An Aging Nation: The Older Population in the United States Population Estimates and Projections. Current Population Reports” by Jennifer M. Ortman, Victoria A. Velkoff, and Howard Hogan. Issued May 2014) http://www.

Based on Pew surveys, Pew reported in a March 7, 2014 article on “Millennials in Adulthood”:

“The Millennial generation is forging a distinctive path into adulthood. Now ranging in age from 18 to 33, they are relatively unattached to organized politics and religion, linked by social media, burdened by debt, distrustful of people, in no rush to marry— and optimistic about the future. They are also America’s most racially diverse generation. In all of these dimensions, they are different from today’s older generations.“

Reported that there are over 316 million people in the US and that “Hispanic or Latino” individuals accounted for 17% of the population while individual who were “Black or African American alone” accounted for 13% and “White alone” accounted for 79%.
#race #ethnicity

In its latest annual report, Projections of Education Statistics, NCES indicated that in 2014, for the first time, minority children will make up “the majority” in the U.S. classroom.

Reported that there are approximately 22 million veterans in the U.S. http://www.

The Bureau reported that “Foreign born persons” made up 13% of the U.S. population in 2012.

SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management)
“More Than Half of LGBT Workers Closeted -Company culture, jokes, lack of laws make coming out unsafe,” stated Dana Wilkie in a 5/15/2014 SHRM online article. - See more at: lgbt-workers-closeted.aspx#sthash.Lv9G7bOL.dpuf

SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management)
“Stubborn Cultural, Societal Views Still Hinder Women at Work -Years of attention to gender inequity can’t shake bias, stereotypes” noted Dana Wilkie in the SHRM article posted 12/19/2013.

See more at: aspx#sthash.ox2UcGOT.dpuf
#culture #gender

The Reality Argument: The Waves of Change, The Force of Diversity and the Need for Inclusion Strategy

Andy Habermacher, Brain Leader, International Speaker on Neuroscience in Business, Executive Coach, Author.

On unconscious bias:
“Attitudes to diversity are driven by unconsciously built associations in the brain. As such they are rapid high-speed networks that activate below our level of awareness. These also lead to negative loops such as finding confirming evidence which in turn reinforces the association. Hence diversity training needs to target these unconscious bias but beware: these have to be carefully designed. Awareness is the first step but we also need to target cognitive buy in, experience our biases and structured ways to correct them. This will benefit all parties in business for unconscious biases lead to suboptimal decision making.”
#habermacher #leadingbrains

Noted that: “Gallup research shows that inclusion and engagement may go hand in hand; a company is more likely to be engaging if it’s inclusive, and vice versa.” engagement.aspx

We must
Adapt To
Survive and
Change To

In a blog, shortly after online social network giant Twitter released its workforce demographics, Janet Van Huysse (@janetvh), VP, Diversity and Inclusion: “At Twitter, we have a goal to reach every person on the planet. We believe that goal is more attainable with a team that understands and represents different cultures and backgrounds. It makes good business sense that Twitter employees are representative of the vast and varied backgrounds of our users around the world. We also know that it makes good business sense to be more diverse as a workforce – research shows that more diverse teams make better decisions, and companies with women in leadership roles produce better financial results. But we want to be more than a good business; we want to be a business that we are proud of. To that end, we are joining some peer companies by sharing our ethnic and gender diversity data. And like our peers, we have a lot of work to do.”

Women make
up only 5% of
the Fortune 500

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION (EEOC) Malcolm S. Medley, Director, EEOC Miami District Office:
“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 offers the promise of equal opportunity in employment, regardless of race, color, sex, national origin, or religion. Indeed, we have made great strides. In reality, we have much further to go.”

“FACT: Florida has 8.1% of all charges filed nationally--the second highest number of charges filed in the United States during FY2013--and was surpassed only by Texas. See the statistics at: state.cfm#centercol”

OFCCP Director Patricia Shiu at the 2013 Industry Liaison Group National Conference: “You and I know that diverse workplaces are better workplaces. They are fairer workplaces. They are more productive and innovative workplaces. And studies have shown that they are more profitable workplaces.” ofccp/addresses/Director_address_NILG_Jul312013.htm

Director Patricia Shiu at the 2014 Industry Liaison Group National Conference spoke of the “unfinished business of America” to address issues of pay, protected veterans, qualified individuals with disabilities, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity non-discrimination and other areas.

At the Department of Labor website, ODEP reported: Labor Force Participation, June 2014 as:

People with disabilities: 19.3%; People without disabilities: 69.3%. Unemployment Rate, June 2014: People with disabilities: 12.9%; People without disabilities: 6.1%.
#UnemploymentRate #disabilities

EK Hudson, Assistant Vice President, Human Resources:
(Referring to the notion that the U.S. is “past” diversity –beyond the need for inclusion initiatives or, perhaps, even the enforcement of civil rights laws.)

“A month ago, my response to this statement would speak to the lengths new millennial Americans go to camouflage discriminatory practices. The “garment of legislation” would provide the camouflage which instituted laws under the noses of indifferent voters to create the defensible rules that work against minorities and people of color. However, today in the wake of the Ferguson frenzy, the similarity of the photos and images from Civil Rights demonstrations of the 1960s to those of the local unrest in Ferguson, Missouri paints 1,000 words to characterize this reality: our past need for civil rights legislation is not the historic past at all.”

Jim Link, Chief HR Officer, North America:
“The ability to attract qualified applicants into technology-savvy positions will ensure a diverse workforce as more and more of these candidates are born, raised, and educated outside of the United States.”

“Diversity is a quickly-evolving aspiration for most organizations. Formerly, companies focused on race, age, and gender to ensure a diverse workforce. That’s no longer enough. It’s becoming work visas, global mobility, and international relocation to find the right blend of skilled talent and organizational need.”

Joanne Morris, SVP, Director, Human Resources:
“At City National Bank our very diverse workforce speaks 25 different languages. Employees volunteer to use their language skills to assist co-workers and serve clients who may have specific language needs. Diversity is a core strength at City National Bank and makes us better able to meet all of our client’s needs.”

Kenneth Finneran, Chief People Officer (CPO) – Americas:
In this “New Normal” characterized by constant change, we at Hellmann believe that promoting a culture of inclusion - in which all employees readily share diverse ideas, seek continuous improvement, feel valued and respected - helps us be more agile and nimble in the marketplace. Not only does workplace diversity and inclusion at Hellmann enable different thought patterns and problem solving techniques to be considered, it also helps us be more innovative in our highly competitive environment. As a major multinational with a 143-year history and presence in 157 countries, I firmly believe that Hellmann’s active embracing of diverse backgrounds, ideas, abilities, and ethnicities has been a critical factor in helping us continue our track record of growth and profitability throughout the years.

Iliana Castillo-Frick, Vice Provost, Human Resources Division:
“We are an equal opportunity, equal access College. We are an open-access institution of higher education where ‘Opportunity Changes Everything.’” “We look like the community we serve. Diversity in the workplace is not limited to having people of different races, colors, sexes, national origins, religions; it can include people of different ages, different abilities, different work and life experiences, with different ways of thinking... Here, in an institution of higher education, we also respect freedom of thought. These differences bring value to the workplace.”

“We (the U.S.) have come a long way but people forget and we must continue to make others aware that diverse workplaces are good for business and good for communities or efforts to maintain inclusive workplaces will die.”

In their diversity statement, Baptist shares:
Their Mission Statement: “By fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion, Baptist Health will continue to attract and retain the highest levels of talent. It will further seek to embrace the diversity of the community it serves through purposeful community outreach.”

Their Strategic Intent: “To position Baptist Health to be the recognized leader in the application of Diversity and Inclusion Best Practices in achieving employee satisfaction and the delivery of available, accessible and acceptable safe quality healthcare services to a patient population of multiple and varied backgrounds.”

To read more of their diversity statement, go to:

Joseph Conrod Sr., SPHR, Director, Diversity and Employee Relations:
“Diversity and Inclusion form a subset of our culture. We have diverse employees within our organization and we serve a diverse group of patients and families. We embrace differences and believe they add value. We also believe that diverse employees with different backgrounds, skills and experiences can facilitate innovation and can produce creative solutions. Diversity helps us understand our customers better and helps us to meet and exceed their needs.”

@Florida VR:
Learn more about how you can diversify your workforce and the benefits you can receive at http://rehabworks. org/employers. shyml

Cindy J. Lau-Evans is the Director of Diversity of the HR Florida State Council and is a past President as well as Diversity & Inclusion Director of the Greater Miami Society for HR Management (GMSHRM). Cindy is the Manager, Equal Opportunity Programs at Miami Dade College. Prior to serving in higher education, she worked in the financial institution as well as the physical security services industries. Cindy is a generalist who has directed the HR function as well as a specialist in employee relations, change management, conflict resolution and talent development.

THANKS to the following individuals and/or organizations who provided quotes, data and sources to the writer for this article:

Iliana Castillo-Frick, Vice Provost, Human Resources Division; Miami Dade College.

Joseph Conrod, Sr., SPHR, Director, Diversity and Employee Relations;

All Children’s Hospital / Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Kenneth Finneran, Chief People Officer – Americas; Hellmann Worldwide Logistics.

Ricardo Forbes, Corporate Vice President &Chief Diversity Officer; Baptist Health South Florida.

Andy Habermacher, Brain Leader; Leading Brains.

El pagnier, Hudson, Assistant Vice President, Human Resources; Florida International University.

Jim Link, Chief HR Officer, North America; Ranstad.

Malcolm S. Medley, Director, EEOC Miami District Office.

Joanne Morris, SVP, Director, Human Resources; City National Bank.

Rachel Smith, Communications Director, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation; Florida Department of Education.