Creating the culture
Culture is a buzzword that has been the center of discussions in boardrooms and management meetings over the last several years. Good leaders understand that the right company culture has many benefits, including acclimating new employees, employee retention, work ethic and mutual respect. Company culture is an intangible, hard to define and tends to be created not by the directives from upper management, but by the employees themselves. A healthy corporate culture is reflected in everything the company does, and everyone it interacts with. Diversity is key to a good company culture. It gives people a different perspective and builds respect and understanding for a variety of lifestyles, opinions and points of view. Diversity also positively affects teamwork by bringing different experiences and opinions to a group setting.
Think outside your geography
So how do some companies recruit employees to create a diverse company culture? The business world is becoming increasingly more connected and smart companies are learning to look outside their immediate geographical region to find the best workers. Sites such as Upworks give employers the ability to work with people from other countries as sub-contractors and hire them if they prove themselves to be an asset to the company. This access to potential employees from all over the world will naturally open a company to diversity. An electrical distributor called ATI Electrical Supply has people working in purchasing, information technology and marketing that reside in Spain, England and South Africa! They interact daily with the company’s employees based in Las Vegas, Nevada and often share their personal lives and experiences. What a great way to learn about diverse cultures! Often, companies find these people to be so valuable, they hire them full time and move them to the United States using H-1B visas.
Think about the job qualifications, not the person
Good hiring practices involve first defining the role, experience and expectations and writing those down before posting the position. When reviewing resumés, try not to look at the name and read the resume with an eye to the criteria you defined. Set aside those resumés that fit the position the best and only then should you look at the names. This exercise removes any bias or assumptions you might attribute to the person’s name. Carry this mentality throughout the interview process, staying focused the role, experience and definitions and you are likely to end up with the right person for the job, regardless of race, age or gender.
Diversity as an afterthought
People may question how a company can create a diverse culture without purposely seeking out people of different races or gender. Companies that hire based on qualifications without regards to race or gender will naturally find themselves with a diverse group with varying backgrounds and experiences. Although this goes against some of the traditional thoughts regarding quotas in the workplace, many companies have found it to be the best way to find lasting employees that positively contribute the growth of an organization.
My company, Power Assemblies, uses this practice and has unintentionally found itself with a workforce that is comprised of over 50 percent minorities, and a woman as an executive!
Patricia Ann Knowles is Owner of Power Assemblies, LLC — an electrical supplies manufacturer based in Las Vegas.