As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. and his life this week, it’s easy to see that he made a fundamental impact on our entire country, and so many diverse groups have benefited. Even though great strides have been made in increasing diversity in many areas, there is still so much work to do. This includes in the workplace. And, it includes diversity in all forms including race, gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation and other human differences.
Diversity initiatives in many companies focus on the incoming numbers as they actively seek to hire more minorities and more women depending on their current population. Before beginning any diversity hiring initiative, it is critical that your company do a whole system analysis to understand if your ‘system’ will support the success of those new hires.
One of the most critical groups to focus on is the first line manager. Your new hires will land in teams where their manager is or is not willing and able to manage a diverse workforce. This is where the rubber meets the road for any new hire. The immediate manager has a huge impact on the experience of the new hire. The saying that ‘employees leave managers, not companies’, epitomizes that fact.
If your new hire is lucky, their manager will effectively integrate them into the team and support their success in the organization. Your employees in that team will be motivated to do great work because the manager has created an environment that supports their personal needs. Those include the need to belong, to be respected, to have a common purpose, to know what their responsibilities are, to be acknowledged for good work, to be heard and have a say in their work, and to grow.
For the diverse individuals on your team, differences should be recognized, respected and utilized. Your company benefits from a team that is more productive because of the diversity that is allowed to flourish. That team will have a higher ROI for your business because of better results, including the speed with which they can operate.
Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against your new hire. We know from studies, including Gallup that more than half of all new managers fail in the first two years on the job. We also know that many new managers receive no training in managing employees and a team, let alone a diverse team.
The bottom line for any company or organization that implements a diversity hiring initiative is to do a self-assessment starting with your first level managers. If they are on board and ready, your chances of success go up exponentially.
Next week, we’ll discuss strategies that managers can use to acknowledge and recognize the diversity on their teams.
Want to get results and build your best team this year?
Join our email list for an insider copy of our ebook
‘7 Steps to Building High Performance Teams.’
Team Building for Success is your resource for building engaged employees and high performing teams. Our solutions go a step further by creating sustainable, positive changes in leadership behavior. Improving leadership results requires learning and applying new or different behaviors and approaches.