I was talking with a business owner just the other day, about the struggles they’re having with employee retention and productivity within their organization. They are an extremely diverse group, with African-American, Asian, Caucasian, and Hispanic employees, all working together, all getting along. It’s a great place to be; I want to take my kids there and say, “this is what society should be like.”
The problem is that they’re still struggling. They hired for diversity that’s skin deep, but they didn’t hire the diversity that matters. For example, consider a scenario where your idea to “create a path home,” where the goal, the victory, is getting home. Your mindset is, “my job is based on getting there, and I have one way of getting there, by going down Williams Drive.” If you hire 10 other people and their ideas and thought processes are the same (in this example, they all see Williams Drive as the only the way to get home), and they agree with you on everything, what happens when Williams Drive is closed?
What does diversity really mean?
Your business shuts down. You can’t get home, and getting home is the goal. What if, instead, you hire for diversity of ideas and thinking? Then, you might hear responses like, “Yes, Williams is one way home, but what if we tried turning on Power and going to Pleasant View instead? Or we could take Harbor Way or Northwest Highway to 63rd, and we could get home that way.” Now you have multiple ways to accomplish the same thing.
In your organization today, are you “hiring diversity” based on skin deep issues, or are you hiring based upon diversity of thought and ideas? Diversity is fantastic, and we need to be there. In order to be a successful business, not only must you hire for diversity of race, gender, religion, and culture, you need to be hiring a diverse group of people who think differently than you. People who have different ways and ideas to get to the same goal.
Today, when you’re putting your recruiting and hiring process together and looking at how you bring in great talent, one thing you need to discover is how your candidates think. Are you hiring people who will help provide another point of view? What are their ideas for achieving goals and bringing value to your organization?
Last but not least, make sure those with diverse ideas and thoughts also buy into your vision and mission as an organization. A diverse group with a singular end goal is almost unstoppable. Remember, diversity is so much more than what we can see.