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Retaining a Diverse group of employees


Diversity is about managing all issues of difference as they present themselves in your team. This means providing equal opportunity for promotions and challenging, high visibility, and high responsibility assignments to women, members of racial and cultural minorities, and younger and older workers.

It also means not just tolerating but encouraging diversity of opinion, perspective, and personality, which can be the most difficult kind of diversity for many managers to accept. "What we need most is more diversity of thinking. . The ability required to coach these different types of employees does not come naturally to all managers, but can be improved by interactive training requiring the practice of new behavior. Many companies train managers in these skills, with emphasis on initiating and facilitating "developmental discussions" with employees Diversity means cultivating difference, puncturing conformity, and encouraging different perspectives. Teams with the greatest diversity generally achieve superior performance , draw from the largest possible talent pool, and are more likely to become employers of choice.' Retaining a diverse workforce will give you and your company a distinct competitive advantage.


General Guidelines for Building and Retaining a Diverse employees group

1. Understand that the dynamics of diversity demand a new definition of fairness not treating all employees the same but treating each appropriately according to his or her need

2. Resist the "principle of social similarity the all too human temptation to hire, promote, associate with, and reward only those who are most like you.

3. Balance the organization's need to hire people who fit the culture with the need to maintain a rich diversity of viewpoints. Hiring based on fitting people into the culture works fine unless the culture you are comfortable with doesn't open the way for minorities and women.

4. Admit your own prejudices to yourself. This is the first step toward change.

5. Make a conscious effort to spend time developing those who are different from you and from others on the team. Look for opportunities to give them challenging assignments and increasing responsibility.

6. Provide job rotations to prepare as many women and other minorities as possible for higher level positions.

7. When in doubt about how any minority population feels about its experience working in your organization, or what would make it a better experience, get together with these minority employees and ask them. Then, and most important, follow up with action.

8. Remember true diversity is about creating an environment that maximizes the contributions of all available talent.


Retention and the NineDirnensions of Diversity

In addition to personality differences, there are nine dimensions of diversity that make for visible and invisible differences in the workplace that retention focused managers must manage .

• Gender

• Race

• Age

• Religion

• Ethnicity

• Hierarchy/class

•Sexual orientation

• Family situation

• Disability


Here are some retention guidelines for each of these dimensions:


Meet with women in your organization and ask them what would make their working lives more livable

then provide what you can as an investment in keeping all employees.

Provide a clear policy and training in sexual harassment, do not tolerate offensive language or behavior, and monitor, through surveys, the degree to which the work environment is friendly to women.

Train all those who interview not to ask such illegal and discriminatory questions as "Do you have children" or "Do you intend to start a family?"

When hiring at all levels, make sure that at least one woman is on your shortlist of candidates.



Widen your pool of candidates by recruiting through a broader selection of high schools, colleges, community associations, and publications.

Start a buddy or mentoring program to make sure that members of racial minorities know they are valued and to encourage socializing and communication across racial lines.

Ask the company to provide training on racism and the business benefits of diversity for your work unit.

Hold regular career discussions with members of racial minorities . Partner with them in helping them prepare for higher level positions.

Do not tolerate racial slurs and inappropriate jokes.

Don't withhold negative job performance feedback with people of color; it is the only way they will know how to improve.

Don't assume that one person of color speaks for all members of that group or that all members of a group share the same perspective. Treat each person as an individual.



Meet regularly with older workers to let them know how much you value them.

Invest in their training and development as you would with other employers. Encourage them to pursue whatever training they May need to keep their skills up to date.

Have ongoing career discussions with your older employees.

Look for opportunities to recruit semi-retired workers who may be interested in part time, contract, project, or flextime work arrangement ,instead of assuming that older workers will want to pursue full

time retirement, offer them the opportunity to reduce their working hours on a gradual "phase down" basis.

Provide training for all employees on intergenerational differences, teamwork, and communication.

Confront performance problems just as you would with other employees.



Show respect for religious differences by asking those in your work unit to let you know about any special needs they have with regard to religious practices or holiday celebrations. Make a calendar of religious holidays for the coming year to avoid work conflicts.

Consider moving to a total paid time off program instead of having traditional distinctions such as sick days, vacation days, holidays, and personal days.

Do not tolerate offensive or disparaging remarks against any religion or beliefs that may be creating a hostile environment. Likewise, do not tolerate unwelcome proselytizing.

Train all who interview about the impropriety of asking questions about a candidate's religious affiliation.



Consider providing language training to those who want to improve their English/other language skills .

Survey foreign born workers to find out whether they are being treated with respect and what they may need to assist with their acculturation and development.

Consider taking a class in languages spoken by foreign born workers in your work group.

Do not tolerate stereotyping or put downs of those from minority ethnic groups.

Do not insist on English fluency unless it is truly critical to job performance.

Encourage social interaction among all workers regardless of ethnic background.



Break down class barriers in your organization by including all employees at social events whenever possible. Create opportunities for socializing via sports teams, investment clubs, fun committees, and "lunch and learn" type events

• Solicit suggestions from those lower in the company hierarchy about how to make the workplace and the work processes better.

• Review all perks and privileges in your work unit and explore ways they might be expanded to all workers or eliminated entirely if they create resentment.

• Open up your recruiting to a wide range of schools and colleges, not just an exclusive few.

• Assume that all workers want a career, not just a job. Meet regularly to discuss their career aspirations.


Sexual Orientation

Announce to your work group that you value talent and diversity of all kinds in building and retaining a strong team.

* Confront discrimination and inappropriate slurs and jokes that you observe in the workplace.

* Be aware of the wide range of views that all people in your work group may hold regarding sexual orientation.

* Find out whether your human resources department has a policy that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

* Focus only on the individual's ability to do the job when hiring, promoting, rewarding, and selecting for special assignments and training.


Family Situation

Conduct regular exit and stay interviews and focus groups to find out what familyfriendly services may help to retain workers with child or elder care responsibilities.

* Meet with the entire work group to discuss what is fair and practical for all.

* Familiarize yourself with the Family and Medical Leave Act and its implications.

* Be willing to experiment with work at home and job sharing arrangements.

* Measure performance and make promotion and pay decisions on the basis of results, not of time spent at work.

* Encourage men as well as women to use family friendly services.



Express your interest in hiring people with disabilities to your human resources department and/or senior managers.

• Give careful consideration and the benefit of the doubt to those with disabilities in hiring situations.

• Make a special effort to prepare the workplace to accommodate disabled workers prior to their first day on the job. Pay regular attention to their needs and progress, especially during the first several months on the job.

• If you are not sure how to deal with an individual's disability, contact a professional with extensive experience working with those who have disabilities.

• Don't hesitate to confront performance problems because of a person's disability.

• Don't isolate those with disabilities by avoiding normal contact.

• Finally, don't forget to consider the situation of white males in the workplace. Many white men are concerned about quotas or designated affirmative action positions. When they express resistance to diversity initiatives, listen carefully. White men also need assurance that they will be evaluated on the basis of their performance and given every opportunity to participate in career development programs and to advance within the organization.



From India, Mumbai
Dear Mr.Leolingham ,
Enjoyed reading "Retaining a Diverse group of employees" and found the article very informative.
I am interested in knowing
1.Are the attributes for attrition and retention the same?
2.How an organization's culture can be known?

From India, Coimbatore
Dear Leo,
It's nice to know how to manage a diversed manpower,
Really a good gudelines for all managers
leo , Im really get confussed on somme lines like
Resist the "principle of social similarity the all too human temptation to hire, promote, associate with, and reward only those who are most like you.
Don't you thing it will creat any confussion among the employees because everyone is observing each other,ANd finally Group Dynamics will be very high.

From India, Mumbai
"Resist the "principle of social similarity the all too human temptation to hire, promote, associate with, and reward only those who are most like you.
Don't you thing it will creat any confussion among the employees because everyone is observing each other,ANd finally Group Dynamics will be very high."
There is a tendency among managers to treat all staff in the
same manner .
Staff are individuals , who have different values and would like
to be treated individually.
AMONG a group of staff, you will find there
-stars, with exceptional ability
-good / effective staff
-average staff
-poor performers
The manager have to manage the individuals according to merit.
otherwise the managers might lose the stars.

From India, Mumbai
An attitude is an evaluation [ positive or negative ] about people.
Attitude has components, which includes thoughts and feelings.
THESE thoughts and feelings affect the behavior of the people.
So when the managers deal with the diverse group of employees,
they must deal with the feelings / thoughts of the diverse group
of employees. An effective tuning of the thoughts/ feelings
in a positive manner produces group dynamics , which results
in superior performance in quality terms as well as quantity terms.
To achieve this, the managers should be
-coaching of different types of employees.
-interactive training of employees
-conducting "developmental discussions" with employees
-encouraging different perspectives
-cultivating differences
-encouraging group problem solving
etc etc.

From India, Mumbai


Organization culture can be a set of key values , assumptions,

understandings and norms that is shared by members of an


Organization values are fundamental beliefs that an organization

considers to be important , that are relatively stable over time,

and they have an impact on employees behaviors and attitudes.

Organization Norms are shared standards that define what

behaviors are acceptable and desirable within organization.

Shared assumptions are about how things are done

in an organization.

Understandings are coping with internal / external problems




LEVEL 1---VISIBLE, that can be seen at the surface level

-dress codes

-office layout [ open office]



-ceremonies[ monthly / annual awards/long service/birthdays etc.

etc etc

LEVEL 2- INVISIBLE , that can be cannot be seen but only felt.

-stories about people performance

-symbols [ flag, trademark, logos, etc]

-corporate mission statements

-recruitment/selection [ methods used]

-fairness in treatment

-social equality

-equal opportunity employment

-market rate rewards payments


-no discrimination

-risk taking in business deals

-formality in approach


-autonomy for departments

-responsiveness to communication

-empowerment of staff.

etc etc.



-there would be some common.

and there are few uncommon, varying with situations.



From India, Mumbai
Dear Leo, This article on managing diverse employees was indeed worth a read.THis is Tehzib from Pune.Iam a new member who has joined cite HR Gud day Tehzib
From India, Pune
Dear Leo. First time entering the site. The article is worth the reading for self -empowerment. The most a manager will need to make the workplace more viable. John
From United States
Respected Sirs
Need urgently a help from you all. Kindly share with me sample questionnaire for assessing the level of engagement of senior leaders in an organisation. Would be grateful for your timely help.
Thanks in advance

From India, Bhubaneswar
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