Learning & DevelopmentSince 2005, Human Resources Executive magazine has noted a 58 percent increase in women holding top HR positions at large companies. The editors note that “the business world has woken up to the fact that talent matters more than gender when it comes to leadership.” Of course, this holds true for more than just gender.   

 

Manager Guide: How to be More Intentional about Diversity

Since 2005, Human Resources Executive magazine has noted a 58 percent increase in women holding top HR positions at large companies. The editors note that “the business world has woken up to the fact that talent matters more than gender when it comes to leadership.” Of course, this holds true for more than just gender.

As the workforce becomes increasingly diverse in age, race, religion, background and personality, managers are tasked with an even bigger job of promoting a work environment that is inclusive and helps all employees reach their potential.

“Helping your managers become better coaches and encouraging them to be intentional with how they think about diversity and employee development is instrumental to making sure all of your employees feel engaged and part of the workplace community.”

- Sara Hill, Chief Human Resources Officer at Ceridian

Read on for resources and tips from Ceridian LifeWorks to help you be more intentional about developing your diverse set of employees.

  1. Examine your own attitudes toward diversity

Even managers who feel they are particularly attuned to diversity might still make assumptions about employees’ interests, skills or abilities. Managers should reflect on the following questions to better understand how they cater their coaching to match employee styles and preferences:

  • Do you recognize and respect people’s different talents, abilities and skills?
  • Do you give positive as well as constructive feedback to all the employees you manage?
  • Do you ask your team what types of developmental opportunities they would be interested in, or do you make assumptions about their interests based on their background or lifestyle?
  • Are you equitable when choosing people for development assignments, special projects, training and conference participation?
  • Do all of your employees feel free to share ideas at meetings?

While managers may not think they are making assumptions, research suggests that minority groups continue to face negative stereotypes and bias in the workplace. The questions above will help managers identify their biases so that they can objectively evaluate and coach their employees.[1]

  1. Look at the culture and climate in your group and organization

04-15 Diversity image.jpgFor employees to reach their full potential, they need to feel supported and respected not only by their supervisor, but also by their peers and co-workers. If you find that members of your work group are not collaborating or are facing tension, isolation or insensitivity, talk with your supervisor, HR department or reach out to your employee assistance program (EAP) about ways to handle the situation. Being in tune with your team’s dynamics can help you catch any signs of tension early.

  1. Support diversity in your actions

Often what you do can be more important than what you say. Support employee development by:

  • Introducing new employees to the organization, co-workers and other managers with whom they’ll interact
  • Helping employees advance their ideas so they feel valued and recognized throughout the organization
  • Being inclusive, open and fair in your communications with employees
  • Serving as an advocate for  all employees
  • Promoting and supporting diversity efforts in your organization
  1. Manage to each individual’s unique talents and strengths

Authors Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton write in their book, Now, Discover Your Strengths, that each person has enduring and unique talents and that their greatest area for growth lies in improving these strengths. You can help set your employees up for success by giving them projects in their wheelhouse as well as offering new opportunities to stretch themselves.

  1. Provide opportunities for ongoing learning and mentoring

Supporting your team by providing ongoing opportunities for learning and development is a key component of building and maintaining a diverse workforce. Be sure your employees have the tools and resources they need to do their jobs as well as ongoing training opportunities. Don’t forget to seek out learning opportunities for yourself too.

For more information:

  • Take our quiz to identify your leadership style
  • Read our article on tips for managing employees across the generations
  • Learn more about Ceridian LifeWorks EAP/Work-Life/Wellness

[1] According to Catalyst, the leading nonprofit research organization devoted to expanding opportunities for women at work.