When employed in the corporate world I recall vividly going through some of the first diversity training workshops put on by the company. These were all focused around the women versus men working together topic and the relevant issues which arose from that.

As things progressed the voices of individuals from the other many dimensions of diversity started to be heard and; now it is clearly acknowledged that we need to pay attention to employees from all of the dimensions Of diversity in order to craft out effective diversity strategies which lead organizations developing and maintaining a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Workplace Diversity Classifications

So what are these dimensions Of Diversity of which we speak? Well, there are many and here are some to consider …

  • Thinking styles
  • Language
  • Ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Political perspectives
  • Experiences growing up location wise
  • Nationality
  • Job level
  • Race
  • Culture
  • Skills
  • Gender
  • Physical abilities
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Sex

These dimensions Of diversity lead to us acting in a particular fashion and carrying out our day to day work activities in our own particular style.

Each individual whilst acting within their particular style according to their view of the world have the basic needs of being appreciated and acknowledged. Their ideas of how a company should design and develop and product or service and; sell that product or service into the marketplace need to be incorporated into the decision making process. This is especially important when we bear in mind that the organization’s products and services are being sold into an ever increasing diverse marketplace.

Diversity Management Leadership

With the makeup of the typical management structures of today’s companies it is critical to have the structure and processes in place which ensure that effective career progression, recognition, acknowledgment and reward for all employees. The higher level management will need to go through relevant training and to fully embrace diversity with the lead of the human resources department.

The way this is implemented will of course differ from organization to organization but we may well see management spending time with individuals in order to understand the world from their point of view. This could take the form of one of meetings and/or social events. However I would advise a mentoring / mentee relationship which gives both parties a view into each others world.

It may be the case that a high level corporate manager comes from a middle class background, attended private schools and went straight through to a prestigious university and from there through various programs is managing as expected. And it must be said, is well equipped to do so. However, this individual may well have no real life experience of dealing with members of the community that are not like themselves so, when they are faced with dealing with individuals like this within the workplace they are left outside of their comfort zones.

In the same organization you may have some other well educated individuals from say the black and ethnic minority communities who is very talented however, the manager may not have life experience of dealing with this type of individual.

(The above is for illustration purposes only, we could use an example where the managers are strictly religious and have to deal with employees who are well capable and may be in a gay relationship this could cause the manager not to value that individual and in turn that individual’s career may not be progressed as it otherwise would have and the company ends up not running in the most efficient way)

The way this individual’s ideas, suggestions and opinions are processed due to the manager’s bias may lead to inefficient development and marketing strategies. These will all in turn lead onto the company not operating in an as efficient a manner as it otherwise would be if all of the quality ideas and suggestions were taken on board.

This illustrated some of my thought processes behind devising an effective diversity strategy in bringing together the management team, human resources and individuals from the differing dimensions of diversity in order to improve company efficiency and overall employee satisfaction as well as enhancing the company’s competitive advantage.

This is part III of the post on this exciting subject as; living in Japan certainly has changed my life and points of view even though it’s some seven years since I returned to the U.K. I relish the opportunity to live and work there again someday soon.

As things related to this move very slowly in Japan, I worked closely the Human Resources team to give them the benefit of my experience in workplace diversity training and to assist them in raising the awareness of Diversity amongst the management team and the employees. Of course we had to couple the implementation with the tightly integrated customer base of the other Japanese companies who were more traditional than the company for which I was working at the time and who had the traditional management structures of men, men and more men. This lead into the long some unnecessary meetings, drinking sessions and related activities which; were all part of the business structure and; had to be respected as we dealt with interpreting Diversity from the western perspective into the Japanese company culture and the necessary impact of the management, employees and also the customer base.

It has been a few years since I left the great country of Japan which will also have a special place in my heart. The lesson here for us all is that the implementation of Diversity must be coupled with and interpreted for local cultures and practices as we management folks seek to create inclusive workforces in today’s multi location organizations. This leaves open the challenge to us global managers and consultants who manage in cultures which are largely alien to ours.

Thaks for reading, get in touch if I can be of assitance to your or your organisation.

As I made the comparison between the differences between the workplace diversity landscape in Europe versus that in the United States and then began to draw the comparison between the picture of Diversity which I was looking at in Japan in comparison to anything I had ever experienced. Indeed, as I saw a time lag between implementation within Europe when compared to the United States and I saw time lag in Japan. However I could not even begin to focus on implementation but more on awareness and the path to implementation had not even been laid as yet.

With the management teams and decision makers being dominated by men largely set in their ways I saw many challenges up ahead. The first challenge was in educating the management team and workforce about Diversity, about the fact that their were different ways of doing things and also that men didn’t always have all the answers.

I was frequently surprised as I moved around the company I was working for at the time and; also in meeting other women from some of the other traditional Japanese companies professionally and socially how much talent was being laid to waste. I would meet women with degrees from universities here in the United Kingdom and also in the United States with excellent command of the English language who were working as secretaries. Even more surprising to me at the time was the fact that this was accepted and that they assumed and thought that that was they way that things were.

I will be ending this particular post with a couple more paragraphs in a few days time – thanks for reading and as always, let me know how I can be of assistance to you.
-Stephen C

Whilst working in technology marketing management for one of the largest and most respected computer companies in the world I acted as chair of the European Black and Ethnic Minority employee network as well being involved and liaising with the Diversity team in the United States. Being based in the United Kingdom it was indeed fascinating for me to see how in many respects the corporate Diversity program for my colleagues in the United States was far ahead (years) when compared to the program which we were implementing in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe. Indeed we have no Affirmation Action here in the United Kingdom and were not affected by some of the political and legislative pressures that were being experienced by my counterparts in the United States.

As my career progressed I was promoted to manage a section of the Far Eastern business based in Japan. I spent most of my time in Japan, about 80% with the rest of my time being spent managing the business in Taiwan, India, Korea and the other countries in the region for which we had business interests. Hearing of my experience with Diversity I was soon contacted by the local Human Resources team in Japan and quickly got involved in the Diversity initiative there.

More on this exciting subject which is critical to the success of any organisation operating within our global marketplace today.

Stephen C Campbell

Hello again, this is the 3rd and final post on this topic. It is indeed a crucial topic and something which all organisations
need to pay attention to and embrace. It is my hope that more consultants such as myself will build this link between
the functioning of company and the role of Diversity.

As companies deliver their products and services to wider and wider profile of target customers it is imperative that more minorities, people of color and women are encouraged to be part of organizations and importantly are seen to be operating throughout their chosen organization at all levels.

The companies which innovate and reinvent themselves on a continuous basis are the companies which will retain their competitive advantage in the market place. Invention and innovation requires creativity and creativity requires true diversity.

Indeed the message that needs to be propagated throughout the organization is one that creativity is driven by true Diversity and, in turn creativity is the main driving force behind innovation and invention. It is this innovation and invention which enable companies to maintain their competitive advantage, this advantage drives profitability and this profitability continually establishes the business case for Diversity.

Thanks for reading, do get in touch to share ideas and for business collaboration.

Stephen C Campbell

Diversity is not just a “Feel Good Issue” in fact it may be more of a correct statement to classify Diversity as “A Critical Business Issue” i.e. there is a compelling business case for diversity. Today’s customers have a choice in purchasing products and services and; with the internet enable world that choice is becoming more and more global on a daily basis. In fact, companies who want to be the winners in their market space and particularly those who want to be big winners, simply cannot afford to practice and conduct business with policies of exclusion in existence.

The companies who want to succeed are the ones who take Diversity beyond the Human Resources department and make it a part of the fabric of the everyday business transactions. These companies take Diversity to a level where they become role models to other companies in terms of inclusion as they welcome employees with different styles, different perspectives, different ideas, different passports, different accents and different skin colors into all levels of the business. These employees are welcomed and are used to make decisions, develop products, engage with customers as a matter of course based upon their skill set.

I’ll conlude this thread in the next post, as always do contact me to discuss or if you need my assistance with your Diversity Strategy.

-Stephen C Campbell

Often within organizations the question is asked (by varying sections of the workforce) “why are we bothering with Diversity”? The point being, “things have not been so bad up until this point so why divert time, energy and money into this thing called Diversity which only seems to be in existence to help certain sections of the workforce” and often can be interpreted as acting as a career progression disadvantage to the employees who come from the dominant sections of the workforce.

Today more that ever there is a need to establish the business case for Diversity and to ensure that the message is passed down throughout al levels of the organization.

_____________________________________

[display_podcast]

Above is a snippet of an interview between myself and Nadia Saba

Head Of Diversity for Avon & Somerset Police

_____________________________________

It is fair to say that Diversity is often greeted with a certain amount of skepticism and doubt, is normally ‘owned’ by the Human Resources department whose task it is to ensure that Diversity is implemented throughout the organization.

In some cases the individuals with the Human Resources who are tasked with rolling out the program may not be fully up to speed with Diversity themselves and with the root cause as to why it is essential in today business landscape to have a coherent Diversity program which is understood by all within the organization.

This is where establishing the business case for Diversity comes into play, it moves the emotional aspect out of focus and gives employees the ‘real reason why it is so important for their organization to have a coherent Diversity strategy in place i.e. it is down to the effect on the bottom line business results as the company continually strives to establish its competitive advantage over and against the other companies operating in the same market space.

More on this in an upcoming post.

Stephen C Campbell

This is the final post on this topic on this critical topic of Diversity with the workplace.

The results of fully incorporating Diversity into the fabric of the organization’s decision making process by the management team (ably assisted by the Human Resources department) will result in products and services which are more targeted to the desired end user customers and delivered to those customers via appropriate marketing channels.

It is therefore the responsibility of the management team to keep the diverse target end user customer base in mind (where appropriate) and doing so ensure that the teams in place to develop and deliver the company’s products and services and best placed to do so. i.e. those teams should ideally have the balance of product development and marketing strategy skills coupled with an understanding of the end user customers of which they are selling to.

For various products and services the input into the product development process may well be seen to benefit greatly with the input of those within the organization who are most closely aligned to the target market customers. Getting these individuals involved in the appropriate decisions making junctures may well provide cherished career development opportunities as well as providing management with valuable interaction with those within the organization from the various dimensions of Diversity.

As always, feel free to post your comments or drop me an email.

Stephen C Campbell

It is indeed beneficial to all involved to view Diversity in this unemotional fashion i.e. having the best people in the best positions to make the best decisions for the company. This is indeed one of the many challenges facing management today when faced with developing, marketing and delivering products and services to a diverse target end user customer base.

Much of the questions that arise in say developing skincare products to dark skinned women when the majority of skincare products are developed for Caucasian skin may we be more readily answered by individuals who have faced the specific issues all their lives. Skincare is just one of the many examples that could be cited – food is another one wish springs readily to mind where the benefit of the point of view of individuals from specific backgrounds and cultures may well enhance the strategy development process.

The results of fully incorporating Diversity into the fabric of the organization’s decision making process by the management team (ably assisted by the Human Resources department) will result in products and services which are more targeted to the desired end user customers and delivered to those customers via appropriate marketing channels.

Will be finishing this off in the next place.

Stephen C Campbell

At the beginning of every business consultation I more than often spend some time talking about why companies exist. i.e. to provide products and services via specific marketing channels to end users. The challenge is to identify the relevant channels to market which relate to the target end user customer, other major factors such as compelling value propositions, branding and category marketing all have a bearing on the final strategy decisions.

The companies which define their target customers the best and deliver their products and services to them via the most appropriate marketing channels are the companies which end up having the most success.

Today’s companies with its diverse workforce find themselves in potentially advantageous positions that is, if they harness the marketing capability advantages of the the workforce. Individuals from a particular dimension of Diversity with the relevant marketing expertise may well find themselves in the best placed position to interpret research data, conduct focus groups and talk to end user customer who are like themselves. The challenge is for the organizations is to allow the talent which exists within the various segments of the workforce to bubble up to the surface through recognition and appropriate promotions to be in the positions where they can make relevant decisions as to devising and executing company strategies and tactics.

More on this later.

Stephen C Campbell