7 Steps Toward Managing a Diverse Workforce (Part 3)

7 steps toward managing a diverse workforce: a series of workplace diversity articles

In 7 steps toward managing a diverse workforce part 2, we learned about forming a community outreach, flexible holiday schedules, and the open door policy. Part 3 of this series focuses on translation work as well as evaluating your diversity planning.

If you missed it, you should go back and check out part 1 and part 2 of the series before moving on. They can be found here:

7 Steps Toward Managing a Diverse Workforce (part 1)
7 Steps Toward Managing a Diverse Workforce (part 2)

Step 6 – Translations

In order to facilitate communication, important company documents should be translated into several languages that will meet the needs of your employees. The languages you choose to have documents translated into should close match the demographics of the company. Furthermore, they should also be reflective of local language laws. This becomes even more crucial when the same documents are used in foreign-operated company offices.

To minimize risk, translations should be accurate and complete. Be sure to use a qualified translator from a reputable company like Able Translations. The company you choose should have experience in the translation of technical manuals. Additionally, look for a company that offers cultural consulting to ensure that your company documents are reflective of the cultural nuances associated with the target language.

Some documents that could be translated to meet your diversity needs can include:

Employee manuals
• Worker safety information
• Request for time off forms
• Application forms
• Employee application forms
• Policy books
• Employee welcome packages

Beyond the translation of company documents, if your company uses proprietary software (software built specifically for your company), you may want to get it localized. Localized software would allow the user to change the language used on the user interface. This could result in improved usability for multilingual staff.

If you’d like to get company documents translated, Able Translations offers free quotes. You can call us at 1-800-840-5370 or email us at info@abletranslations.com.

Step 7 –Assessment

Assessment is a critical step in managing a diverse workforce, one that is often overlooked. It is imperative that you take accurate measurements of every diversity and inclusionary initiative you take. These measurements are used during the assessment phase. During this step, you review all of the initiatives you have put in place to ensure that they are operating as expected.

There are three basic ways to assess the effectiveness of the programs and policies you have put in place.

Surveys:

Surveys are a great way to find out the opinions of others. They could provide valuable insights into whether your diversity/inclusion initiatives are effective. In order to set up a proper survey, you must first think about what you would like to find out. In general, surveys that use a rating system (on a scale of 1-10) provide the most useful data for statistical analysis. However, when evaluating initiatives that involve an affective component, it is best to use a combination of open-ended questions and rating systems.

Tip: find a neutral person to hand out the surveys. Having a supervisor give them out could bias the surveys. I.e. the participants may feel obligated to be positive about your diversity strategy if they feel it may affect their supervisor.

Pre-test/post-test:

The pre-test/post-test is the simplest method for evaluating the effectiveness of your initiatives. It requires that you have some data from before you begin your initiative and some data collected at a milestone. You compare your past information with your current information.

Example:

Number of employees that applied for promotions in 2011 = 10
—————————–Mentorship program started Jan. 1/2012————–
Number of employees that applied for promotions in 2012 = 17

Of course, you would have to control for other factors such as turnover and recruitment. If you’d like to look deeper into the relationship, you could survey employees and find out if mentoring was a factor in their decision to apply for a promotion.

Time-series Analysis:

In a time series analysis, is a little bit more difficult to do but well worth it. I highly recommend that your time-series be set up by someone familiar with statistical analysis. The idea behind it is that you have data points arranged according to time. You should have several data points for before the initiative was implemented and after. This allows you to see how things are changing over time and gives you insight into any trends that may be occurring.

For the best possible data output, use a Box-Jenkins time-series. It is the standard in program evaluation.

Final Thoughts

Planning and implementing a diversity and inclusion strategy takes a great deal of time and forethought but most of all, it needs to be genuine. To implement these initiatives because it is “standard practice” or a passing interest will lead to lack luster results.

My advice is to:

• Get excited about celebrating the things that make us unique;
• Get other passionate people on board;
• Listen to the needs of others instead of making assumptions;
• Plan, implement, measure, and re-plan
• Start today

For More Information on This subject visit Able Translations atTranslations Toronto

7 steps toward managing a diverse workforce: a series of workplace diversity articles (part 2)

7 steps toward managing a diverse workforce: a series of workplace diversity articles

In 7 steps toward managing a diverse workforce part 1, we learned about forming a diversity committee and starting a mentorship program. Part 2 of this series focuses on community outreach programs as a teambuilding exercise as well as way to shift your corporate culture toward engaging with community groups that foster an ideology of inclusion. We will also take a quick look at flexible holiday schedules which in recent years has become a popular way to manage your diverse workforce. Finally, we will discuss the “open door” policy. This policy is really the cornerstone of managing a diverse workforce.

Step 3 – Community Outreach

Community outreach or partnerships is a great way for your company to show commitment to managing a diverse workforce. It is also a teambuilding exercise that can unite colleagues in an effort to make the community a better place.

In order to integrate a community outreach strategy into your diversity planning, there are four questions that you should be asking:

Does the organization foster the same inclusive values as your company?

It is important to find a community partner that has mandated and implemented a strategy for inclusiveness and diversity. In their strategy, are their end goals similar to yours? For example, if an organizations goal was to provide skills training to community members to help them access hiring paying jobs and one of your diversity goals is to provide extra training to those that would like to take on a larger role in your organization, I would say that the match is quite good.
Of course, this isn’t a hard and fast rule but it gives your organization and your community partner a common thread and a deeper understanding of each other’s mission.

Is your community partner a religious affiliate?

When choosing a community partner, choose a secular organization. This way, all of your colleagues can get involved without feeling like they have to subscribe to a particular religion.
Is the community partner representative of the diversity of your company?
When choosing a community partner, you should make sure that its structure and the community it serves closely resembles the demographics of your company. Lean towards community partners that employ and serve men and women as well as people from all cultures.

Has Anyone Objected to the Partnership?

After you have chosen a community partner, be sure to reinforce that you have an “open door” policy. That is, any employee should feel welcome to speak freely about any concern they may have with the community organization partnership. Should a diversity-related issue arise out of this partnership, it should be reevaluated to ensure that your team members feel included and represented.
Answering these questions will allow you to commit to a community partner that allows everyone to participate equally. Doing this will help increase company unity and a deeper understanding of each other.

Step 4 –Flexible Holidays

Holiday observances can vary from culture to culture. To ensure that every employee can observe the holidays that they wish, flexible holidays could be offered. For example, employees could swap December holidays with the holidays that are more in line with their culture. If this is not possible, due to business cycles, your holiday policies could be reviewed and revised to allow some flexibility during times of religious celebration.

The take home message here is that employees should be allowed some choice in their availability during religious holiday observances. This shows the company is in-tune with cultural diversity and the needs of their employees. Additionally, it can serve as a way to celebrate the diversity of your company through recognition that not everyone celebrates the same holidays.
Here is an example of a policy addition that can be used when implementing accommodations for religious

holidays:

Religious Accommodation (flexible schedule)
[Your Company Name] offers floating holidays to accommodate various religious observances. Should you require time off during a specific time period due to religious observances, you may do so in lieu of the standard holidays as listed in this document.

Some companies offer additional personal days for those that celebrate various religious holidays. The difficulty with this is that it is not an “inclusive” solution. Those that choose not to take time off or who are not affiliated with any religion may feel that they are being excluded from additional time off. Flexible holiday schedules give every employee the opportunity to organize their holidays according to their preferences.

Step 5 – Open Door Policy

The open door policy has been used successfully by many of the biggest companies in the world. Originally stemming from the idea that managers keep their doors open to encourage other staff members to come in, it is now a wide-spread communication strategy that can be used to enhance your diversity strategy.
The implementation of the open door policy is fairly simple in new companies but can be difficult in established ones. It takes a shift in company culture to successfully implement this policy. In companies where “doors” have been shut for a long time, encouraging senior and non-senior staff to open up lines of communication will take a great deal of time and trust.

In order for the open door policy to be successful, all employees should feel like they can approach senior staff with new ideas, solutions to old problems, and questions and concerns they may have. They need to feel like they can communicate openly without reproach. The most successful open door policies have some general guidelines. For example, communicating a problem should be accompanied with a suggested solution. The solution can be as simple as “I think [employee name] might have some good insight into this problem, we should ask him what he thinks”.

Here is an example policy directive that could be added to your policy manual:

[Your Company Name] recognizes that in any company, issues and improvement opportunities will arise. [Your Company Name] is always open to suggestions and encourages employees to communicate these opportunities with management.

[Your Company Name] will make every effort to make sure that:

1. Every employee has the opportunity to speak openly with their supervisor or to anyone else in authority, when an issue arises, with the assurance that it will not be held against them by their supervisor or anyone else in authority.

2. To provide an open door at all times for all employees to discuss with upper management any decision they feel affects them.

One of the main goals of the open door policy is to let every employee know their input is important and to make sure they have a way to be included in the “conversation”.

In Managing a Diverse Workforce part 3, we’ll wrap up by talking about translations and the assessment of your programs.

For More Information on This subject visit Able Translations atTranslations Toronto

7 Steps Toward Managing a Diverse Workforce: A series of diversity in the workplace articles

Thank you for reading

Toronto Translators’ 7 Steps toward managing a diverse workforce.

In this series of workplace diversity articles, you will find 7 steps that can be taken in any organization in order to foster an environment of inclusiveness and diversity. We all want to feel safe, secure, and welcome at work. So, we should all learn how to manage diversity in the workplace.

Generally, diversity planning falls on the shoulders of upper-management but in actual fact the responsibility of being inclusive is everyone’s. Inclusion starts with our own attitudes. We show our attitude toward inclusion in the things we say (and don’t say) and our actions in the office or break room. We need to be mindful and sensitive to the feelings of others at all times.

This series of diversity in the workplace articles is not only for the management team of your organization. It is for anyone that would like to take steps toward improving the workplace environment for the betterment of all employees, as well as themselves. Ultimately, some of the steps in this book should be implemented by management level employees but this series will give anyone that background information as well as some insights in order to make sure that everyone can be part of the conversation so you can take steps toward better managing a diverse workforce.

In this article: Our first article in our series of workplace diversity articles focuses on starting a diversity committee and implementing a mentorship program. Let’s get started, shall we?

Step 1 – Start a Diversity Committee

Implementation

A diversity committee is a great way to gain insight into the diversity issues faced by you and your co-workers and is the first step toward better managing a diverse workforce. Everyone should feel welcome to attend the first diversity committee meeting. After the initial meeting, short interviews should take place to determine interest and dedication to the goals of the committee. The committee members will be chosen according to these factors, along with company demographics to make sure every group is represented.

Electing a chair should be the first job of the committee. For the first committee meeting, usually referred to as the “ad hoc” meeting, a neutral chair should be used. It should be someone everyone will feel comfortable with. After the ad hoc meeting, when the committee is fully formed, members can volunteer to be the chair and from those volunteers, the committee can democratically select one to chair all future meetings. Additionally, a member should be designated to take meeting minutes, that is, notes about what has been discussed and decided on by the committee.
Setting Goals

During the committee’s early stages, short-term and long-term goals should be decided on. These goals should be specific, realistic, and measurable. It is the only way you’ll be able to really measure your improvements in managing a diverse workforce. Here are two examples:

Example 1:

We should make sure that all employees feel represented in all management decisions

Example 2:

By this time next year, we will have all employee manuals translated into French, Spanish, and Tamil.
Which example best represents a “specific, realistic, and measurable” goal? You’re correct, example 2 does. Let’s talk about why.

In example 1, vague statements are made about employees feeling represented, no timeline is given, and it is unrealistic to expect the management team to consult all employees every time a decision needs to be made. Beyond all of that, how do we know when we have successfully completed this goal?

Example 2 takes a far different approach. First, there is a timeline; one year. Second, it specifically mentions that employee manuals need to be translated. Finally, it states three languages, presumably the ones voted as most needed, into which these manuals should be translated. You know you have reached your goal if by next year you have every employee manual translated into French, Spanish, and Tamil.

Creating Action Plans

After establishing the main goals of the diversity committee, you can create subcommittees to focus on different goals and their completion. Using the example above, you could create a subcommittee in-charge of the translation of company materials. That subcommittee would than create an action plan.
The action plan would consist of smaller milestones which eventually lead to the completion of the subcommittee’s task. For instance, the subcommittee in-charge of translations might first review all company manuals to make sure they are up-to-date and consistent with the changes that have been made in the company since they were first published. That would be the first step in their action plan. From there, they would have to make the necessary updates, find a language service provider, have the manuals translated, review the translations, and put the new manuals into production. These steps would all be part of the action plan. Of course, action plans need to be revised along the way to make sure they are compatible with new information that arises.

Along the way

As the committee forges ahead with its goals, you will undoubtedly face setbacks, including the loss and replacement of members, disruptions and postponements due to work fluctuations, and the like. These are all to be expected. What is important is that you keep your long-term goals in mind and find ways to achieve them.

Step 2: Mentoring

Mentoring is about helping empower all employees. It builds self-confidence, a solid support system, and encourages all employees to make use of their abilities. Although it can be time consuming, it is an amazing investment in you and your coworkers. From an employee standpoint, it can help traditionally underrepresented groups move up in the company by giving them an opportunity to learn from more senior members, build the confidence to go after promotions, and help them become part of the conversation about diversity issues. From an organizational standpoint, it helps make sure every employee is able to use their talents to help fulfill the missions of the organization.

Integrating a mentoring program takes planning, especially in established organizations. The most difficult aspect is the “buy-in” from senior staff. The senior staff members have to see this as a worthwhile initiative and must be willing to give their time to help mentor and develop employees. These mentors should apply to the program, be screened, and then trained using a professional mentor training program. The remaining staff members also have to “buy-in”. The easiest way to maneuver with current employees is to offer mentorship as an “opt-in” initiative. Never force anyone to join the mentorship program. The value of this type of program only reveals itself when both the mentor and the mentee are fully committed.

Measuring the success of your mentorship program is critical. One of the simplest ways to do this is to track internal movement within the company. If you find that those enrolled in the mentorship program are more likely to apply for promotions or take on extra responsibilities, I’d say your program is successful. You can also track dropout rates from the program as well as survey for participant’s attitudes toward the initiative. Any of the above methods will work, just make sure that you do take the time to evaluate the effectiveness of the program and make changes where necessary.

In 7 Steps Toward Managing a Diverse Workforce (Part 2), We will discuss community outreach and Flexible Holidays. Follow our blog to make sure you don’t miss it.

Have any tips for managing a diverse workforce? Share them with us.

If you require cultural consulting, you can return to Toronto Translators to grab our contact details or visit www.abletranslations.com for more information