Culturally competent business practices can give you an advantage in a tight job market. Organizations committed to DEI can thrive while others panic. Don’t lose skilled workers. You don’t have to be a victim of labor shortages.
First, get over the “woke” narrative and get “smart” about your business practices. Many workplace diversity initiatives are doomed to fail because they overlook one key truth: we are all biased. Even the most good-hearted, open-minded individuals have a set of underlying assumptions that unconsciously skew their viewpoints and can sway their decisions. It’s not about being “woke.” Cultural competency is about learning how to maximize and support diverse talent in equitable and inclusive ways. Good business for culturally competent organizations can also embody good morals and judgment.
The Benefits of a culturally competent and diverse workforce
- Builds a greater brand reputation because the business becomes known for its inclusive recruitment and hiring practices. Reviews and word-of-mouth encourage high-quality talent from all backgrounds to seek out the organization
- Impacts employee retention rates positively in many ways
- Fosters creativity through various forms of thinking about problems and solutions; it pays to have employees from different backgrounds, so ideas aren’t stagnant or limited by bias
- Develops positive reputations
- Encourages statistically greater financial performance through meeting more financial targets and bringing more innovative solutions to the table
Retaining Skilled Workers in a Labor Shortage: A Culturally Competent Approach
Diversity is not enough. Cultural competency is about tying DEI together into effective workplace systems. The key to retention is understanding who your employees are. Here are a few tips from Why are my black employees leaving? Plus other DEI insights about “The Great Resignation.”
- Start with a deep understanding of who you are, your core values, and your motivation behind the relationship. That helps you start building from a place of honesty and empathy.
- Schedule time to develop relationships. Intentionality is important.
- Be curious about others. Talk less and listen.
- Show genuine empathy toward the other person.
- If you need help, ask for assistance.
- Show appreciation for the work the employee contributes.
- Be mindful of your role and authority.
- Be present when working on the relationship. Don’t let distractions take you away.
The bottom line for employee retention is to show your employees appreciation and respect. Employees want to know that what they do and who they are matter.
Acquiring Top Talent
Know what you are looking for and how that “WHAT” helps you achieve your goals. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) defines diversity as “the collective mixture of differences and similarities that include individual and organizational characteristics, values, beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, preferences, and behaviors.” But diversity is just variety; if you don’t have the right mix, you have a varied mess.
Acquiring top talent during a labor shortage means you:
- Are laser focus on your mission objectives.
- Know how to be inclusive of the diverse talent you hope to acquire.
- Have both a long and short-term talent acquisition strategy.
Here are a few pro tips as you think about talent acquisition:
- Employ a diverse, culturally competent leadership team
- Cast your net wide and source from various places, including “not” the usual sources.
- Create inclusive job descriptions
- Utilize technology to build a diverse talent pipeline and eliminate biased processes.
- Ensure your interview process is inclusive
- Capitalize on word of mouth. Get your current employees involved in the process, promoting opening to their internal communities and networks
- Make ongoing DEI training and education a priority
- Use a data-driven approach to measure your progress and hold the organization accountable for its goals.
Increasing diversity is an important investment that is a hedge against a tightening and more competitive job market. Cultural competency takes long-term commitment and a willingness to learn and experiment. You’ll have to try out some new things and build accountability systems to ensure you stay on track.
Why Are My Black Employees Leaving
Women and Workplace Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Join the Waypoint Community: A Place for Navigating DEI in the Workplace.
The journey to cultural competency is a long one. This online community is a stopping place for practitioners and those who want to enhance their skills. It is a waypoint for those seeking real change through the DEI process.
A waypoint is an intermediate point or place on a route or line of travel, a stopping point or point at which the course is changed.