Monday, January 4, 2010

The ‘New’ Diversity for a New Decade

The dust is beginning to settle and new optimism is beginning to sprout. Echoes of ‘let’s get past 2009’, much less the last 10 years , position the workplace on the starting blocks of a new decade that can be full of opportunity, creativity and fulfillment. Now is the time to review the strategies in your workplace that exist towards engaging employees at every level for what is to come.

All that survived the economic downturn by keeping their jobs and those slowly re-entering the workforce, wonder what type of environment will allow them to maximize their potential with some sense of relief, firmer footing and confidence in their contributions. Your challenge is creating that environment and ensuring your efforts are relevant and meaningful to every employee….regardless of their background. Inclusion and engagement practices will become the ‘New Diversity’ and provide an opportunity to get beyond measure and compliance, and audit and awareness training…and instead focus on vibrant, proactive strategies that ensure every employee BELIEVES they can contribute and have a voice in the future success of their work and their organization. If employees believe these practices are in place, then they will stay with you as the economy returns to viability.

Therefore, in order to position your organization well, I would recommend making the following practices a part of your culture and practice:

Alignment – Individual goals are aligned to business objectives that are clear and engaging.

Leadership - Managers are trained to play a key role in ensuring that goals are clear, attainable and serve to leverage employee talents. Managers know their employees backgrounds, capabilities and potential contributions. They have a strong capability as coaches and mentors in a diverse work environment.

Business Resource Groups (BRGs) - Affinity groups are a thing of the past. The future will consist of well facilitated BRGs that will be leveraged as critical avenues for diverse employees, who may have strong affiliations with certain target markets, to engage, provide input and drive innovation on business needs!

Growth Opportunity – Employees see potential career paths and their ability to take advantage of growth opportunities (vertically or horizontally) with diversity clearly visible at all levels of the organization.

Rewards and Recognition – Cultural and structural practices ensure employees are acknowledged not ‘just in time’, but for what they holistically bring to the organization. Incentives and compensation are equitable, clearly communicated and perceived as fair.

Time and time again, major studies have proven that with these practices your work environment will increase in commitment, productivity and desire by all individuals to add value to their companies! We wish you the best in making the most of the next decade!

Enrique Baltierra, SPHR, is an independent management consultant with Fortune 500 experience in Human Resources, Organization Development and Diversity.


  1. GREAT musings, Enrique! You inspire hope and excitement for 2010 and the new decade! Alignment, development and growth as well as constructive feedback and recognition are the stuff of high performance! And high performance will move us all in exciting, effective directions!
    Sandra Wichman

  2. Great post - I love the part about ensuring that each employee BELIEVES they can contribute and have a voice. It is a good reminder to always keep them in the loop. Jenny Dinnen