John is sitting in an important meeting about a key presentation for a new company client. His boss is soliciting creative ideas to go with this make-or-break presentation. John sits still and does not say anything. But in his mind, he is amassed with out-of-the-box and flamboyant ideas on how to make the presentation truly one of a kind.
Yet, John remains hesitant to speak out and share his thoughts. He remains guarded amidst a male-dominated boardroom where employees often speak about baseball and cars during their free time. He knows he is different from the rest, and he does not reveal it because he is unsure if others will accept his authentic self. So, he lets the meeting pass without saying a word, only occasional nods and a curt smile occasionally.
As a boss or employer, you probably only have a vague idea about what employees like John are going through. Know that John is not an exceptional case. You have many team members like John who view themselves as different and would want to show more of their authentic selves.
Authenticity in the Workplace
Being authentic may not always be about gender orientation. Sometimes, it may also have something to do with ethnicities, cultural differences, religious beliefs, political inclinations, or even language barriers. Nevertheless, one thing remains true. Many employees find it challenging to bring their authentic selves to work.
Many factors can affect why many employees do not feel confident about showing their individuality in the workplace. These include expectations, social norms, or the company culture in general. However, as an employer, you must understand that your employees’ individuality is what they bring to their work life. Therefore, they need to feel comfortable in their own skin in work environments, so they will be engaged and compelled to create a positive impact in the workplace.
Benefits of Promoting Authenticity in the Workplace
As an employer, your focus on your team should be equally matched with your focus on individual employees. There are plenty of benefits for your company when you promote diversity in the workplace. Differences in cultures and perspectives are present at work, and employers are responsible for creating equal opportunities and promoting psychological safety to promote individuality among employees.
A study by Gartner shows that a company that promotes inclusivity and diversity in the workplace increases employee productivity by 12 percent. Moreover, employees working for companies that promote inclusivity and diversity tend to remain at their posts longer – about 20 percent higher than companies that do not actively promote it.
Here are just some of the many benefits that your company can reap by encouraging every employee to be their authentic self.
1. It champions innovation in the workplace.
Your team members are unique in their own way because they come from different backgrounds. Also, some may come from the younger generation of millennials and Gen Zs, while others may be from older generations.
This unique mix is an excellent breeding ground for innovative ideas and creative brainstorming. A diverse team’s approach to problem-solving and innovation is unbeatable and often very productive. If your employees are assured that their individuality is respected and appreciated, they will be motivated to bring out their best and deliver for your team.
2. It attracts top talent and actually gets them to stay.
Potential employees are attracted to companies with salient policies on inclusivity and diversity. When your company has significant policies to support inclusivity, job candidates are assured that they will not be working in a place that can potentially be hostile or discriminatory toward them. They will have the assurance that they will be able to fit in in no time, and they get to stay much longer in an environment that accepts who they are.
3. It improves employee productivity and overall performance.
A study from Deloitte revealed that employees of companies that champion diversity and inclusivity improve business performance. Other than skills and technical know-how, an employee’s emotional intelligence must also be nurtured by your company so that your employees remain engaged and productive. When employees are comfortable, happy, and confident, this also tends to show in their output and overall performance.
4. It improves your network and company reputation.
A diverse and inclusive workplace where employees can be their authentic selves may also be opening itself up to a larger market of potential employees or clients. Chances are, top candidates coming from the LGBTQ group may find your company an attractive place for work. Moreover, your company may have more culturally diverse customers when they discover that it has plenty of employees who can speak their language. The possibilities are endless.
5. It increases your revenue.
An interesting study revealed that companies that champion inclusivity and diversity also tend to earn more than companies that do not. Such companies generate 2.3x more cash flow per employee, 1.4x more revenue, and 120 percent more capable of hitting their revenue targets. As a result, allowing and supporting your employees to be their authentic selves may bring you more revenue and give your company more profit in the long run.
How to Support Employees in Being Their Authentic Selves
Now that you know the myriad benefits that your company can gain by promoting inclusivity and diversity, here are some practical steps on how your company can support employees to show their individuality and their authentic self:
1. Educate your team, especially your leaders.
Your team managers and leaders are vital to the success of your diversity and inclusion campaign. Ensure they are fully educated about the benefits of championing diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. They must be able to set aside their biases in favor of the success of the team as well as its individual members
2. Establish an Inclusion Body in your company.
Form a so-called Inclusion Council consisting of several persons who would influence and govern how to make this campaign a real success. This council should meet regularly for goal-setting, results evaluation, and general feedback. They must also chart practical steps and guidelines on how the campaign should be implemented in the workplace. This council should also be able to communicate goals and measure progress regularly.
3. Respect employee differences.
Have you ever thought of setting aside some space in your office as a meditation or prayer room? Consider also having potluck parties where your company’s various ethnicities and nationalities can share food that represents their culture. Listen and spend time with your employees as they share stories or anecdotes about themselves and their diverse backgrounds.
4. Hold meetings more mindfully and effectively.
During meetings, open the floor for more team members to speak up instead of solely focusing on the team leader and a few articulate team members. Acknowledge each idea thrown onto the table. Whenever you can, assign rotational speaking opportunities for every team member. When you have team members working remotely, do your best to be mindful of their local times.
WORK WITH A PARTNER STAFFING AGENCY COMMITTED TO DIVERSITY AND INCLUSIVITY.
Most of the time, the success of your diversity and inclusion (D&I) campaign begins with choosing the correct recruiting partner who understands your goal and shares your vision of making your company as diverse and inclusive as possible.
This is where the Fox Search Group comes in. Founded by a woman and with diversity and inclusivity being cornerstones of our staffing process, partnering with Fox Search Group means you have more support and assurance that your company will not only have top talent but also be as inclusive and as diverse as possible. Fox Search Group will give you the extra leg up to ensure that your employees are at their most authentic selves in the workplace. Contact us now, so we can help you build your diverse workforce.
Emily has been in the labor force for the last six years. She has been working as a technical support specialist and is highly skilled at what she does to the point that she can train other people on the job. She has been pining to join her dream tech company for quite some time, but despite her skills, she remains unqualified.
This is because Emily does not possess a college degree – a qualification that her dream company requires.
Job Requirements: Degree Inflation
Research from the private sector and academia revealed widespread Degree Inflation still exists in the labor market. This happens when jobs that did not require a college degree before now require one. These include jobs such as an administrative assistant or production supervisor.
According to the same study, degree inflation worsens the skilled labor shortage by keeping highly qualified workers out of good jobs that they can do otherwise with flying colors. Worse, putting a college degree as one of the job requirements may be wasteful for your company. By competing for a limited pool of college degree holders, you may be overspending on talent as a hiring manager.
Thankfully, the last two years have challenged this labor phenomenon. But, thanks to the pandemic, there lies a silver lining.
Job Requirements and the Job Description
As a public health emergency, the pandemic has forced many hiring managers to stop clinging to a college degree as reassurance for job performance. But, come to think of it. Many companies need to do this to weather the myriad challenges of hiring in the current times.
Your company needs to look closely at the job description and if a college degree is necessary to fill your vacancies.
Job Requirements Post Pandemic: Potential Over Credential
The ongoing pandemic has disrupted the hiring process. More and more companies have started putting a premium on skills over a formal college degree.
Is experience really better than a college degree? If skills or work experience is better than a college degree, why should YOUR company begin investing in talent training and mentoring now more than ever?
Job Requirements: The Value of a College Degree – Perceived Vs. Actual
Research from the Harvard Business Review says that up until recently, many companies, including those in tech, hire degree holders because of soft skills. Soft skills refer to attributes like effective communication, teamwork, adaptability, initiative, and emotional intelligence. The assumption then was that college degree holders tend to have more mature soft skills than their non-degree counterparts.
However, in his study, University of Iowa Professor Frank Schmidt concluded that the connection between education level and job performance is weak. His research shows that intelligence scores are much better measures of job potential, especially when jobs require constant thinking and learning. Hence, many companies now hire based on in-demand technical skills over the proverbial college degree. Doing this allows you to optimize your recruitment and staffing budgets.
Companies have also become more aware of what skills and capabilities they are truly looking for. As a result, hiring managers also describe these capabilities more explicitly in job ads. This, in turn, makes your job applicants more aware of the skills they need to develop.
By doing away with overblown degree requirements, your company contributes to greater labor market equity. Previously overlooked but highly qualified workers can enter lucrative career pathways, while your company will have an easier time filling staff vacancies.
A survey conducted by the Manpower Group of 2,000 employers and published in the Harvard Business Review revealed that big tech firms, like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, are beginning to shift preference on individual learnability, curiosity, and inquisitiveness as indicators of career potential over a plain college degree.
This is why leading companies have begun investing heavily in employee training and talent development. The paradigm shift is not just on what they have before they enter your company. Instead, the greater emphasis now is on their ability to learn and absorb more knowledge and skills once they join your company.
Getting Past the College Degree Trap: Investing in Talent
Are you ready for a job requirement reset?
By shifting the focus to skills over a college degree, you enable your company to tap into a bigger and more diverse workforce that is more inclusive and representative of the actual labor force. You may also potentially close employment gaps and job mismatches because your focus is now on skills.
A study from the World Economic Forum shows that several high-profile tech companies such as EY, Google, and IBM, are gradually embracing hiring from less rigid talent pools. Aside from that, these companies have also started investing heavily in their staff’s continuous training and development.
Companies look for talent with holistic skills – a combination of hard or technical skills and soft skills like creativity, being detail-oriented, a passion for collaboration, and problem-solving skills. This is why you should invest in apprenticeship programs.
Hiring managers are now reaping benefits from apprenticeship programs, as these develop staff have technical skills and also possess human interaction skills that truly represent the brand and direction of the organization.
Moreover, when you invest in continuous training for your employees, you are nurturing their capability for lifelong learning, effectively enabling them to master more skills and be more productive.
Investing In Talent: Upskilling and Reskilling
Your company’s most important resource is your human resources. This is why it is vital to proactively develop opportunities to mentor, nurture, and continually cultivate their skills.
As the labor market and economy continue to evolve, it is important to upskill your employees so they can continue to effectively respond to the ever-changing global economy by becoming more skilled and up to date in their current position.
Moreover, as a college degree may only give employees skills that may be obsolete in just several years, why not invest in reskilling your staff? This allows them to have more skills and effectively fit one or more roles. Consequently, when the demand changes in these uncertain times, your employees continue to be resilient and effective at what they do.
As your employees continually learn new skills, they become thoroughly adaptable and can withstand the headwinds of market changes and the many shifts in the economy.
Transferable Skills: The Power of Mentorship
Many people who win in their professional lives attribute their success to a mentor. Similarly, many companies that withstood the test of time have also capitalized on the power of mentorship.
A survey conducted by the Olivet Nazarene University of some 3,000 employees in late 2019 revealed that 76 percent of employees feel that having a mentor is vital to their success. But unfortunately, only 37 percent of them actually had one.
Recall that mentors in the workplace provide a plethora of knowledge, skills, and experience. They can guide your employees to be more successful in what they do. Hence, one surefire way of investing in talent is to provide each employee with a mentor. This ultimately leads to the success of your organization.
REDEFINE YOUR IDEAS FOR A TOP CANDIDATE WITH FOX SEARCH GROUP.
As job requirements continue to evolve and companies become more and more open-minded, the shift to giving higher value to skills more than a formal degree is a truly welcome development. Not only will this increase your hiring rate, but it will also ensure that your company gets to welcome more diverse and better-qualified talent for your staffing needs.
If your company is ready to embrace more diversity and is looking for top talent that you can train, mentor, and nurture, Fox Search Group is the ideal partner for your staffing needs. No need to sacrifice quality with speed of delivery. The Fox Search Group is your partner in your search for top talent that is people-centered, innovative, highly qualified, and completely in sync with your company’s vision – no matter what job requirements you may have. Contact us today!
The pandemic has undeniably caused a shift in how companies do business, with most changing their work arrangements for their employees. However, these varied work arrangements come with the challenge of ensuring that employees remain connected across the globe.
With the expansion of remote work locations, indifference and disconnect from employees may arise. In a Gallup research, about 75 percent of US employees feel not cared for by their employers. Thus, for employees to stay connected, engagement efforts would be critical.
1. Securing Benefits, Improving Comfort
Employee engagement increases workplace productivity, much like customer engagement determines a product’s profitability. Improving employee engagement involves implementing policies that will ensure safety and comfort for your employees.
Since change is the only thing that remains constant, many workers are now seeking out organizations that value flexibility and youthful energy. Surveys suggest that many young employees will not hesitate to leave a company that will not honor a work-life balance.
Your employees will spend most of their waking moments at work. Providing them with leave credits that could be earned through toil work can encourage them to function more systematically, knowing the accessibility of a benefit. From incentives to in-office perks, providing tangible benefits can boost the productivity of your employees.
Giving incentives has been proven effective in improving employee productivity. Benefits can come in monetary and non-monetary forms. In-office perks need not be costly for management. For example, having music and a literary corner in the office can help your employees revisit their creative sides.
2. Communicating with Empathy
Employee engagement is an exercise of empathy. Employees can sense when mutual trust and respect are present in their communications and interactions with them. With businesses depending on employees’ strengthened dedication, employees have increasing expectations from their organizations regarding how they must be treated. Employees are now looking for companies willing to consider them as partners in their business, not robots or AI.
Additionally, cooperation in addressing company struggles can be further enhanced when you show empathy. A recent study by Catalyst revealed that 76 percent of employees who experienced empathy from their leaders reported feeling engaged. Communicating with empathy can lead to a healthier relationship and renewed appreciation among your organization, leaders, and employees.
3. Placing Importance on Mental Health
Achieving work-life balance includes recognizing the mental health needs of your employees across all levels in your organization. Compared to before the pandemic, the risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) increased by 53 percent in June 2022. Employees who experience mental fatigue may experience the inability to focus and become easily irritated, affecting their productivity and willingness to engage.
You can begin to manage this by promoting open dialogue about mental health. Employees who are struggling with their mental health at work should be able to get psychological first aid from your health and safety officer (HSO) or any other company medical staff. Additionally, you can offer your business medical or health staff certifications or training that will prepare them to handle employee welfare comprehensively.
4. Recognizing and Addressing Burnout
Burnout affects overall productivity and performance in a business. Employee indifference toward work quality and productivity can stem from managers giving unrealistic expectations and far too many tasks. As a result, poor management has become one of the major culprits of employee burnout.
Manager burnout is also real. Managers are the first line of defense when employees suddenly leave. Knowing the intricacies of the work makes them most responsible for finding or being the substitute for an employee who is not meeting their key performance index (KPIs). This can make them have less time with their family or sacrifice their well-being to meet the demand.
Considering that any employee, from experts to C-levels, can experience burnout, it’s important to have systems to notice signs of burnout before it’s too late. Additionally, with burnout being a blocker to engagement at work, it has to be addressed so that employees will still feel energized to connect and engage in the workplace. As your employees and their managers are not machines or robots, set reasonable KPIs to protect their overall well-being and inspire openness to build bridges within your organization.
Visibility matters. Your employees will reciprocate the value you place in allowing them to have the freedom to express their identities without fear of discrimination. You can begin with the company’s employee handbooks. Stipulations on protecting and honoring the varied identities your employees have will motivate them further. Encourage all forms of families, single parent, same-sex, or chosen families, to attend family days.
6. Inspiring a Deeper Sense of Purpose
As with many businesses, it is possible to lose sight of what lies beyond the profit margins. The disconnect can sometimes originate from a lost connection to the company’s vision and mission. Many companies may start with a vision to be the most innovative in their industries.
However, as profits increase and business expands, management may shift focus from its employees further away. Reigniting that connection can start with instilling a deeper sense of the company’s purpose in each employee.
Go back to why the company exists so that employees will be reminded why they also support your organization. By reminding your staff, the management, and the executives of the motivations behind the company’s establishment, you can rekindle and strengthen your connection with your employees. Ensuring purposeful alignment and decision-making can resonate strongly with your employees, which gives them more reasons to connect, engage, and be one with your vision.
Engagement Leads to Sustainability
Profitability is dependent on the continuous proactive participation of your employees. So, welcome employee feedback and productivity, and map out how these contribute to the company overall. Your employees value being heard and knowing that their opinions matter in the grand scheme of the business process.
Engagement is a mutual decision that takes practice and commitment. Therefore, it is best to build engagement strategies that best fit your company’s work culture to drive sustainability to your business ultimately.
FOX SEARCH GROUP CAN BE YOUR ENGAGEMENT PARTNER.
At Fox Search Group, the hiring process does not end with onboarding. Our mission is to cultivate longstanding partnerships. We will listen to your vision and offer the best resource that supports your direction. We are experts at recruiting IT managers and executives from among the best. Connect us today.