Category Archives: Resources

Cultural Statistics

Limited English Proficient Population of the USA:

  • In 2011, there were 25.3 million Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals, both foreign-born and US-born, residing in the United States
  • Over the past 20 years, the LEP share of the total US population has grown from close to 6 percent in 1990 to about 9 percent in 2011
  • The total number of LEP individuals has grown by 81 percent since 1990
  • Although most LEP individuals are foreign born, a sizable share (about 19 percent, or 4.8 million) of this population is native born

Source: Migration Policy Institute (www.migrationinformation.org)

African Immigrants in the United States:

  • Almost half of the African foreign born in the United States have arrived since 2000.
  • The top countries of origin for African immigrants are Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Ghana, and Kenya.
  • From 2001 to 2010, African nationals accounted for 28.4 percent of refugee arrivals and 21.2 percent of persons granted asylum.
  • Over one-third of all African immigrants reside in New York, California, Texas, and Maryland.

Source: Migration Policy Institute (www.migrationinformation.org)

Gay Marriage Around the World
Countries that allow gay marriage: Argentina (2010), Belgium (2003), Brazil (2013), Canada (2005), Denmark (2012), England/Wales (2013), France (2013), Iceland (2010), The Netherlands (2000), New Zealand (2013), Norway (2009), Portugal (2010), South Africa (2006), Spain (2005), Sweden (2009), Uruguay (2013)

Countries where some jurisdictions allow gay marriage: Mexico (2009), USA (2003)

Source: Pew Research Forum (http://www.pewforum.org)

Whats Currently Trending With Gen Y

MSN Now
MSN Now is a wonderful site that is real-time tracking of trends on the internet at they occur. The site, which acts like a super-search engine across all the major social media platforms and search engines, compiles a list of updates that automatically updates in real-time as trends occur. The Biggest Movers section gives up to the minute accounts of what the top ten search keywords that are trending. If you want to be in the know in real-time, MSN Now is a great site for tracking the internet’s activity.

Mary Kay Virtual Makeover App
Gen Y loves to be able to customize the looks of friends and celebrities (Beyonce is a favorite) with endless combinations of eye makeup, lip colors, hairstyles, hair colors, accessories and more. Users of this free app can choose a photo from their library, take a picture from their mobile device or select from a variety of models. Gen Y particularly loves sharing their new looks with friends on facebook and twitter.

Diversity Statistics

  • As of 2010, the most diverse communities in the US are disproportionately western, southern and coastal metropolitan areas and their principal cities and suburbs.
  • In 1900, only 1 in 8 residents of the US claimed non-European origins. Today 3 in 10 do.
    Source: 2010 Census

Growth of the Hispanic Population by County from 2000 to 2010
Top 5 Counties:
1) Stewart County, GA            1740%
2) Telfair Country, GA            842%
3) Beadle County, SD              762%
4) Adams Country, MS             687%
5) Trempealeau County, WI    594%
Source: Pew Hispanic Center analysis
of Decennial Censuses

Latinos are the nation’s biggest and youngest minority group.  They make up:

  • 16% of the total US population
  • 18% of all 16- to 25-year-olds
  • 20% of all school age children
  • 25% of newborns

Source: Pew Hispanic Center

2010 Census Demographics

  • 308.7 million US residents
  • 16% of US population Hispanic
(50.5 million)
  • Hispanic population grew by 43% from 2000 to 2010
  • White non-Hispanic population
grew by 1% from 2000 to 2010
  • 97% of people reported belonging
to only one race72% White alone (223.6 million)
  • 72% White alone
(223.6 million)
  • 13% Black or African-American alone
(38.9 million)
  • 5% Asian alone (14.7 million)
  •   0.9% American Indian and Alaska Native alone
(2.9 million)
  • 0.2% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone (500,000)

Source: US Census

June 24: Anniversary of the Battle of Carabobo (Venezuela)

Battle of Carabobo

The Battle of Carabobo was the most significant battle and subsequent victory of the Venezuelan ‘War of Independence’ from Spain.  The historic battle was fought in Carabobo on June 24, 1821 between Independence fighters and Royalist Spanish forces. The Independence fighters numbered 6,000 men and were lead by the famous General Simon Bolivar, while Spanish Field Marshal Miguel de la Torre led about 4,000 armed Royalists.

Venezuelan War for Independence

Battle of Carabobo

Battle of Carabobo

Venezuela declared their formal independence from Spain with a written Declaration of Independence made by Congress on July 5, 1811.  This act began the 12-year war for independence fought between the two countries, culminating in the Battle of Carabobo.  General Simon Bolivar, the leader of the Independence fighters, is an iconic figure of Latin American independence and is associated with the modern day “Bolivarianism” movement in South America.

Modern Day Traditions

This June 24th will be the 192nd celebration of the Battle of Carabobo in Venezuela and will be celebrated as a national holiday consisting of a televised military parade and air show held in the Field of Carabobo.

Diversity Fatigue Blog Series: Seven Causes of Diversity Fatigue

Diversity Fatigue

Over the last decade more and more companies have launched diversity initiatives and incorporated key concepts of diversity management into their organizations.  These efforts were initiated with a great deal of enthusiasm and quality work was accomplished. What organizations are discovering now after years, or in some cases, decades into the work, is that there is diversity fatigue in the workplace. Their programs are not as well attended, senior leaders are not as engaged and employees are not as involved.

This blog post series explores key causes for diversity fatigue and it outlines steps that organizations can undertake to address the fatigue and to jump start their diversity programs with renewed energy and focus.

What is Diversity Fatigue?

Diversity fatigue is best described as a sentiment of disinterest and even dislike of diversity activities that are taking place at an organization.  Diversity fatigue should not be confused with the general resistance to change that many people have.  Diversity fatigue occurs after the launch of a diversity initiative at a company followed by months or years of diversity programming.  Only after a concerted diversity effort has been made can there be fatigue, otherwise the challenge that your organization is dealing with may be something else altogether.

When diversity is positioned as an “add-on” for an organization, there will always be fatigue.  Something that is not central to my work is an added burden and nuisance.  Something that is central to my work must be cared about otherwise I will fall short with my performance and my goals.

7 Causes for Diversity Fatigue

While there are many reasons for diversity fatigue, here are 7 that we feel encompass many of the issues:

1. Lack of Senior Executive Endorsement and Involvement

2. Lack of a Diversity Plan

3. Diversity Activities Are Not Connected to the Business Case

4. Activities are Sporadic

5. Flavor of the Day

6. Lack of Communication

7. Lack of Manager and Executive Accountability

 

Diversity fatigue occurs when there is confusion and disinterest in the diversity activities that are taking place at an organization. In the next installment of this blog series we will discuss the 3 steps that your company can take to effectively address and curb diversity fatigue.

For more information on diversity fatigue and effective diversity initiatives visit our website: www.CultureCoach.biz

Workplace Diversity Training: Top 10 Ways to Make Diversity Training Great

Top 10 Ways to Make Diversity Training  Programs Great

Diversity training is a great tool that companies have to communicate the values of their diversity initiative and to help employees gain valuable diversity and cultural competency skills.  In this blog series Culture Coach International will pass along our best advice and guidance for making diversity training at your company a huge success that achieves all of your goals.

Great Diversity Training in Ten Steps

Great Diversity Training in Ten Steps

1.    Senior Executive Support is Critical 

It is important to get senior level support for any diversity training that you are going to do. If they are supportive and help employees to realize why it is important, than this will set the tone for your diversity training program.

2.    Have Senior Leaders Attend Diversity Training

If diversity training is important to the organization, than senior leaders can demonstrate how important it is by attending the same training program as employees.

3.    Build the Business Case for Diversity

It is important for employees attending diversity training to know why it is important for the organization and for their jobs. Including a business case for your organizations helps employees to understand why diversity training is an important investment of their time and why they need to use the information that they learn in the diversity training to improve their interactions with others.

4.    Use Experiential Techniques 

Diversity training is more effective if the people attending have a chance to practice what they are learning and to interact with other people. In person interaction helps people to learn about people that they work with, it helps them to better frame their own experiences and it helps them to gain “aha” moments into how they see the world. 

5.    Adjust for a Diversity of Learning Styles 

People learn in different ways. It is important that diversity training use a variety of techniques that help people to learn in a way that helps them to understand and retain the information.

6.    Everyone Has a Personal Story – Incorporate These Into Diversity Training

Everyone comes to diversity training with unique backgrounds and stories to tell. These stories can be powerful learning opportunities and if you incorporate these into the diversity training they can provide meaningful conversations and connections.

7.    Allow Time for People to Process

Providing diversity training is not like providing computer software training. Diversity training often raises issues for those participating that can be emotional. Thus, it is important that diversity training allows time for people to think about and process what they have learned and how this will impact their work.

8.    Tell People How it Impacts Their Role Diversity training

When people attend diversity training they want to know how what the knowledge that they are gaining will impact their work on a daily basis. Thus, it is important to help employees make the links between the diversity training content and their role in the organization.

9.    Make it Practical 

Too often diversity training is abstract in nature and short on practical tips for implementation. Provide time in the training program for participants to think about and discuss how they can use the training content on a practical level.

10. Follow-up 

Wonderful diversity training with little follow-up is not as effective as diversity training that is done within a larger diversity initiative that builds in numerous opportunities for people to follow-up on the core ideas presented in the training program. Repetition of ideas introduced in training reinforces key points and helps to ensure that diversity training provides a higher return on investment for the organization.

Keep your eyes out for the next installment of the Workplace Diversity Training blog series that will be published within the next couple of weeks.  For more information on Diversity Training visit the Culture Coach International website: www.CultureCoach.biz

Helping the International Athlete Succeed in a New Country – Part One

Helping International Athletes Succeed

International Athlete Jose Goncalves

International Athlete Jose Goncalves for the New England Revolution

From the minute an international athlete steps off the plane, they are expected to perform at a top level in a new league, with a new team, in a new city, in a different language and with a new culture to learn.  The adjustment to playing in the US can be challenging for athletes. For teams that are seeking to make the most of their investment into an international athlete, is it important to keep in mind how cultural adjustments will impact their international athletes. This is a series of blog posts on how to help international athletes succeed when playing on US teams. Check back for future blog post on this same topic.

Scouting

Scouting international athletes in their home countries can lead to unrealistic expectations of what a player can do for a US team.  A player in their own country is typically playing with a team they know, in their own country and culture, speaking their own language and with a support structure of friends and family around them which helps them to be happy off the field and thus able to perform at their best on the field.  In essence, they are in the best possible conditions.  All of that changes when they are uprooted and brought to their new US team where they are in a new culture, with a new team, often without a support structure as they are far from family and friends. Many are also struggling with a completely new language so their ability to communicate with their coaches and teammates is very limited and their ability to settle into a new community is challenged greatly by this inability to speak the language.   If they have a family, a player is also struggling with either missing them as they are back home, or worried about their happiness and ability to settle into the new country where they are often isolated due to language issues. So how to improve the chances of an international athlete succeeding?

Before offering an international athlete a contract take into account the following:

• Have they lived and played abroad before? If so, were they successful?

• Do they have any English language skills? If not, are they willing to learn? Are you willing to provide the type of support needed to help them learn the language?

• Have they lived away from friends and family before?

• Do they have a spouse and children? If so, will they relocate with the player or will they

remain at home?  Are you willing to provide the support the family will need to settle?

in if they come with the player?

• Does the athlete have an outgoing, problem solving personality that will make it easier for them to make friends and to adjust to the challenges they will encounter?

• Is there a local community from the athlete’s home country near your team that can help the athlete to adjust culturally?

• Why does the athlete want to compete in the US? Is it because they think it is good for their career or because they really want to play in the US? A strong desire to play in the US will help them to be more successful.

Before Their Arrival

An athlete will be anxious about the move to a US team. Providing information ahead of time that helps to allay their concerns and apprehension will assist greatly in helping them to make an easier transition.   Give them information not only about the team and the other athletes they will be working with but also about the city and the local region.

Early Days

Once an international athlete arrives, their first few weeks with the team is a critical time as they settle into daily life. While it may seem like enough for the club to provide the basics like helping the person get a work permit, driver’s license and a place to live, this level is not sufficient if they want to player to really be successful.   Once an athlete has a place to sleep and transportation to get back and forth to practice, the next level of support is helping them to understand the basics of daily life.

Language

This is the largest barrier to a athlete’s ability to adjust well.  The ability to communicate with team members and coaches is absolutely critical. While watching what is going on will lead to some comprehension, verbal communication is essential to a deeper understanding of the team, the style of play and the coach’s desires for the athlete.  It is important that a team use a professional translator as much as possible instead of fellow team members who may speak the language. A teammate may not know the vocabulary or may feel awkward giving feedback to a colleague. It limits the international athlete’s independence and his ability to seek and receive feedback from the coach directly.

Cultural Adjustment

Addressing the language barriers is the first step; the next step is helping the athlete to adjust to the new culture.  Culture is at its essence, the values and norms of a group of people. As such, each team will have its own culture and the athlete is adjusting to this culture at the same time they are also adjusting to the national culture of the country. People living in a culture rarely stop to think about their own culture.  How things get done is just “the way things happen.” But, to an outsider, this may or may not be the way things have been done in their home culture. In the US for example, there is a very direct communication style as Americans “tell it like it is.”  Many cultures around the world have a communication style that is much more indirect and thus, international players have to adjust to this new style of communicating. This is just one small example of the myriad of ways that culture impacts virtually every facet of our lives.

Many of these steps are not that time consuming nor expensive to implement. With the investment of up to hundreds of thousands of dollars that a team is already making in bringing in an international athlete, making a small additional investment in these extra steps can help the player to adjust better and in turn give his best on the field. This in turn this will result in higher player success, team success and league success.

Countdown to Black History Month: Events and Activities for Celebrating Black History Month

This post is part of our blog series, “Countdown to Black History Month.”  Each blog post will cover one significant event or person in black history that we are highlighting as a lead in to Black History Month. 

January is a great month to begin planning for the events and activities that your organization is going to hold for Black History Month.  There are a wide variety of events and activities that your organization can host as a celebration of and way to focus on Black History Month.   Culture Coach International has worked with clients to developed meaningful Black History activities that engage and educate people in a variety of ways.  Below is a list of Black History Month activities and events, some created by CCI and some not, all are a great way to bring attention to this important month:

  1. Speakers: Organize speaker(s) to come to your organization and give topical addresses at the start and close of the month.  These people can be: professors from local colleges, experts from local libraries or museums as well as well-known professional speakers.
  2. Videos: Host weekly viewings of significant films related to Black History such as PBS’ Eyes on the Prize series.
  3. African American Timelines – Abridged Version: Post the African American Timeline in common spaces and send out emails informing people as to the purpose of the Timeline and highlighting some of the content on the Timeline.  This is a great activity that people can participate in at their leisure.
  4. African American Timeline – Full Version: Host a facilitated African American Timeline discussion(s) with the people at your organization.  This is a great event because it aims to provide an in-depth experience that every person can feel comfortable participating in.
  5. Famous African American Quotes: Send out weekly or twice weekly quotes via email or posted on internal company intranet.  We suggest using quotes that are in alignment with the Black History Month theme.
  6. African American Scavenger Hunt: Use this activity for a networking event and also to teach participants about 30 African Americans who have made an impact upon our culture and history.

CCI Authored Black History Month Activities Expanded:

African American History Timeline – Abridged Version

The abridged version of timeline measures just 4.5 feet long and brings together key facts from both the timeline and the cards that are used in the larger timeline. This smaller timeline is great for posting as an educational tool that employees can read by themselves and it is also a great tool for smaller groups discussions. The smaller timeline comes with sample discussion questions and a brief facilitator’s guide. This version of the timeline is available in both vinyl and paper. The paper version is divided into three, paper panels, so it can be easily displayed vertically or horizontally for small office spaces. The vinyl version of this timeline is a horizontal, continuous 4.5 long timeline.

This timeline is great for posting as an educational tool that employees can read by themselves and it is also a great tool for smaller groups discussions.

African American History Timeline – Full Version

The African-American History timeline is 12 feet long and contains significant historical facts related to African-American history. Participants interact with the timeline by placing additional facts/events (printed on laminated playing cards) on it for the year they believe the event took place. The trainer then facilitates a discussion by reviewing all of the cards placed on the timeline. If a card is not at the correct year, it can be easily moved to the right year. For each card, the trainer encourages discussion and questions by providing additional information. Depending on the level of knowledge of a particular group, discussions can be either introductory or very in-depth.

Famous African American Quotes

This activity is an designed to offer a small, daily reminder of Black History Month 2013 to employees. This electronic list is a selection of 28 quotes, one for each day of Black History Month, from famous African American men and women. The quotes center around this year’s Black History Month Theme: At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality. The quotes are given in an electronic format to be sent in daily email reminders to employees of the month’s theme through an inspiring quote.

Keep an eye out for upcoming blog posts that are a part of the “Countdown to Black History Month” series. Black History Month provides a significant opportunity for organizations to have conversations around the history and contributions of African Americans.  Please visit our Black History Month Page for more information about Black History Month as well as ways to engage your employees or volunteers.

Diversity Fatigue Blog Series: Three Steps to Ending Diversity Fatigue

Three Steps to Ending Diversity Fatigue

Diversity fatigue occurs when there is confusion and disinterest in the diversity activities that are taking place at an organization.  While there are many possible ways to respond to diversity fatigue, we are recommending that you begin by looking at the following three areas and assess your organization’s performance in each.

This blog post series explores key causes for diversity fatigue and it outlines steps that organizations can undertake to address the fatigue and to jump start their diversity programs with renewed energy and focus. For more information about the causes of diversity fatigue, visit the first post of the series Diversity Fatigue Blog Series: Seven Causes of Diversity Fatigue.

1. (Re)Develop a Strong Business Case for Diversity

A business case for diversity should focus on the real and practical implications that diversity and culture have on your business goals, operations and human capital.  This involves both straightforward thinking as well as outside the box thinking.  Look closely at the goals that the organization has set for the next 6 months, 1-year, 3 years and ask your self how diversity can help to achieve these or might stand in the way of any of these?  A business case for diversity that will drive actual results and help combat diversity fatigue constructs an argument for the importance of diversity to an organization.  If your business case for diversity does not do this it is contributing to diversity fatigue.

So, how do you develop a great business case for diversity that combats diversity fatigue?

  • Study and understand the changing demographics of employees and customers, now and in 5,10,15 years
  • What are the key activities that take place every day at your organization that are affected by diversity? How can these be improved and measured to demonstrate value/cost of diversity to your organization?
  • When you are in social spaces at your organization (lunch room, break room, etc.) listen closely to what employee are talking about, complaining about – what makes you cringe or smile?
  • Know the purchasing power of targeted groups of customers so that you can show executives and employees that real money is on the table (hint, depending upon what demographics you are looking at it can reach nearly a trillion dollars)
  • Explore current trends from your employee engagement surveys and see how the core diversity concepts of building respectful, inclusive workplaces can help to address business goals

2. Senior Level Engagement and Support

Senior executives focus a good deal on strategy and short and long term goals.  For them to actively engage and support diversity and inclusion initiatives, they need to clearly see how D&I work is helping to achieve specific goals and strategies.  Having both a business case for diversity and diversity plan with both short and long term goals will help to effectively communicate the importance of diversity to senior executives. The goals contained in the plan must also demonstrate a clear connection between the diversity work being done and how this will help drive specific business goals. When executives don’t understand how diversity is impacting their day to day responsibilities and don’t see a clear path to addressing this impact, they will stop caring about diversity once the initial push and enthusiasm have died down.

Effectively engaging senior leaders in diversity work means you also have to make it easy for them to engage. Asking them to attend events is great, but it is even better when you provide them with talking points about your diversity work, recent success stories and key focus areas so that they can share these with employees. Making it easy for them to talk about diversity helps to engage them and to make them advocates for the work.

If the leaders of your company are not talking about and supporting diversity at your organization, diversity fatigue will eventually set in.  Managers and employees take their cues from the higher ups and if they do not think that the higher ups care about diversity, then why should they care?  Making it easy and natural for senior leaders to support and talk about diversity is the key to their engagement.  When senior leaders have a clear understanding of why diversity is important to the organization and in particular to their set of responsibilities, they jump at the chance to be visible supporters of diversity.  This may require creative thinking on your part, but it will make the difference between diversity work and diversity results.

3. Manager and Employee Engagement

Creating an organizational culture that is infused with respect and inclusion requires the engagement of all employees and managers. A respectful workplace is built upon the thousands of daily interactions that happen among employees. In order for the culture to shift and change employees need to both understand why D&I is important to their work and also how to modify their behaviors and interactions so that they are creating a respectful and inclusive workplace.  This requires communicating a clear business case for diversity, the goals diversity and inclusion are seeking to accomplish, and constantly educating employees on the practical steps that they can take to become part of the process. In essence, they need to know “what’s in it for me and what do I need to do?”  If the diversity activities that have been planned for employees closely align with business goals that employees are contributing to or responsible for, then they will care about and be engaged with the activities.

Another key factor is the engagement of managers. Managers are in many ways the keepers of an organization’s culture. They are the ones supervising, managing, and correcting employee behavior and they need to have very clear knowledge about their role in this change process. Too often managers are left to fend for themselves and to instinctively know what they are supposed to do and why diversity is important to their teams. Managers need to be actively involved and consistently supported with tools, training, communication and support so that they can play the critical role they need to in helping to sustain efforts in the long term. If you have not done so already, create a profile of the diversity and cultural competence skills that managers must possess in order to work effectively at your organization.  Make sure that this profile is added to and reviewed by relevant parties.  Then take this profile and create a professional development plan that works to educate and equip managers with those necessary skills.  Incorporate the skills into reviews and hold managers accountable. This will help diversity become an integral part of their job and clearly communicate the value that diversity has to the organization.

If your organization is experiencing any of the signs of diversity fatigue and would like assistance in understanding and applying the three steps outlined here, contact Harmony at 617-795-1688 or email our office at harmony@culturecoach.biz

For more information on diversity fatigue and effective diversity initiatives visit our website: www.CultureCoach.biz

 

National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2013

National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2013 Begins October

National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2013

“We are EQUAL to the task” theme poster for National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2013

As October approaches, so does the start of the 68th year of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The official theme for Disability Employment Awareness Month 2013 is “Because We Are EQUAL to the Task.” This year’s theme focuses on how employees with disabilities are equally capable of producing high quality work and achieving great success in the workforce. The reality is that people with disabilities have the experience, education, and drive to be  successful in the workforce and this month gives the opportunity to recognize their invaluable contribution. The month also provides the opportunity for employers to reaffirm their commitment to ensure that all people, regardless of ability, have the right to equal employment opportunities.

History of National Disability Employment Awareness Month

This tradition began back in 1945 when President Harry Truman passed Public Law 176 declaring that the first week of October would be  known as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” October of 1945 was just 4 months after the passing of Franklin Roosevelt, who is arguably one of the most famous Americans with a disability, as he was left with an ambulatory disability after a bout with polio. In 1962, the term “physically” was removed from the title, as they wanted the law to be more inclusive of people with many different kinds of disabilities and not just physical disabilities. With the evolution and adoption of people-first language, the title was changed again in 1988 to the current title and extended to last for a month. For a more in-depth history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month check out our blog post: History of National Disability Employment Awareness Month

National Disability Employment Awareness Month Resources

The Department of Labor’s Page offers resources  on how to promote diversity & inclusion, employment and awareness around NDEAM. The site offers scripted internal communications, press releases, and social media posts to easily circulate content to your employees. The site even includes a free “Because we are EQUAL to the task” poster.

Culture Coach International also offers our “Focus on Ability Timeline,” as a educational tool which is an exploration of how society’s understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities has evolved since the B.C. era. Important people, events, and legislative actions are documented that demonstrates the richness and complexity of the subject.  As a stand alone, the timeline is a great educational activity that provides awareness and information as an activity for employees within National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). The timeline can also be used as a module within a broader training program on disability awareness or diversity in the workplace.

Please contact us at 617-795-1688 for more information on training, educational tools, and business products that you can incorporate into your efforts to promote National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

 

 

 

 

What President Obama’s Re-election Teaches Us About Diversity in Corporate America

President Obama Focuses on Diversity to Win Re-Election Diversity in Corporate America

As a nation we reached a diversity tipping point in November 2012 when President Obama won re-election. The President and his staff actively targeted their outreach efforts to a selection of voters with the belief that the diversity in the US matters and that the issues important to women, immigrants, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Gay and young voters were significant enough to win the President his re-election.  These efforts and beleifs paid off in Obama’s victory, but what does this victory teach corporate America about diversity?   Diversity in Corporate AmericaDiversity in Corporate America

In the end President Obama garnered 93% of the black vote, 71% of the Hispanic vote, 73% of the Asian vote, 90% of gay voters, 41% of women voting and 60% of voters under the age of 30.  The numbers reflect what was necessary to win, a majority of the votes from minority groups in the United States.  Obama’s strategy allowed him to beat Romney, as Romney failed to understand the collective power of the diverse groups in the United States. Certainly Obama’s ability to attract a large number of diverse voters helped deliver him a second victory, but, what does the President’s re-election have to teach corporate America about diversity? That the diverse population of the US has grown to a critical mass and is now affecting major outcomes within the US. For corporate America, this means that the era of workplace diversity being a “nice to have program” has ended and the era of diversity programming being a “need to have program” has begun.  Companies must work to understand the values and needs of the growing diverse population in the United States, or they will lose their employees and customers. Diversity in corporate america

The US is the Least Diverse We Will Ever Be diversity in corporate america

Diversity in Corporate AmericaRight now, we the American people are the least diverse we will ever be.  The wave of diversity growth that is taking place in the US is a result of many factors that have combined to produce a gradual yet significant change in demographics.  Immigration for the past three decades has shifted from originating predominantly in Europe to originating from Latin America and Asia. During this same time period, white Americans have been having fewer children and are increasingly marrying across racial and ethnic groups.  Immigrants have higher birthrates than those people of childbearing age born in the US. With all of these factors combined, the US has reached the point where the majority of children born are now Hispanic, black, Asian or multi-racial.  The US stands at a turning point in history where the white population is declining and in the coming years the older less diverse generations will make way for the younger and more diverse generations. diversity in corporate america

But what is the significance of this diversity for corporations? One implication is that “businessDiversity in Corporate America as usual” will not suffice and that employers will have to examine who they are and how they do business in order to ensure that they are attracting and retaining top talent.  Because the top talent is going to begin to look much different than it has in the past, employers can reasonably expect that these employees may have different values and needs than past or current employees.  In order to accommodate these differences, companies should look closely at their human capital needs and how their company culture might have to change in order to attract their future top performers.  Smart and forward thinking companies are already making changes that will result in more inclusive cultures. These cultures will be more appealing to young professional Americans.  For it is not only the racially and culturally diverse that are looking to work for inclusive and diverse companies, Gen Y as a whole has grown up with this culture and expects to see this mirrored in their workplace environment.  Those companies that are more conservative and slow to change may have a hard time retaining the diversity that they are able to attract, let alone attracting significant diversity to begin with.  Look to Romney’s campaign to see the implications of this route. diversity in corporate america

Changing Demographics Requires Changing Diversity in Corporate America

Given the demographic changes and the impact they will have upon corporations in the coming years, what then is the way forward? In order to create a workplace that effectively attracts and retains top talent, we need to create a workplace culture that is built upon the values that those workers are looking for from their employers. CCI stipulates that these include: the value of respecting differences; including new ideas and ways of doing business; a willingness to challenge the status quo in order to find a new competitive edge; and a flexible workplace that allows employees to tailor their workday in a way that maximizes their productivity.  Many of these values can be introduced and reinforced through a company’s D&I program.

However, in order to effect change at the level of an organization’s culture, diversity needs to be internally positioned not as an isolated training program, but rather as an Organizational Development initiative that is able to effect organization wide change.   If a company does not currently have a D&I initiative that is structured in this way, then taking some of the following steps will help your organization get started: diversity in corporate america

  • Ensure that the D&I work is closely is closely aligned with organizational goals
  • Seek and gain senior leadership support and active engagement throughout the entire process. Have them model their own personal engagement with the initiative.
  • Engage and support managers in the work. Provide them with the training and resources to become advocates for diversity and inclusion within their teams.
  • Provide regular communication to employees about the diversity work, its alignment to organizational goals and why diversity is important

With this switch diversity moves from being viewed as a feel good activity or program, to being recognized as a business imperative where the long-term organizational culture changes in a way that directly drives business results.  In this framework diversity becomes an organizational development process that takes place over the course of many years and provides thousands of opportunities for employees to interact with the messaging behind the culture change.  These interactions help employees to understand, accept and ultimately embrace the creation of a diverse and inclusive company culture.  Which is exactly what the increasingly diverse majority of Americans are looking for. diversity in corporate america

Diversity is a “Need to Have” Program diversity in corporate america

Diversity in Corporate AmericaAs we saw in the re-election of President Obama, the demographics of the US have shifted and will continue to change and evolve.  Practically speaking, these changes will impact how businesses operate because the majority of employees and customers will continue to look different and have different needs than they did just five years ago.  These changes should motivate companies to take a good long look at the culture of their workplace and the operations that drive their major business outcomes.  Companies should consider this important question: How is diversity affecting my business outcomes today and how will it affect these in five years?  Companies and politicians alike need to understand who it is that lives in their communities and works for their companies.  Ignoring this diversity will result in people voting with their feet as they seek workplaces that values their diverse points of view and the workplace culture they desire.  Diversity has the power to transform and it is the strength of our diversity if we learn to leverage it that will continue to make our country and economy the most diverse and innovative in the world. diversity in corporate america

International Business Etiquette Tips – Qatar

Culture Coach International is doing a new blog series, where each weekly segment will have a list of the of 5 essential “International Business Etiquette Tips” to working with a specific country.

If you enjoy the series, Sign-up for our Monthly Newsletter to receive monthly cultural quick tips, international holidays, and proverbs from around the world.

International Business Etiquette – Qatar

  1. When Muslims greet each other, instead of saying, “good morning” or “hello” they often say “Assalamu Alaikum,” which means, “May peace be upon you and may God’s blessings be with you.” It is good to learn these greetings in Arabic as a sign of respect and effort on your part to learn a phrase of their language.
  2. Most Qataris do not eat any meat that has not been prepared to “halaal” (lawful) standards. Pork products are illegal in Qatar and many Qataris think of pigs as unclean animals, so it is very important to avoid pork products.
  3. Qataris often value close contact and less personal space, so do not back up or shy away; physical contact among males is common; if a Qatari man tries to take your hand while walking, do not quickly pull it away because this is a great sign of friendship.
  4. Be aware that in Qatar the Hijrah (Arabic) date is used as well as the Gregorian date; the workweek typically runs from Saturday to Thursday, 8:00 am to 12:00 pm and 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Friday is a Muslim holy day; during Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha (the two most important Islamic holidays) no business will be conducted.
  5. Qataris may leave for 15-20 minutes throughout the day to conduct prayers; when hosting, appointments and meetings should be set between particular prayer times if possible; make sure there is a space reserved where they may go to pray undisturbed.

If you enjoy the series, Sign-up for our Monthly Newsletter to receive monthly cultural quick tips, international holidays, and proverbs from around the world.

Latest Cultural Quick Tip Newsletter is Out Now – November 2012

The skyline of Boston has many skyscrapers. Like skyscrapers, diversity initiatives require “blue prints,” or plans and benchmarks, to be implemented successfully. (Photo by Culture Coach CEO Kari Heistad)

Culture Coach International just finished releasing the Cultural Quick Tip Newsletter for November 2012. The theme of the month will be Creating a Blueprint, which takes a metaphorical look at how diversity initiatives require well-laid plans to be successful.

This month’s holiday features Guy Fawkes Day in the UK: a celebration of the failed Gunpowder Plot, an attempt to blow up Parliament on November 5, 1605; it is celebrated with a large fireworks show.

We also included the international secular and religious holidays for the month of November, alongside some interesting proverbs and idioms from Tajikistan, Nigeria, and the Czech Republic.

For a complete look at the newsletter, click here. If you are interesting in signing up to receive the monthly tip in your inbox each month, sign up here.

Where To Travel To In The USA: Top 20 Historical Sites That Have Shaped America’s Culture (Part 4, 16-20)

Where To Travel To In The USA: Top 20 Historical Sites That Have Shaped America’s Culture 16 – 20

This is the 4th installment of the Top 20 Culturally Significant Historical Sites that are integral in having shaped America’s diverse culture to what it is today. They are listed in no particular order, and I have provided some links and pictures for additional reading. I hope this will inspire you to visit these sites and the plethora of others in the future as they are an important marker on what America has gone through to become who we are as a nation today. I hope you have enjoyed the series and possibly inspired some historical related travel in the near future. :)


<— Historical Sites (Numbers 11 – 15)

 

16. Oil Creek State ParkOil Creek Township, Pennsylvania

Oil Creek State Park in Pennsylvania - Where Seneca Oil Company First Extracted oil Commercially (Courtesy of Shutterstock.com)

During the 1850’s, the Northwest corner of Pennsylvania was a place where the timber industry ruled. However, this all changed on August 27, 1859 when Seneca Oil Company found a way to extract the oil in the ground, forming the first commercialized oil well in the United States. It sparked rapid growth across the area, and the United States would experience its first oil boom becoming the largest producer of the commodity around the world for decades to come. The growth of the oil industry spurred economic development that shaped America into the car loving society it is today.

National Parks Service Site on Oil Region National Heritage Area
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Page on Oil Creek State Park

 

17. Lewis and Clark National Historic TrailIllinois, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington

Sign for the Lewis and Clark Trail (Courtesy of Shutterstock.com)

In 1804, President Thomas Jefferson commissioned two war veterans, Meriwether Lewis and Lewis Clark, to explore the land beyond the Mississippi river, largely unexplored, in order to find a land route to Asia. At the same time, the pair and their crew were to map out the land and wildlife in order to both claim the territory for the United States and also to see how it could be of value in economic terms. Two years later, the crew reached the coast of the Pacific Northwest having documented and mapped much of the area. Their journey across the western frontier both exemplified the American frontiersman spirit of the time, while also established the border across the plains and Rockies, setting up thousands of future migrants who would make a similar journey a few decades later across routes such as the Oregon Trail, Mormon Trail, California Trail, and Santa Fe Trail.

National Parks Service Site on The Lewis and Clark Trail
The Story of Lewis and Clark

 

18. Yuma Crossing National Heritage AreaArizona & California

Railroad bridge over the Colorado River close to the Yuma Crossing (Courtesy of Shutterstock.com)

For thousands of years, the Yuma Crossing area has been an important migration route for thousands of people, starting from pre-Colombian times. The granite columns that formed at the narrowest point of the river provided for the only crossing point for nearly a thousand miles. At the arrival of the 18th and 19th century, thousands of Europeans were using the route to immigrate to the new lands of New Spain (18th century) and California (19th Century for the Gold Rush). Eventually in 1877 a commercial rail line was placed across the river, and soon provided for the land crossing for thousands of Hispanics to the area where the culture dominates to this day.

National Parks Service Site on Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area
More history on the Yuma Crossing

 

19. Little Rock Central High School National Historic SiteLittle Rock, Arkansas

Front View of the Little Rock Central High School where the "Little Rock 9" first integrated in 1957 (Courtesy of Shutterstock.com)

In 1954, the Supreme Court Ruled in the case of Brown v. Board of Education struck down the “separate but equal” laws that allowed for the segregation of white and black schools. However, as 1957 rolled around, many schools in the south were still not integrating their student bodies. 9 courageous black students chose to enter the opulent Central High School in Little Rock in September of 1957. They were met with Arkansas National Guard troops summoned by then government Orval Faubus and not permitted to enter the school. As the issue escalated, the President of The United States, Dwight Eisenhower, ordered a division of the US Army to escort the students to and from their classes amidst threatening mobs of both students and residents. Full integration of the city’s high schools finally came about 2 years later.

National Parks Service Site on Little Rock Central High School
History of the Little Rock 9

 

20. Canaveral National SeashoreFlorida

A shuttle launches off at Cape Canaveral in Florida (Public Domain)

Located on a barrier island 24 miles long, Canaveral National Seashore is home to the longest stretch of undeveloped beach on the east coast of the United States, and more importantly so, to the famous Kennedy Space Center on the extreme southern end of the island. This pristine area is home to one of America’s defining moments when the first man was put on the moon in 1969 in the great race with Soviet Union to be the first to do so. In the process, the United States claimed the upper hand in the middle of the Cold War. Politics aside, it was a time of great accomplishment for the entire human race.

National Parks Service Site on The Cape Canaveral National Seashore
History of Cape Canaveral 1959 – Present

 

<— Historical Sites (Numbers 11 – 15)


Thank you for checking out Culture Coach’s Top 20 Historical Sites that Have Shaped America’s Culture. Please feel free to share or “like” our page, or to leave us a comment on what you would have added to the list. Who knows, maybe there will be another list coming soon from your suggestions?