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Jacksonville, FL 32216

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Diversity – Who Cares?

In a previous article regarding the traits of a high performance workplace (https://www.mckenziehr.com/enews/july2006.htm), it was mentioned, that diversity just happens in organizations that only care about getting the best person for the job. The article stated, “The high performance organization is not interested in what a person looks like or where they were born. The only important factor is what contributions the individual will make. Because of this, the high performance workplace is constantly looking for the best people - period.”

We still introduce this article when conducting diversity training to management employees and there is quite a bit of push back on this point with many saying that the organization has to work harder to find qualified minority candidates.

Untrue!! If your organization gains a reputation for hiring the best person for the organization regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, martial status, disability, sexual orientation, sexual identity, veteran status, citizenship, genetic predisposition to certain diseases or any other personal characteristic that could be considered a protected class, than your applicant pool will likely increase substantially. In turn, you will have more people to choose from and have the ability to hire the best.

It is mind boggling that so many organizations have Diversity Directors or similar positions. What do they really do? What purpose do they really serve? Why is such a position necessary?

Now there are a number of companies that need to subcontract a portion of their business deals to minority or woman owned businesses. This should not be an issue, nor should we have an issue with Affirmative Action. The primary purpose of an Affirmative Action Plan is to ensure that the percentage of minorities and females in your workforce meet the availability of similarly skilled minorities and females in the recruitment area. How could anyone have a problem with this?

At the same time, our firm has also seen a number of EEOC charges that have been filed that are obviously filed just to be a nuisance to the former employer. In fact these charges are too frivolous to be called frivolous.

Southwest Airlines is usually used as an example of one of the best places to work. A couple of years ago, they had a backlog of about 65,000 applications. Looking at their employees, it is about as diverse a group as you can find. The employees seem to be having fun and genuinely care about customer service, on-time departures and clean airplanes. The interesting thing is that Southwest has been able to sustain this high level of performance for many years now. It is firmly engrained in their culture.

High performance workplaces do not have trouble finding great employees. Even when there was full employment in the late 1990’s and 2007, the best places to work were able to attract excellent people. When individuals of different ethnic or social backgrounds applied for jobs, their response was. “Who cares?”

Does your culture reward excellent work, promote a team environment and welcome new people with open arms regardless of any of the protected status classes mentioned above?

The best determinant of a truly diverse workforce is to ask employees about the diversity of the work force. If they say something to the effect that they don’t think about it often or don’t really think it is issue, then more than likely, you have succeeded in being a highly diverse workplace.

If they say, “Who cares?” you definitely made it. Congratulations.


Thanks for reading the McKenzie Mailer.  Let us know if we can be of assistance in keeping the lawyers away form your door.    

Kind regards,

Bob McKenzie



May 2009
Why the Huge Increase in Discrimination Charges?
April 2009
EEOC Charges at a Record High
March 2009
Eaten Any Brains Lately??
February 2009
Just Trying to Keep Up with All of the Changes
January 2009
Compliance Update Handbooks Need Updating Too
December 2008
Employee Free Choice Act – Not a Free Choice at All
November 2008
The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act Clarified
October 2008
Effective Handbooks Save Time and Money
September 2008
Negating the Nattering Nabobs of Negativism
August 2008
What's Your People Plan
July 2008
Human Resources Strange But True People Stories
June 2008
HR Compliance Issues at the Forefront
May 2008
Performance Management Never Stops
April 2008
Don’t Make Tough Times Tougher
March 2008
What Ever Happened to the Personal Touch?
December 2007
It's That Time of Year Again
November 2007
HR Hot Topic #3 - Immigration
September 2007 -
HR Hot Topic #2 - Controlling the Cost of Medical Benefits
August 2007 -
HR Hot Topic #1 Recruitment and Retention
June 2007 -
Strategic Human Resources is Not an Oxymoron
May 2007 -
Is It Really a Hostile Work Environment?
April 2007 -
What happens after a new employee is hired?
March 2007 -
February 2007 -
January 2007 -
Discrimination & Harassment
December 2006 -
October 2006 -
The Why Label Generation Y?
September 2006 -
The World of Recruitment Has Changed
August 2006 -
Keep Your "A" Players
July 2006 -
Traits of a High Performance Workplace
June 2006 -
Is a Mediocre Employee Better Than No Employee?
May 2006 -
The Compliance Vultures are Circling – Are You Prepared?
April 2006 -
Is Administrivia Keeping HR from Getting a Seat at the Table?
March 2006 -
Agreeing to Disagree or Avoiding the Subject
February 2006 -
Happy Valentine's Day
January 2006 -
Be a Talent Magnet and a Talent Utilizer