Retention is part of the diversity equation. It’s not just about getting people: it’s also about how you keep them.
Without retention, hiring is a vicious cycle. If you hire people who don’t fit, you might think you can force them to assimilate – to be like “us.” All that does is make people leave. You wind up right where you started: you have to hire someone all over again.
It’s not money that gets people to stay. It’s not prestige. What makes people stay is knowing how to get their voices heard in an organization. An employee wants to be able to say, “I know I want to give 100 percent, and these people are letting me do that.” It’s really important that employees know this upfront.
Some employees really appreciate the opportunity to have their voices heard. They relish the chance to work for an organization where their voice is considered. But not all employees want the same thing. Some people love to be compliant. Some people love to just do what they’re told. They’re not really interested in sharing their unique perspective. They just want to work – and that can be okay. We have to acknowledge that both of these people exist.
Companies who simply accept diversity as a fact of life and develop strategies for utilizing it, experience significant organizational growth.
Organizations will naturally benefit greatly from people who want and look for opportunities to add value by bringing their diverse point of view to the table. The problem is that this slows things down. It’s quicker for everyone to nod their heads, agree, and move on to the next thing. For many routine decisions, this is perfectly sufficient. Don’t spend extra time mulling over things that insignificantly impact results.
Retaining talent is not enough to get value from talent. You’ve got them on the bus, and they’ve got a nice comfortable seat – now what?
Mentoring programs are keys to helping people navigate company culture. If an employee wants to bring their perspective to the table, they need to know how and when to do that. Even when the organization is intent on getting outside perspective, someone has to teach employees how to do it in that organization. Mentors are the ones to teach this.
If a company loves outside opinion, but they love it in a certain way, then the mentor can help his employee figure out how and when to deliver their opinion properly. The mentor can say, “You got carried away in the last meeting with this idea that we like differing opinions. You raised issues that didn’t add value. So here’s how to do it right: Listen first. Pay attention to where the conversation is going. If it’s not going where you think it needs to go to answer the question on the table, then you raise your hand and say, ‘Let me offer a different point of view.’”
The way you add your perspective to the conversation is just as important as the content of your input. Don’t waste time when we can make a perfectly good routine decision. Don’t bring your perspective to the table just for the sake of it.