Top 10 Workplace Diversity Tips

Kick start the new year with some real, solid, forward-thinking, all-inclusive changes in your workplace, courtesy of DiversityWorksNZ, formerly the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust.

1. Make diversity a core business decision to help improve productivity rather than an HR initiative.

2. Identify your company’s unconscious bias.

3. Let diversity be the deciding vote when making tough hiring decisions.

4. Measure and report your diversity progress.

5. Keep hold of employees that “don’t fit the mould”. Offer diversity and inclusion training and ask departing employees why they are leaving.

6. Keep workplace bullies in check.

7. Be flexible and focus on work efficiency rather than hours worked.

8. Focus on people’s strengths rather than getting them to “fit in”.

9. Pay attention to other organisations’ diversity policies

10. Be patient and set manageable goals


Benchmark on Diversity and Inclusion released: Tech Industry first

Culture Amp has released its Inclusion and Diversity Benchmark which allows companies to assess their progress against others dedicated to improvement in the space.

The benchmark was collated from the data of companies that have taken the Inclusion Survey, jointly created by Paradigm and Culture Amp and currently free for technology companies to use. Paradigm and Culture Amp announced the partnership earlier this year with a mission to develop targeted strategies to help companies become more diverse and inclusive organizations.

Culture Amp Strategist Steven Huang says the benchmark is a big step forward in allowing companies further context and insight on where they need to take action.

“By using the benchmark companies can get a quick snapshot of how they are tracking compared to others,” Huang says. “We’re big advocates of using data to foster insight and improvement, and the more data we have in this space the better equipped we are to fix things.”

So far close to 30 companies have used the survey, but it’s hoped that 100 companies will take the survey by the end of the year with the release of the benchmark data.

“The Inclusion Survey is less about measuring problems in a company, and more about finding and measuring specific things that companies can improve on,” Huang says. “For too long we’ve been flying blind on this issue and in order to commit to actual improvement we need to ‘learn, act, repeat’.”

To learn more about the Culture Amp and Paradigm Inclusion Survey, email

About Paradigm

Paradigm is a strategy firm that partners with innovative companies to build stronger, more inclusive organizations. They believe that with the benefit of diverse perspectives, clients will design better products, deliver better services, and build a better world.



About Culture Amp

Culture Amp is the world’s most powerful employee feedback and analytics platform,  measuring employee engagement, experience and 360 feedback. Culture Amp also started the global People Geek movement, a community of people who use data to make better decisions to help employees.


How to Appreciate Diversity and Be Inclusive During the Holidays

By Simma Lieberman

Every year, and this is no exception, I get calls, emails and requests for advice on how to support diversity and be inclusive during the November-December holiday season.

Because several publications this week have asked permission to reprint this article from my blog, I decided to share it once again.

Guess who’s not celebrating Christmas this year? Millions of people all over the United States.

That’s right. Tens of millions of Americans don’t celebrate Christmas religiously, either as followers of non-Christian religions (Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Jews) or as individuals with no religious affiliation.

Because many stores tap into the cash value of Christmas with their plethora of Santas, ornaments, and Christmas fanfare at your nearby mall, we can easily overlook the depth of the diversity present in America during this season.

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5 Ways to Build Your Awareness of Diversity and Create an Inclusive Holiday Environment at Work

1.         Learn about other religious or holiday celebrations. Carve out some time from online shopping or a holiday TV show to learn about another culture’s celebrations during this time. Watch a TV special about other celebrations, do a Google search on a holiday, or check out books at your local bookstore while gift shopping. Share your learning with others, and use it as a chance to expand the conversation at parties and at the dinner table.
2.       Let go of  expectations about other religious or holiday celebrations. Realize that people celebrate a variety of holidays during this time of year, and some people choose to celebrate none. Be respectful of these differences by taking an interest in other people’s traditions and making them feel welcome.

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A Note for Employers about Religious or Holiday Celebrations

Here are a few extra things you can do to make their workplaces more inclusive during the holidays.

  • Consider having a New Year’s party instead of a holiday party. This type of party can get everyone on board with the company’s mission and vision for the New Year.
  • Post-holiday greetings on your webpage and Intranet for many religious holidays.
  • Practice respect for these special dates and plan events and meetings around various religious holidays.

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As a Jewish person in a multi-cultural family who loves celebrations, I accept all invitations for different holidays, especially if food is involved.

To work with Simma ‘The Inclusionist’, call 510-527-0700 or email her at


Mars, Incorporated

As 2016 comes to a close, many organizations find themselves reflecting on the year’s achievements, opportunities and milestones. That rings true for Mars, Incorporated, particularly in the work the company has done to further increase diversity and promote inclusion across all operations in the United States. Today, Mars has two reasons to celebrate: being named one of the 2016 Best Workplaces for Diversity, according to global research and consulting firm Great Place to Work® and Fortune, and a listing on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2017 Corporate Equality Index.

“At Mars, we embrace different perspectives and unique ways of thinking from everyone – because we believe that our differences make us even better, together,” said Michelle Thomas, Global Director of Inclusion and Diversity at Mars. “It’s an honor to be included on these lists, but our work doesn’t stop there. We believe that greater diversity within our Associates groups yield greater creativity and business success.”


A Focus on the Mars Commitment to Diversity
These rankings exemplify Mars’ passion and commitment to continued forward growth toward creating a workplace that recognizes and celebrates differences across Mars’ Food, Chocolate, Wrigley, Petcare, Drinks and Symbioscience segments in the U.S.

Organizations like the Human Rights Campaign, Fortune, and Great Place To Work® help to inform Mars’ approach to continually improve upon existing programs, and serve as best practices to be among other leading companies in this space. Learnings from these peers are paired with direction from Mars’ Five Principles of Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom, which guide the company’s philosophy on everything from sustainability to philanthropy.

At Mars, instilling a spirit of diversity and inclusion starts at the top – the company provides trainings to give executives the skills to create a welcoming, open environment that values every Associate and allows them to develop their careers. Mars also champions flexibility in meeting the needs of its Associates across locations, tailoring diversity programming to the specific needs of each site. All Mars locations take their own steps to create a culturally inclusive environment, encouraging open collaboration and communication.

Achieving gender equality across the workforce is a priority, with women holding more than 40% of manager positions at Mars. To ensure that more and more women join and stay with the company  on a year over year basis, Mars provides mentoring circles, and groups like the Women of Mars Associate Network and Women in Sales Leadership, give Associates a chance to network and share advice.

Rankings Celebrate Forward Progress
The rankings announced today showcase Mars’ commitment to achieving an equal, open environment across its business segments.

Fortune’s 50 Best Workplaces for Diversity list is based on feedback from more than 448,456 employees atGreat Place to Work–Certified™ companies, covering topics including employees’ assessments of workplace fairness, opportunities for training, representation of women and minorities among the workforce and in executive roles, among other factors.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2017 Corporate Equality Index is the national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees. The 2017 CEI rated a total of 1,043 businesses in the report, which evaluates LGBTQ-related policies and practices including non-discrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs, and public engagement with the LGBTQ community.

To learn more about Mars, Incorporated and its commitment to diversity, visit

About Mars, Incorporated

Mars, Incorporated is a private, family-owned business with more than a century of history and some of the best-loved brands in the world.


Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education: Report

The U.S. Department of Education has released a report, Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education, building on the Administration’s efforts to expand college opportunity for all. It presents key data that show the continuing educational inequities and opportunity gaps for students of color and low-income students and highlights promising practices that many colleges are taking to advance success for students of all backgrounds.

More than ever before, today’s students need to be prepared to succeed in a diverse, global workforce. Diversity benefits communities, schools, and students from all backgrounds, and research has shown that more diverse organizations make better decisions with better results. CEOs, university presidents, the military, and other leaders have accordingly expressed a strong interest in increasing diversity to ensure our nation enjoys a culturally competent workforce that capitalizes on the diverse backgrounds, talents, and perspectives that have helped America succeed.

“I applaud the commitments to creating diverse campus communities that so many colleges and universities have long sought to implement by attracting, admitting, and educating diverse students. But we must acknowledge that we have more work left to ensure that our campuses are safe, inclusive, and supportive environments that encourage student success and college completion for students from all backgrounds,” Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. said.

In conjunction with this report, Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. released a Dear Colleague letter calling on institutions to do all they can to eliminate harassment and discrimination to ensure a positive environment for all students.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Higher education is a key pathway for social mobility in the United States.
  • However, over the past 50 years, racial and ethnic disparities in higher education enrollment and attainment, as well as gaps in earnings, employment, and other related outcomes, has increasingly contributed to gaps in opportunities for students of colors.
  • Underrepresented students of color are disproportionately affected by decreases in participation at multiple points across the higher education pipeline including at application, admission, enrollment, persistence, and completion.

The report also includes the following focus areas that can help campuses advance diversity and inclusion and provide support to students of color, low-income students, and other underrepresented populations to drive success for all students:

  • Institutional Commitment to Promoting Student Body Diversity and Inclusion on Campus. Research shows that colleges and universities seeking to promote campus diversity identify how diversity relates to their core institutional mission and unique circumstances of the educational institution.
  • Diversity Across All Levels of an Institution. Research shows that campus leadership, including ensuring a diverse faculty and administration, can play an important role in achieving a diverse and inclusive campus climate.
  • Outreach and Recruitment of Prospective Students. Institutions committed to a diverse student body can take steps to improve outreach and recruitment of a diverse array of students. However, over the past 50 years, racial and ethnic disparities in higher education enrolment and attainment, as well as gaps in earnings, employment, and other related outcomes has increasingly contributed to gaps in opportunities for students of color.
  • Support Structures for Students. Institutions can implement effective student support services associated with improved academic outcomes throughout the student’s college experience. For example, well-designed course placement strategies mitigate the time students spend in remedial education without making progress toward a credential. Individualized mentoring and coaching can increase the odds that students remain enrolled in school. First-year experience programs such as bridge programs can improve academic achievement and credit-earning.
  • Inclusive Campus Climate. Students report less discrimination and bias at institutions where they perceive a stronger institutional commitment to diversity. Institutions are encouraged to develop and facilitate programming to increase the cultural competency of leadership, faculty, staff, and students. Institutions are also encouraged to perform an assessment of their campus climate related to diversity in order to identify areas for improvement.

Finally, the report recommends areas for further study that can help shape a path toward college opportunity and completion for all students.

Inaugural Spanish-language report analyzes LGBTQ on primetime TV: GLAAD

GLAAD, the world’s LGBTQ media advocacy organization, has released its first-ever Spanish-Language media report, Nearly Invisible, an analysis of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) characters in primetime Spanish-language scripted television airing in the United States between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016.

The report found that only 14 of the 516 characters examined were LGBTQ (3%), and only seven of those characters appeared in more than half of episodes aired. Of those, only one character was transgender. Further, only four LGBTQ characters were given plotlines that allowed them to explore a range of emotions, experiences, and actions that centered on their own lives. This is particularly noticeable within the tradition of scripted narratives on Spanish-language television centered on heroic and villainous characters that audiences are expected to root for and hate as they strive to meet their goals.

“Nearly Invisible is a critical step in identifying the current climate for LGBTQ representation in Spanish-language programming,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO. “With our nation’s Spanish-speaking and immigrant communities under attack like never before, it’s more important than ever for the media to do its part to portray their lives and experiences – including those who are LGBTQ – authentically and honestly. GLAAD will continue to work with Spanish and English-language media to increase the number and quality of stories that accelerate acceptance.”

Ten out of the 14 LGBTQ characters were gay men, two were bisexual women, one was a lesbian, one was a straight transgender woman. Additionally, no trans men, bisexual men or LGBTQ persons with disabilities were portrayed. Stereotypical representations of sexual orientation (particularly of gay men and bisexual women) and lack of representation of diversity in gender identity can add to stigma which contributes to disparities.

“The majority of scripted programming on Spanish-language television in theUnited Statesdoes not appropriately represent the LGBTQ Latina experience,” said Monica Trasandes, Director of Spanish-Language Media at GLAAD. “Spanish language media content creators and executives have an opportunity to tell stories that connect with a rich, diverse and complex region and its diasporas by writing non-stereotypical characters and storylines that include people of various racial and ethnic ancestry, sexual orientations, gender identities, and disabilities. This report shows that Spanish-language media makers have not yet lived up to the promise of full inclusion but it is our hope they will soon. It’s good for business and it’s very good for our society.”

Of the 516 characters, only 15 (3%) were of African descent – with two of those 15 being gay men. Only one character (.19%) on all of primetime was of indigenous descent.

Nearly Invisible comes on the heels of GLAAD’s Where We Are on TV report, which analyzes the overall diversity of primetime scripted series regulars on broadcast networks and assesses the number of LGBTQ characters on cable networks and streaming services for the 2016-2017 TV season. GLAAD uses the data from these reports to create a clearer picture of the stories and portrayals of LGBTQ people being presented by the media and encourage networks and studios alike to include more diverse LGBTQ representations that accelerate acceptance. 

About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love.

Top 6 lessons on how to improve gender diversity in the workplace

1. Be transparent

“Be transparent about everything – how you got to where you are and tell them the stories which open up the system for everybody to be able to step forward and create a more inclusive culture.” ~Kathleen Bailey-Lord, Allianz Australia

2. Make diversity a priority

“As leaders we need to be seen to be making it a priority and leading by example. We also need to make changes ourselves, so on our management and operating committees consider what the percentage of women is.” ~Simon Rothery, Goldman Sachs Australia/NewZealand

3. Review promoting practices

“Every time I sit down to look at who is going to be promoted or to fill a particular appointment, I have an advisory committee which helps me do that.” ~ David Morrison, Australian Army

4. Lead from the top

“If the women in the organisation believe there is a critical mass of women in the leadership team, they’re five times more likely to advocate for the organisation. In the war for talent that is a very compelling message.” ~Kathryn Fagg , non-executive director

5. Look for women with potential

“Women subconsciously just don’t promote themselves for a range of reasons. So you need to focus on who those talented women are and make sure they don’t leak out of the pipeline.” ~Helen Silver, Allianz Australia

6. Communicate with the women in the business

“The more you listen and debate, the more you learn what the real problems are,” ~ Giam Swiegers, Deloitte Australia

Compass Canada

Much like the story of Mohammed and the mountain, Compass Canada found the best way to get the best people was not to wait for them to come to Compass but for Compass to go to them.

“It’s really understanding where you audience is,” says Brenda Brown, senior vice-president of human resources. “And working with that audience.”

The food and support services company may be headquartered in Mississauga,Ontario but it has approximately 30 joint ventures in the northern and western parts of Canada, where the majority of the population is Aboriginal.  So it was only natural that its recruitment efforts were directly towards them. The company even sets up its job fairs right on reserves.

“We encourage Aboriginals to join and stay with Compass because we’re operating in a geographical area where they’re living,” Brown explains. “It’s easier for people to be employed in the areas where they’re living.”

The strategy of partnering with organizations that operate on First Nations land such as Shell and DeBeers has paid off handsomely for both Compass and its employees.

“It makes sense. You might as well fish in the pond where you can get the best catch.” says Brown. “Here is the whole audience, this whole community of people what don’t have to move to come work for us.”

On the other hand, Compass didn’t have to move mountains to attract female employees. It simply decided to “emulate” its client base. And those clients were, by and large, women.

With this goal in mind, the company set out to not only recruit and retain women but to help them advance through the ranks, as well. A women’s leadership network, talent management and mentoring all pay a big role. The results have been impressive. Today 55% of its managers, directors and vice-presidents and one-third of its executives are women.

Describing its diversity strategy as a “roadmap,” Brown believes that, despite its 25,000 employees, 3000 national accounts and the recent hire of a diversity manager, Compass still has miles to go before it sleeps.

“We want to continue on the journey and take diversity to the next level. We want it to be seen as a strength within the organization,” Brown explains. “When you don’t have to have somebody driving diversity in your organization, you know it’s become the hearts and minds of everybody.”


Path Forward

Path Forward is a non-profit that connects companies with mid-career professionals who are hoping to return to work after more than two years off for caregiving duties. It’s referred to as a ‘returnship.’ The 20-week course helps mid-career professionals regain their bearings through work responsibilities, networking events and development sessions.

“[Path Forward] offers them a true ‘on-ramp’–a period of time where they can reacclimate to the work force and restart their professional life.” ~ Tami Forman, executive director, Path Forward

SHRM Launches Diversity Jobs Sites

Encouraging diversity and inclusion in the workplace starts at the top, which is why the largest HR association in the world — the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) — has announced the launch of three specialty websites within its online career center focused on creating an inclusive workforce and setting an example for other employers.

Built on the SHRM Enterprise Solutions platform with technology provided by DirectEmployers Association, the new SHRM careers sites are and

“We know the positive difference a diversity of perspectives makes in the workplace,” said Bettina Deynes, SHRM-SCP, RMSHRM’s vice president of human resources and diversity. “But one challenge faced by HR departments is designing and implementing recruiting vehicles for attracting well-qualified employees across a spectrum of diversity.

“With the launch of these sites, SHRM provides job seekers with direct access to open positions and reaches a broader audience of diverse job seekers, including individuals with disabilities and military veterans,” Deynes said.

For more information on SHRM Enterprise Solutions and the technology powering these sites,

About SHRM Enterprise Solutions

Developed through a partnership between the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Direct Employers Association, SHRM Enterprise Solutions was created to complement a company’s primary job board with targeted tools and messaging, making it simple for employers to embrace diversity by designing and implementing a customized, branded website with desired corporate messaging important for both attracting and retaining veterans, individuals with disabilities and minority candidates. For more information on the diversity solutions, visit

About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR professional society, representing 285,000 members in more than 165 countries. For nearly seven decades, the Society has been the leading provider of resources serving the needs of HR professionals and advancing the practice of human resource management. SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and United Arab Emirates. Go to