Knowing the value of hearing from other HR professionals, I try to go to an event every few weeks. Gathering with them should help fill in any gaps and ideally keep one abreast of changes one needs to enhance the plan for 2016. This past year I went to several HR panels on law. Some addressed local and national changes while some were just aimed at keeping one abreast of staying on top of their game. Beyond that, we delved into some great courses in social media sourcing, diversity training and both internal and external recruiter training as well. Several of my peers criticized me for spending so much time learning what the “other side” was doing, but I felt it was long ignored and it only makes you a better person to see what your customers are engaging in and become part of that process.
Many small businesses have a sense of assurance that they need someone just like them to fit into their culture which many times includes a certain education in their background. They wonder why they aren’t getting it right and how someone who doesn’t think like them could even appreciate them. For example, I have a friend from Europe who is doing well three months into a new company as a manager. As he is foreign to them, they are also trying to understand him. They are amazed at how many insights into their business he has… as a foreigner.
Another friend is a software designer in a specialized niche. Most of the people in the group come from or have worked with people of similar backgrounds. My friend is from Africa, a little different than their background by a few thousand miles. They feel he is an anomaly. He feels most of his school friends didn’t have computers growing up and if they did, they would be in the minority!
My friends, it’s about understanding that people can come from very diverse backgrounds and although you don’t relate to them at first– test them on what you need them to know and if they are good communicators and pass your fair test, bring them aboard.Times are changing and diversity is going to get more and more popular. Be open. Try to understand. Educate yourselves and others. Education is not just in the books, it’s with the understanding of people based on what you learn.
Now is the time. If not now, when?