How CIOs build diverse work teams
in the office of Cisco's technical support team in Sydney, each desk is covered with a national flag. These flags are not used as decorations, but represent the ethnic background and language of the employees sitting behind the table. When Cisco customers call and want to communicate with technical support personnel in a specific language, such as Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish or Indonesian, they can be quickly transferred to people with appropriate language background according to the meaning of these flags
"we are like the United Nations here," Karen mcfadzen said with a smile. She is the vice president in charge of technical services in the Asia Pacific region of this network communication technology and service provider. About 75% of the staff she leads - that is, about 200 people - come from non European and American countries, and more than half of them can speak at least two languages. Mcfadzen was born in Australia and her mother was from Taiwan. She is also the only exception: she is of Asian descent but does not speak any language other than English
Cisco knows that it must operate in a diversified context. The company has launched a series of projects to integrate employees of different ages, genders and ethnic backgrounds. Diversity and inclusiveness are one of the key performance indicators (KPIs) that assess mcfadzen and all her supervisors. She will mention these two points at her monthly meeting. She also spoke about diversity in schools in her community. "I don't think Cisco will be able to attract the best talents if we don't pay attention to the diversity of culture, gender and age," mcfadzen said. "Our customers are more diverse. When you have a diverse background, you can get new ideas."
in recent years, although the issue of workplace diversification has become a hot topic to discuss the overall improvement of the industrial ecological chain, there are still too many empty talks. The top managers of Australian companies are still mainly "white people". But diversification is increasingly becoming the top priority for executives, partly because of the shortage of highly skilled talent
if Cisco has built a diversified and efficient team, many companies are still making efforts in this regard. Although the above is a business case, its significance is not simple. It proves that diversity can stimulate the creativity of the team, attract the best talents in the global high skilled labor market, and better win the satisfaction of customers - so promoting diversity is obviously a wise approach
although many large Australian companies still focus on promoting gender diversity, and this work has been somewhat slow, some of them go further and are encouraging differences in culture, age, sexual orientation and even personality. Nareen young, director of the Australian diversity Council, said the essence of the problem in one sentence: "diversity can make everyone feel comfortable at work, so as to give full play to their maximum potential."
factors affecting diversity
the lack of adaptability of managers to diversity is still the biggest obstacle to the establishment of a diversified work environment. To a large extent, this problem has not attracted people's attention. Here is an example of a good female business analyst. She is 30 years old, with skilled system integration skills and an accounting degree. But she was a Muslim born in Australia with a veil on her face. She quit her job in march2006 because she wanted to get an MBA and have a child. When she later tried to find a new job, it took her seven months
in a very large multinational company, she has experienced two rounds of interviews and performed very well. It is almost time to talk about salary. But when she went to interview her supervisor and did a psychological orientation test, things changed dramatically. "When he saw me, his jaw looked so surprised that he could hardly speak," she said. The supervisor then disappeared and left her alone in the lounge for half an hour. She passed the psychological orientation test, but did not receive any reply from the supervisor within the next two months. Then she received a brief email saying that she did not have the necessary skills
in an interview with another company, the person in charge of the interview worried that she could not spare enough time to take care of her children. "He said to me, 'this will be a very challenging job. How can you work with your children for such a long time?'" she pointed out to the supervisor that she and her husband already had an eight year old child, and the child had no impact on her previous work at Xerox and Reckitt Benckiser
"from the perspective of diversity, the inclusion of multiculturalism must be pushed down from the top of the company, so that it can be implemented in the whole management," said the business analyst, who has now become a manager of a large Australian company. "There is a written regulation that does not work. In some companies that interviewed me, these Regulations are just empty talk."
in order not to let diversity efforts become empty talk, ANZ bank has set goals for gender diversity in the past two years. Shane Freeman is the general manager of the group and is also responsible for the creation of talent capital. He acknowledged that the company's policies had been controversial, especially among female employees. He pointed out that gender was a major indicator of diversity. "We used to set goals for things other than diversity, but ignoring these goals could create tension among employees," Freeman said
the company has also adopted a policy that allows employees over 55 to continue working part-time. Freeman said the move sends a message to those who are about to retire that "you don't need to leave us.". The next step will be to focus on the diversity of sexual orientation. "We are still in the exploratory stage and are changing this issue from not being able to discuss to being able to discuss it," he said
the National Bank of Australia (NAB) has adopted a similar diversification approach. Michael ullmer, acting CEO of NAB, said that the company has formulated corresponding policies in minimizing data differences: "I think the difficulty we encounter, like most organizations, is how to implement the policies. We need to break the restrictions of the policies and let them really play a role, which is a new challenge for our company." He said that first of all, it is necessary to demonstrate that the adoption of diversified policies - such as flexible working hours - will not bring harm to his career by the exemplary role of the senior management manipulator in the plastic production workshop. (as part of NAB's efforts, ullmer arrives at the company every Tuesday morning after having a leisurely breakfast with his wife, and attends ball lessons every week.)
ullmer has included the effectiveness of diversification projects as a key performance indicator in its work report this year. For example, David krasnostein, the chief legal adviser of NAB, also held a monthly luncheon to invite employees of different races to participate, thus enhancing cultural integration
however, due to the consideration of "political correctness" of race issues, it sometimes brings some surprising lessons and challenges. In Deloitte global (DTT), Giam swiegers, the CEO, is a South African who speaks Dutch. Last year, he asked DTT's partners in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to select talents from candidates with "atypical Australian backgrounds". He also organized ten such seminars. However, these seminars encountered problems later, which made people from different cultural backgrounds feel excluded. These problems include: managers think it is impolite to ask about other people's cultural background; Social activities put too much emphasis on drinking and sports; People from different cultural backgrounds are even considered too quiet
while strengthening quality supervision, "we were so naive in this matter that we forgot to consider cultural differences," swiegers said when talking about their thinking that it was impolite to ask about other people's cultural background. At present, Deloitte will hold celebrations in the office on important festivals in overseas countries. The company also encourages the holding of staff dinners or banquets, where everyone can bring their own national dishes
the next step for the company is to make managers aware of the contributions of those employees who are "too quiet", and not equate personal talent with a personality that likes entertainment or extroversion
the key to promoting diversity is to make front-line managers understand the value of different personalities and perspectives, said Meena thuraisingham, a consultant who is the head of talentinvest. "Managers who lack this experience often find it difficult to deal with conflicts arising from a diverse team," she said. "The problem is how to accept different views with a more open mind." She set up a seminar to let some actors play people who were excluded because they were different, and told the members of the seminar about their feelings. Then the members of the seminar will help them solve the exclusion and learn how to deal with the problem of diversity
more than 120 senior executives from HSBC Australia are currently participating in this seminar. Stuart Davis, CEO of the bank, said that this is to make team leaders more inclusive of diversity, so as to better motivate team members and improve team performance. More than 120 people from JLL also attended the seminar at the beginning of this year
"tolerance is not only about gender, race or religious belief," said Bernard poliquin, managing director of JLL in New South Wales. "It is a way of thinking and an attitude that allows others to express their views." Poliquin, a French speaking Canadian himself, said many people found the seminar very challenging
many executives have done things in a specific way and have been promoted over the past two decades. It is really difficult for them to accept diversity. "It really takes courage to ask them to step out of their comfort zone," poliquin said. However, he still believes that there is a close relationship between the company's performance, employee care and diversity and inclusiveness. "In fact, the reason why we value diversity and inclusiveness is to improve the company's performance - we don't do it deliberately, nor do we want to make a good impression on the outside world."
let's take another look at Cisco's "United Nations". The company's female executives often give speeches in universities and high schools, and it has also provided a scholarship to a female student studying engineering technology. Last year, 33% of the fresh graduates who joined Cisco were women, a higher proportion than in previous years. Cisco also requires that a certain percentage of female candidates be included in the recruitment of positions at any level. "This is where diversity really starts to grow," mcfadzen said
mcfadzen's biggest challenge is age diversity. In her team, more than 60% are "generation X" and 20% are baby boomers; Less than 20% are Gen Y, and mcfadzen hopes