Human Capital Management Blog

Strategies for HCM Professionals

A diverse & inclusive company culture is not just an HR initiative. It’s a business growth plan.

By: Lisa Bull and Maurice Fernandes

The business case is simple. Diverse and inclusive organizations have more highly engaged employees, demonstrate greater innovation, and, not surprisingly, have greater financial success. In fact, according to a recent McKinsey report there is a “linear relationship between racial and ethnic diversity and financial performance.”

One would expect then, that with such clear cut data, most organizations would have made diversity and inclusion a priority. Unfortunately, this is not yet the case. Despite the good efforts of many companies to create change through policy, practice, and training, a lack of diversities is still prevalent in many organizations. In an article in the latest issue of Harvard Business Review (July-August 2016), authors Frank Dobbing and Alexandra Kalev write that “most diversity programs aren’t increasing diversity.” The article argues that while companies are investing in initiatives, they are essentially using the same approaches that they’ve used since the 1960s. These approaches simply aren’t moving the needle on diversity (and, according to Dobbin and Kavel, are in some cases making matters worse).

What can you do that will move the needle at your organization? Start attracting and retaining a diverse workforce with these 4 tips:

Have a clear definition of diversity and inclusion

In a recent ‘research roundup’ called “We Just Can’t Handle Diversity”, Lisa Burrell suggests that one of the keys to success with diversity initiatives is a clear definition. She cites a study conducted by Deloitte in which millennials define diversity and inclusion as “valuing open participation by employees with different perspectives and personalities.” Older workers, however focus on “equitable representation and assimilation of people from different demographic groups.”

At Ceridian we recently launched YOUnity, our new diversity and inclusion initiative. We’ve chosen to define diversity as respect for and appreciation of difference in identity – gender, ethnicity, age, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, education, and other dimensions. Inclusion is a state of being valued, respected, and involved whether or not your opinions and ideas are different from others, perhaps the majority. It ensures a condition where each person has the opportunity to achieve their full potential and offer their ideas without fear of being excluded.


Here’s what doesn’t work with Diversity training. Stay clear of:

  • Very brief training sessions in response to a crisis situation
  • Training framed as remediation or focusing on ‘scare tactics’
  • Compulsory/mandatory training programs

Dobbin and Kalev offer what DOES work in voluntary training. They suggest that whether or not an employee participates in a diversity and inclusion training should be optional. When employees choose to participate for themselves, their resistance to the teaching is reduced and the long term impact within organizations is greater. One of the biggest trends in the area of diversity training is in the area of ‘Unconscious Bias’,  with organizations like Google and Facebook championing this work. Consider offering this type of training to the entire organization, with focus on managers and recruiters especially.

Review your talent acquisition strategy through a diversity and inclusion lens

There have been some very powerful research studies which have looked at how resumes are reviewed and candidates chosen. In a study conducted by MIT in 2005 researchers sent out equivalent resumes (same backgrounds, schools, etc.) but they changed the names on the resumes. For some, they sent out resumes using prototypical European names (Brendan, Emily, Greg and Ann). They found that resumes with those names got callbacks for 1 out of every 10 resumes they sent. They then sent out resumes using prototypical African American names (Tamika, Aisha, Rasheed and Tyrone). For those resumes, they got 1 call back on every 15 resumes (meaning that they had to send out 5 more to get the same callback). One way to remove this kind of bias in the recruiting process is to simply remove names from candidate’s resumes. Another effective strategy to address bias in the recruiting process is the use of structured interviews, versus unstructured, “going with your gut” approaches. In a recent interview, Iris Bohnet, the author of ‘What Works’ suggests that by ensuring that every applicant ‘gets the same questions, in the same order and scoring those answers in real time’ we can remove bias from the interview process.

Start business networking groups

Business networking or ‘affinity’ groups have been part of corporate culture for some time so recently the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), a leading national Hispanic civil- rights organization, partnered with Sodexo Inc. to explore affinity groups’ membership, purpose, and outcomes across corporate America. Specifically, they wanted to understand the impact these groups are having on Latino professionals. They found that while every group they surveyed (close to 50 overall) was different, the ones which had the most impact on the advancement of Latino professionals were the ones which focused on business goals and talent pools. At Ceridian one of our business networking groups is called the Ceridian Women’s Network. We host events where the focus is on supporting the professional development and growth of Ceridian’s female employees, connecting and inspiring women across Ceridian’s global organization and in our communities, and providing a forum for peer support for all employees. Check out the hashtag on twitter to learn more: #CeridianWomensNetwork

Is your organization doing something innovative in the area of diversity? We’d love to hear from you and are always interested in opportunities to share our experiences and ‘lessons learned’.

This blog was written in partnership by Lisa Bull and Maurice Fernandes, as strong believers that companies grow by being inclusive we are proud to be on YOUnity (Ceridian’s diversity and inclusion initiative) steering committee.

Lisa Bull 2Lisa Bull is Vice President, Employee and Leadership Learning at Ceridian. As an experienced corporate training specialist Lisa has delivered training to hundreds of clients across Canada and has designed and developed customized training programs for a wide variety of corporate, government and not-for-profit organizations. Lisa currently leads Ceridian’s North American Employee and Leadership Learning Team and oversees all Leadership Training Programs and the Talent Excellence Program. In addition to the development and design of these Programs, Lisa shares responsibility for Ceridian’s On-Boarding Program and mentorship initiatives. As a manager, Lisa has worked in broadcast communications, organizational safety and Employee Assistance Programs. Lisa has a Diploma in Broadcast Communications, a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Masters of Education in Educational Psychology. Follow Lisa on Twitter @LisaBull1.

Maurice Fernandes headshot Maurice Fernandes is the Manager of Employment Brand & Social Media at Ceridian and is responsible for curating and promoting Ceridian’s employment brand across various social media channels, events, and campus recruitment activities across North America. Maurice is passionate about building best in class talent attraction strategies, HR technologies, recruitment marketing, employment branding, and social media. Maurice has had the privilege of speaking about recruitment topics at numerous conferences, and through media outlets such as the Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, the Canadian HR Report, and Post Media. You can follow or connect with Maurice on Twitter @MoeRecruits.



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