Diversity at home and in the workplace

For years, Holocaust survivor Betty Gold has traveled around the country telling her story about the horrific events she witnessed as a child. Typically her audiences are composed of school children, youth groups and other younger members of society, but earlier this week The InfoCision Diversity Council gave our employees the opportunity to hear Betty’s amazing story.

Along with other members of InfoCision’s diversity council and employees throughout the company, I personally heard Betty speak about the importance of diversity tolerance as she told her life-story as a person of Jewish heritage growing up in the Ukraine during the Nazi invasions of the 1940’s. I must say hearing her story was truly amazing. To hear the tragic events she witnessed and what she had to do to survive was not only astonishing, but inspiring as well.

Our diversity council is made up of employees who lead, monitor and advocate the strategic diversity management process within InfoCision. This group and its members help our company encourage proactive diversity initiatives and empower others to inspire change throughout the company by making events like our time with Betty possible.

My personal experience

Hearing Betty speak really made me think about how important diversity tolerance is in our lives. This idea of diversity is one that is personally very near and dear to my heart. For those of you who do not know, my wife and I have two daughters that we adopted from China.

When I think about diversity, I cannot help but think about my own family where we have many races represented through adoption in our sibling families…African American, Asian, Caucasian…all different races blended together! These differences have never mattered to us, rather we celebrate them! The bottom line is that we accept and – above all else – love each other.

I think this concept is extremely important in the workplace as well. Here at InfoCision we are one big family with the same overall goal: to be successful for our clients. For that to happen, we all have to work with and respect each other to the fullest extent. Part of being able to do this is having an understanding of the unique backgrounds and the many different experiences we have all encountered.  We have a very diverse team here at InfoCision, and by working together and embracing the things that make us truly individuals, we have and will continue to achieve great things.

The True Importance of Work Place Diversity in Direct Marketing

There is no doubt that diversity in the workplace benefits everyone from employees to clients, and the challenge is to continue to embrace that culture; here at InfoCision, we have done, and continue to do, just that. I was able to sit down with our director of human resources, Carla Grasso and had a conversation all about how we celebrate diversity here at InfoCision and the difference it makes in our call centers.

Direct Marketing Diversity Programs

Diversity programs are about creating and maintaining an inclusive environment no matter what an employee brings to the table. When you embrace everyone’s strengths, the organization as a whole is more productive; and it also helps managers to better lead their teams because they have a better grasp on whom their employees are and where they come from.

Diversity programs must be undertaken slowly to ensure they are done the right way, because they must include everyone regardless of ethnicity, religious beliefs, political views, etc.  In addition, changes that are made in the workplace too rapidly without proper planning run the risk of being resisted by employees.

For the program to be successful, it must fit in with the company’s current corporate culture, not attempt to change it. So starting slowly is key to getting employees to buy in to the program.

How to Get Started

Starting diversity programs may seem like a daunting task for companies that don’t have an expert in the subject matter, and especially for smaller companies without a great deal of resources.

For employers that want to start a diversity initiative but don’t have a lot of time or resources to invest, here are some easy and low-cost tips:

  1. Spotlighting diverse employees in a company newsletter or calendar
  2. Offer brown-bag lunch lectures on a diversity topic – many groups will speak for free
  3. Create affinity groups to support a specific segment of the workforce (such as women, Asian-Americans, workers with Military experience, etc.)
  4. Have a potluck where workers bring in foods and recipes from their ethnic heritage
  5. Announce local events that support diversity on your bulletin board or intranet

There are even community resources available to help companies of all sizes that want to harness the power of embracing diversity.

Diversify Your Call Centers

By expanding your pool of applicants to include everyone, regardless of sex, ethnicity, religious views or anything else, you are giving your organization an advantage over the competition, because they might not be finding the same quality of applicants.

And beyond employee and productivity issues, embracing diversity can have other benefits for your company. InfoCision has several clients that are embracing diversity, and appreciate the fact that we have chosen to do so as well.

How do you feel about diversity in the work place? Any tips to getting started I missed? Get the conversation started below!

Carla Grasso is director of human resources at InfoCision Management Corporation. Reach her at carla.grasso@infocision.com.