Kellie Teal-Guess, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer at CyrusOne, shares how you can promote diversity from the perspective of a Fortune Best Workplace for Diversity Recipient.
Encouraging diversity in the workplace isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s also good business. According to McKinsey’s 2017 Delivering Through Diversity report, companies that have employees with diverse skillsets and backgrounds proved to have more engaged workforces and reaped financial returns above the national median for their industry.
At CyrusOne, we put diversity front and center when developing our culture. While there is always room for improvement, our efforts were recently recognised by Fortune’s Best Workplace for Diversity list. Here are a few best practices we’ve implemented that could help other companies when making the important effort to break down barriers and change their workplace culture for the better.
#1 Hire the best people
I’ve found that for many companies, diversity means filling a quota for the number of women and minorities in the workforce. At CyrusOne, we don’t think of diversity as just being inclusive of differences in ethnicity, gender or age. What is more important to us is diversity of thought. Bringing in employees with different backgrounds and unique skillsets allows us to be increasingly innovative and more progressive in our approach to business challenges.
While we don’t have diversity-focused hiring quotas, we strive to hire the best and brightest people for our organisation by casting a wide net during the hiring process. This allows us to review candidates from diverse backgrounds who will shape our organisation.
Bringing in employees with different backgrounds and unique skillsets allows us to be increasingly innovative and more progressive in our approach to business challenges.
#2 Lead from the top
Diversity starts with our leadership team at CyrusOne. The C-suite sets the example by embracing differences and driving collaboration. The team does this by proactively engaging with employees on topics of diversity, attending internal events and regularly communicating to teams the importance of diversity within the company culture.
#3 Create opportunities
While hiring diverse employees is essential, it is also important to create opportunities for employees to rise through the ranks. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, 62% of African Americans, 44% of Asians and 42% of Hispanics working STEM jobs felt they were treated unfairly when considered for promotions and 50% of women reported being discriminated against due to gender.
At CyrusOne, we acknowledge that diverse individuals are statistically less likely to be considered for leadership and advancement opportunities and work to combat this by promoting internally first, training and developing our team while creating clear, measurable objectives for roles and encourage anyone qualified to apply.
#4 Celebrate individuals
Celebrating diversity in the workplace is one of our most important accomplishments at CyrusOne. We schedule regular activities to help people get to know each other and encourage open communication. We are headquartered in Dallas, and we host lunch and learns where employees share personal stories and celebrate important holidays like Cinco De Mayo, that reflect Dallas’ strong ties to the Hispanic community. Our employees know we are invested in them personally and that they are not just a warm body.
We are intentional about regularly sitting down with each employee to get feedback on how we can improve as an organisation. Listening to our employees helps drive continuous improvement of our company and our diversity efforts.
#5 Listen to, respect and engage employees
We measure the success of diversity at CyrusOne through a variety of avenues, including reviewing the engagement of employees who participate in diversity initiatives and analysing the make-up of our overall workforce. We also measure success by listening to our employees and engaging them on critical strategic initiatives. We are intentional about regularly sitting down with each employee to get feedback on how we can improve as an organisation. Listening to our employees helps drive continuous improvement of our company and our diversity efforts.
Diversity in the workplace takes continuous attention, effort and commitment. Embracing diversity not only improves business outcomes, but also leads to a more engaged and open workplace where everyone learns from others’ ideas and stories. For CyrusOne, we believe that everyone we hire has a role to play at our company. Everyone is important to our success. Our diversity makes us who we are as a company and we’re proud that it’s our way of life, not an initiative.
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