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Archive for the ‘Employment Careers Recruitment’ Category

How to Help Cultural Minorities Advance

Posted by Nara Venditti on August 11, 2010

Question:  Why is it important to promote multicultural employees?

 Answer: One big reason—shifting demographics. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, minorities—which made up roughly one-third of the U.S. population in 2008—are expected to become the majority in 2042. Moreover, by 2030, nearly one-in-five U.S. residents is expected to be 65 or older.

 As the demographic makeup of the U.S. population continues to shift, organizations will need to tailor their recruitment, retention, promotion and succession planning practices to meet the needs of the available workforce in order to maintain their competitiveness in the future.

 Yet it is not solely up to employers—employees and employers have a stake in the success of multicultural employees.

 Multicultural employees who are interested in advancing their careers should seek the answers to questions such as: What are my shortfalls? Why haven’t I been promoted? Why isn’t my voice heard and what can I do to change this? If an employee is not willing to put in hard work, he or she is not good material for transformation and growth.

 Yet, it is important to realize that it is more effective to influence people if you act within the confines of their culture. As author Stephen Covey said, “Seek first to understand and then be understood.” If organizations fail to build awareness of cultural and language differences and do nothing to encourage managers to be inclusive, little progress will be made.

 Therefore, to prepare high-potential minorities for management and leadership roles, organizations should:

      *Seek opportunities to talk about the organization and its industry with students at local high schools. Interested employees can volunteer to teach students about self-marketing, building a personal brand, interpersonal skills and networking.

     *Tailor orientation programs for diverse new hires. Set expectations by explaining that participation in company-sponsored training does not guarantee a promotion. Invite career development experts who have knowledge of the multicultural workforce as well as other diverse executives to share their experiences for inspiration and motivational purposes.

     *Create career management courses that are tailored to the cultural and linguistic needs of culturally diverse employees, including individual coaching sessions, if necessary. Pay special attention to soft skills as well as cultural and behavioral differences, make sure that career development activities are mandatory, and note progress toward career goals during performance reviews.

     *Provide opportunities for outside training and education including books and other self-study resources.

  • Encourage employees to tap into experienced executives as mentors and sponsors. Emphasize the importance of networking to find people who have a personal stake in an individual’s success. Provide opportunities to build relationships. 
  • Encourage participation in company volunteer projects and membership and involvement in organizations relevant to their industry, profession and career development needs.
  • Provide frequent feedback to culturally diverse employees rather than waiting for an annual or semiannual review.

 As the economy and the job market improve, organizations will seek, and rely on, increasing numbers of talented minorities. HR’s role will continue to evolve as a strategic partner in helping companies to recruit, retain and promote high-potential multicultural employees.

 Author Nara Venditti, Ph.D., is the founder www./succeedinamerica.com   a Conn.-based cross-cultural consulting firm specializing in multicultural and foreign-born employee development and cultural competence. She can be reached at (203)791-1107 or nara@SucceedinAmerica.com.

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Posted in Employment Careers Recruitment | Leave a Comment »

Behavioral vs Skill Tests

Posted by Nara Venditti on February 1, 2010

Recruiters need to keep in mind that behavioral interviews may be misleading when dealing with multicultural candidates, especially those who interview for certain categories of jobs in entry level or technical positions.

In the US, much emphasis is placed on performance during behavioral interview phase of hiring process. When determining who is the best candidate for the position, sometimes in the US we are getting too carried away with the significance of the results of the behavioral interview.

However, behavioral interviews are pretty much prepared answers, and they very often indicate candidates’ ability to self-promote rather than do the  job.

Describing past experiences and accomplishments may be very challenging for the candidates from high context cultures (e.g. Asia, Latin America).  Self-promotion is not appreciated in many parts of the world.  When we look for the best candidates regardless of his or hers background we need to keep that in mind.

In my opinion, skill tests are much more objective particularly when we are dealing with foreign-born candidates.

Note: link to YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rX8P-HySDe8

Posted in Cultural Differences, Employment Careers Recruitment, Recruiting Foreign Workers | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »