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Diversity in hiring works – and is important

By - Last modified: June 1, 2012 at 10:34 AM

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Businesses that hire individuals based exclusively on their qualifications are constantly outperforming businesses that discriminate.

So if you want to increase your profits, begin by hiring the most-qualified individuals regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation or age.

At one time, jobs were divided into “men’s jobs” and “women’s jobs.” If you are concerned about maximizing profits, that should no longer be the case. In certain jobs previously thought of as “men’s jobs” — for example, bartender, real estate agent, mail delivery person — you are just as likely today to have a woman serving as a man. And your nurse or your child’s teacher can be a male.

Doctors, lawyers, architects, accountants, law enforcement officials and political leaders are being selected for their abilities rather than for any other reason.

It is simply embarrassing to even think of racism, sexism or homophobia today. Who would choose to ban African-Americans from professional sports? Why would you not hire female jockeys when in many cases they outperform male jockeys?

Yet in some situations, discrimination is still blatant. Professional basketball referees are often female. However, there are no female umpires in professional baseball. Is there anyone who believes that no woman is qualified to be an umpire in a Major League Baseball game?

Our Founding Fathers felt so strongly that an individual’s religion should not be a factor in considering that individual for public office that they included a ban on religious discrimination in the Constitution.

Let’s stop discrimination in other areas, as well. How many studies do you have to read that determine hiring disabled workers improves your profitability before you begin to hire disabled workers?

If you have potential bilingual customers, your sales will improve if you have bilingual salespeople.

If you are a business firm and your employees

are all Caucasian, review your interviewing practices. Developing and implementing an affirmative action plan is good business.

One major indicator of the importance of diversity in the business world is the strong commitment of business organizations such as the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and the Capitol Regional Economic Development Corp. (CREDC) to diversity.

Contact Amma Johnson at ajohnson@hbgrc.org. She is vice president of chamber operations for the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and CREDC and can advise on diversity issues. The chamber has a Business Diversity Advisory Council whose members serve as a resource to the chamber and the regional business community. Council members are a cross section of nonprofit leaders and corporations with a passion for helping the region to be more inclusive.

There also are many diverse organizations, including the Hispanic Chamber of Central PA, the African American Chamber of Central PA and the Central PA Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, all of which exist to help regional businesses connect with the community.

While, of course, hiring individuals based on qualifications is good for society in general, a ton of research shows it is good for increasing profits as well.

Michael A. Sand heads Sand Associates, a Harrisburg-based comprehensive management consulting firm. Contact him at MSand9999@aol.com.

Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@cpbj.com

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