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Diversity in 2014

On this month’s HRM Online TV, Bev Cassidy-Mackenzie, CEO of Equal Employment Opportunities Trust explains the importance of diversity in the workplace and how to address it.

Video transcript below:

Reporter:  Diversity in the workplace is not just another buzz phrase that businesses need to throw around.  Equal Employment Opportunities, CEO, Bev Cassidy-Mackenzie talks about what businesses need to take into account when it comes to diversity in 2014.  

Bev Cassidy-Mackenzie, CEO, Equal Employment Opportunities
Bev Cassidy-Mackenzie:  
Look in Auckland alone we have got 186 different ethnicities and businesses do need to be considering how they are going to take into account this very rich talent pool.  So some of the ways that they can do that is by looking at their recruitment campaigns and recruitment strategies.  The way that they need to be really seriously considering that, during their recruitment process really looking at unconscious bias and conscious bias.  For some of those businesses at the moment, for example, would be looking at some of the CVs coming across their desks and discarding any of the candidates they don’t have an English speaking or New Zealand looking name, which is a real shame.  So they need to be very smart about the way that their policies, their employment and recruitment policies look at the moment.  It’s the only way they are going to be able to access that really rich talent pool.  And aging workers, youths and migrants are going to be a really key target for employers, whether we like it or not.  The reality is that a lot of businesses in New Zealand at the moment are using our aging work force to mentor the younger staff that are coming through.  It’s proving to be a really positive step for them.

Reporter:  With these key issues in mind, is it important for businesses to plan for and address how they can best prepare for a diverse work force.
Bev Cassidy-Mackenzie:  Quite frankly, if businesses don’t address diversity in the workplace beyond gender, they are going to be set on being uncompetitive [which is some  plus theirs], we work and live in a competitive marketplace and if they don’t embrace diversity, they are not going to be competitive. 

Reporter:  The question now is how can HR professionals encourage a more proactive stance towards diversity within their own workplace?

Bev Cassidy-Mackenzie:  HR professionals can be change champions within business.  They can be the ones to educate and make change happen, particularly around diversity.  They can challenge the status quo within a business, which is really important.  They have the ability to focus on facts, figures, information that really matters and to move away from theory which is not to say it’s not important, but it’s less important [towards sex] and people that are the decision makers within a business.

Reporter:  You won’t be left in the dark on your diversity journey, the EEO offers a range of support for businesses.  

Bev Cassidy-Mackenzie:  Some of the additional questions that members and businesses ask us, are certainly around what are the services can I get to support the diversity journey.  And some of those are certainly around the reference services that the EEO Trust can offer them.  They are free services that are available to any business.  The access to a diversity library, physical books, publications that they can take out, an enquiry desk, where they can ring up and ask for advice, access to tools and resources which they can download off our website and sometimes it’s reading or watching video case studies of businesses and how they have executed and implemented diversity initiative whether it’s well being, a disability initiative or a workplace, work and life balance story.