Inspiring Leadership with Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Competence

Posts tagged ‘diversity management’

How Does Your Organization Respond to Trends: Proactive or Reactive?

By Leah Smiley

Analyzing diversity and inclusion trends should be a key component of your organization’s growth and development. Trends consider data, such as demographic projections, buying patterns, attendance rates, utilization reports, and other statistics in the past, present and future. As with all things in the diversity and inclusion space, it helps to understand trends better from a financial perspective.

Investopedia defines a trend as “the general direction of a market or of the price of an asset. Trends can vary in length from short, to intermediate, to long term. As a general strategy, it is best to trade with trends, meaning that if the general trend of the market is headed up, you should be very cautious about taking any positions that rely on the trend going in the opposite direction.”

Most of you know that the Society for Diversity defines diversity as an asset. An asset can be characterized as a resource that brings value to an organization. These “assets” can be your employees, students, constituents, citizens, senior executives, customers, board members, volunteers, grantmakers, shareholders, investors, or other forms of human capital. The assets just happen to have unique dimensions such as varying ages, races, genders, economic statuses, geographic locations, educational levels, backgrounds, employment histories, family statuses, interests, preferences, and other distinctions. Assets are not uni-dimensional (i.e., defined by race or gender alone); there are an infinite number of ways in which assets can be different.

Viewing diversity as an asset means that each individual is valuable– whether white, black, purple or green. The more assets that an organization attracts and retains, the greater its ability to grow, innovate, compete, and experience additional benefits.

Fortune ranked 14 tech companies from most diverse to least, assigning points based on how these companies ranked in five categories: overall gender diversity, overall ethnic diversity, gender diversity of the leadership team, ethnic diversity of the leadership team, and gender diversity among technical workers. Fortune found that the top 3 businesses were:  LinkedIn, Apple and eBay (in that order). It’s no surprise that:

  • Of the social networking companies, LinkedIn’s stock is trading around $230 per share (according to the New York Stock Exchange – NYSE at 9:00am today)
  • Apple is projected to be the first trillion dollar company (according to Forbes)
  • eBay is experiencing such phenomenal growth that when it acquired PayPal 12 years ago, PayPal only contributed to 8% of eBay’s revenue. Fast forward to 2014– now PayPal contributes to nearly 50% of eBay’s revenue, with an estimated $40 billion valuation (according to Bidness ETC)

The point that I’m making is that the ability to tap various market segments around the world is directly tied to a team’s strength in identifying, cultivating, and engaging more assets than your competitors. Keep in mind, that globalization makes all of this growth and development possible, and the effect of globalization locally is diversity. Therefore, diversity and inclusion is not a trend– it is a concept to help you do business better in accordance with the trends of increased competition, high-touch customer expectations, and continual product evolution.

From this perspective, you can look at diversity and inclusion as a vehicle to analyze your organization’s path and compare it to the overall direction of the market.  In keeping with that, there are several things that we should be aware of:

1.  Diversity must play a huge role in your global strategy for growth, innovation, cost savings, and talent management.

Bruce Levenson, managing partner of the Atlanta Hawks, was not wrong in his e-mails about diversity and its impact on season ticket sales. After all, he did increase revenue after those “inappropriate and offensive” messages. In my opinion, he went wrong when he viewed the potential for growth from a limited perspective. While it is true that the environment, music and activities must appeal to an audience broader than “black” folks, White people are not the only individuals who can purchase season tickets. This brings me to point #2.

2.  Stop relegating diversity to a discussion about “black and white”.

Smart organizations are finding ways to leverage different nationalities, generations, genders, sexual orientations, religions, economic statuses, geographic locations, and more, in their efforts to drive stronger business results.

To change the context of the conversation, use non-traditional examples of diversity. Not only is it less “inappropriate and offensive” but it may help to get the point across better.

3.  Diversity leadership requires an approach that is consistent with the times.

Currently, organizations around the globe believe that including women is a game changer.

For example, France has a gender quota requirement for its large corporate boards. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan recently unveiled a reshuffled cabinet that includes five women– an apparent nod toward his promises to revive Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, by more fully unleashing the potential of its huge pool of highly educated women. And according to CNN, the Center for American Progress and the Center for Economic and Policy Research recently released a report, which was partially funded by the Department of Labor, finding that if women worked at 1979 levels, the U.S. economy would have lost over $1.7 trillion in economic output in 2012. That amount – $1.7 trillion dollars – is roughly the GDP of Canada.

When you take advantage of the times, you can seize more opportunities. But before you leap, see point #4.

4.  Never forget that diversity is a fast moving target. If you are going to compete effectively in this arena, you must be proactive.

For an example of ‘reactive’, go back and read what happened in Ferguson, Missouri.

An example of a fast-moving target is the LGBT community. Look at what has happened over the last few years with public opinions, gay marriage, and equal taxation in the U.S. alone.

Here’s the issue with diversity: it is a slow-moving beast. It may seem like things happen quickly, but the breaking point or the break-through took a lot of time, and even more effort.

Proactive, by definition, means that a person, policy or action “creates or controls a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.”

Therefore, the question of the day is, how will your organization respond?

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Leah Smiley is the President of the Society for Diversity, the #1 and largest professional association for diversity and inclusion. For more information about the Society for Diversity, log onto http://www.societyfordiversity.org

Realizing the Pledge’s Potential: America’s Blueprint for Law and Order

By Leah Smiley, CDE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in August 1892 by Francis Bellamy, who was a Christian socialist, according to Wikipedia. Bellamy had initially considered using the words equality and fraternity but decided against it – knowing that the state superintendents of education were against equality for women and African Americans.

Bellamy’s original Pledge read as follows:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

In 1923, the National Flag Conference called for the words “my Flag” to be changed to “the Flag of the United States”, so that new immigrants would not confuse loyalties between their birth countries and the United States. The words “of America” were added a year later, while “God” was added in 1954.

Since the conception of this ‘Pledge’, diversity has been a forethought, not an after-thought. The creators realized that it’s possible to be different while united. Fast forward more than one century later, America is finding that no one thing divides this Republic like the concept of ‘justice’. From O.J. Simpson to Trayvon Martin to Michael Brown, America practically splits down traditional racial lines when these subjects come up. What is interesting is that race and justice is an issue that just won’t go away. The problem is that once America becomes more demographically diverse, we will see more issues pertaining to race and justice– IF we do not take action now.

Ethnifacts, population researchers, say the “tipping point” has already happened in America. According to these researchers, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that 37.7% of the population checked Hispanic, Asian and African-American on the latest census count. But that figure excludes any multi-racial groups, which would bump the multicultural population up to 49.9% as of 2010. Ethnifacts researchers also “found multicultural majorities in the following states: Arizona (58.54 percent), California (75.10 percent), District of Columbia (76.06 percent), Florida (57.43 percent), Georgia (58.46 percent), Hawaii (89.61 percent), Maryland (59.22 percent), New Mexico (76.16 percent), Nevada (64.52 percent) and Texas (69.41 percent).”

Some assume that you can move away from diversity (e.g., the concept of “White Flight” or relocating one’s corporate headquarters), and avoid the problems of multicultural communities altogether. But for those left behind, a different reality sets in. A demographic disparity occurs when different population groups are not represented in the demographic make-up of decision makers, or those in authority. Demographic disparities can affect the balance of power, the allocation of resources, and the perception of equality or fairness. Within communities, a demographic disparity can be great or slight—depending on population growth, the composition of the population, and the quality of life, to name a few. Generally, when there is more diversity, there are greater opportunities for disparities to occur in education, housing, criminal justice, and even, media reporting, to name a few.

Demographic changes, in areas where there is “more diversity” such as in Michigan, Massachusetts, Missouri, and New York, are causing local governments to re-evaluate diversity amongst its police force. This is a big issue that is very complex. Nevertheless, I will try to encapsulate the essence of the matter in a blog. Here’s what police departments need to determine:

A. What is the extent of the problem?
First, what do the numbers say? What did the population look like 20 years ago, what does it look like today, and what will it look like in the next 20 years? What “stereotypes” exist about different groups in the community? What other unconscious biases might exist? How do stereotypes and unconscious biases affect community-police relations and the perception of fairness? What other trends are evident based on the population changes? What is the specific problem? What data, lawsuits or case studies support the fact that a problem exists? How will this issue hurt the city’s/town’s image if these issues are not addressed? What else will be a negative repercussion if changes are not made?

Once the extent of the problem is determined, it is necessary to take proactive, decisive action.

B. Beyond training, how can solutions be embedded in day-to-day practices?
Sometimes, diversity training is viewed as a panacea—a cure for all ills pertaining to diversity problems. The reality is that diversity interventions would be much more effective if they were connected to organizational goals, and embedded in day-to-day practices. This is where diversity officers, human resources, front-line supervisors, and leadership can work together and find specific examples of how to apply cultural competence, inclusion, equity, and fairness. The expectation is that supervisors– not diversity trainers– would lead discussions about best practices for engaging diverse communities. The reasoning behind this is that law enforcement often has its own culture, and what better way to empower an “insider” to expedite change than to include them in the training design, content, facilitation and application.

C. Who can hold police departments accountable for change?
Step #1. When we talk about accountability, the first thing that we want to be mindful of is that accountability begins with the community. Officers should be accountable to the people whom they are responsible for “policing”. Along with the discussion about accountability, there needs to be something called a “relationship”. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, a relationship is “the way in which two or more people are connected. It includes how individuals or groups talk to, behave toward and deal with each other.” Building relationships in diverse communities engender respect, communication, and peace. Even if we agree to disagree, we can do so in a way that does not destroy, or break up, the relationship.

Step #2. Diversity leaders and inclusion experts can also hold police departments accountable. Within every city and town, there are diversity professionals who work for colleges/universities, corporations, nonprofits, and government agencies. While the community may not know what it wants, outside of fairness and justice, diversity professionals can help guide police departments through the technical aspects of inclusion, cultural competence, and compliance.

For example, the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion is hosting a monthly community conversation about race and policing. This presents an opportune time for honest conversations about the “difficult history of structural racism and segregation that has created homogenous suburban communities”.

Step #3. Politicians must also hold its police forces accountable. This is an example of diversity being led from the top. Unlike some corporations or educational institutions, politicians must be elected every few years by the people—you know, the ones that live in the communities? And once the diverse constituents figure out when to vote, and how to do it consistently, it will be curtains for all of those politicians who made decisions on behalf of a few. Therefore, stop and repeat Step #1.

D. How will the impact of different interventions be evaluated and measured?
Every good strategy has a plan for frequent evaluation. In “The Practical Drucker: Applying the Wisdom of the World’s Greatest Management Thinker”, Dr. William A. Cohen asserts that “Management requires a breakdown of tasks, assignments as to who is to do what, time schedules, resource allocations, performance expectations, a means of measuring results, periodic and ad hoc reviews, and feedback.”1

The measurements necessary for control are frequently termed metrics. Choosing the correct metrics and making the decisions about them are incredibly important in their use for control, in both the day-to-day and the strategic sense.”2  Therefore, the impact of one’s intent must evaluated, measured and controlled with quantitative and qualitative data to support that change has, or has not, occurred.

Finally, transparency implies that some mistakes may have been made along the way, but we’re going to be honest about it and report on our status anyway. According to Merriam-Webster, the actual definition of transparency is “honest and open; not secretive; easily seen through; free from pretense or deceit”.

Much can be said about nationwide efforts to address a problem that affects 15% or more of the population, and has drawn worldwide scorn due to its proximity to genocide, which is “the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group.” As I stated before, there is no easy solution. Nevertheless, justice is inextricably tied to law and order. And, in keeping with the Pledge of Allegiance, (“one Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”), this blueprint for law and order will help America to realize the full potential of its pledge.

 
Leah Smiley is the President of the Society for Diversity, the #1 professional association for diversity and inclusion. For more information about the Society for Diversity, log onto http://www.societyfordiversity.org.

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1 Cohen, William A. “The Practical Drucker: Applying the Wisdom of the World’s Greatest Management Thinker”, American Management Association – 2014. Page 112
2 Cohen, William A. “The Practical Drucker: Applying the Wisdom of the World’s Greatest Management Thinker”, American Management Association – 2014. Page 114

The Check Box Mentality: Why the Easy Way is Not Always the Best Way

By Leah Smiley, CDE

The Institute for Diversity Certification gets a lot of phone calls from small businesses around the country who want to get “certified” so that they can acquire contracts with larger companies. Many of these small enterprises are minority-owned, but some are not. Yesterday, I fielded such a call.

The caller inquired about getting certified so that he could check the box and obtain a contract with a large retail store. I immediately knew that he called the wrong place. But I thought to myself “check the box? Oh no, now suppliers are asked to have a check box mentality about diversity.”

“Checking a box” indicates that you don’t have to worry about something any more because the item is complete. Training: check. Recruit 3 women: check. Attend a supplier diversity fair: check. When we check boxes, however, genuine relationships, measurement and evaluation become difficult.

H. James Harrington, author and business leader, once said, “Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement.” Pertaining to this supplier diversity program, what can be evaluated with a single check box? This is why so many small businesses call me– they are confused by the check box.

On yesterday’s call, because the company was non-minority-owned, I advised him to pursue partnerships with diverse suppliers. But how can that be measured with a single “check box?” The application does not assess: how many suppliers are partnering with diverse enterprises? Who utilized assistance from the procurement office, and what type of help was provided? How many jobs will be created from a contract with our company?

Indicating the quantity of diverse suppliers provides context. But in order to demonstrate value, supplier diversity programs must also indicate impact. Measuring impact requires thought and time though. For many organizations, it’s way easier to simply check a box and indicate that this task is complete.

 

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Leah Smiley is the President of the Society for Diversity, the #1 and largest professional association for Diversity and Inclusion. For more information about the Society for Diversity, log onto http://www.societyfordiversity.org.

Meet the Institute for Diversity Certification’s Newest CDP and CDE Designees

The Institute for Diversity Certification, a subsidiary of The Society for Diversity, recently announced that 12 executives and professionals earned diversity and inclusion credentials after passing the June exam. These new designees either earned the Certified Diversity Executive (CDE) credential or the Certified Diversity Professional (CDP) credential by scoring 80% or greater on a proctored online exam in June, and completing a candidate project.

Ed Burns, CDP, Registrar for the Institute for Diversity Certification (IDC), stated, “This program has a broad appeal because the skills learned from IDC are useful for diversity and inclusion leaders, as well as anyone else who works in a management capacity or on a global team. Our Candidates work really hard, and I am proud to see so many of them earn their credentials.”

The following executives earned a CDE credential:

• George Braxton, CDE, Esq., Defense Contract Management Agency
• William Coleman, CDE, State of Tennessee
• Dr. Amanda Lords, CDE, U.S. Air Force Academy
• Dr. Salome Nnoromele, CDE, Eastern Kentucky University
• Tiffany Overton, CDE, Rolls-Royce
• Brenda Stevens, CDE, Malone University

The following professionals earned a CDP credential:

• Denise Ammaccapane, CDP, Sodexo
• Alexandra Contreras, CDP, Colgate-Palmolive
• Stacye McCall, CDP, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
• Jaime Penaherrera, CDP, Latino Health and Education Consortium
• Kimberly Powers, CDP, Harris Teeter
• Adewale Soluade, CDP, Commerce Bank

To prepare for the exam, candidates study on their own, participate in an 8-week online class, or attend a 3-day preparation course in the classroom. Many elected to take the online course. “I was very impressed with the framework and structure of the online class,” explained Stacye McCall, CDP. “Each of the instructors was knowledgeable, engaging and allowed time for questions and answers, as well as knowledge sharing.”

“Like so many in the D&I field, my career started elsewhere and gravitated to an area of need for an employer,” said George Braxton, CDE, Esq. “When I realized that I wanted to focus my career in D&I, I also realized that the breadth and depth of the discipline went well beyond talent acquisition and management. After reviewing several certification courses, I determined that the Society for Diversity’s CDE certification was ideal for me to pursue.”

Roughly 200 candidates have participated in The Institute for Diversity Certification’s (IDC) unique diversity and inclusion education program since 2011. Once candidates become designees, they may peer review Candidate Projects or instruct IDC’s online preparation courses. This provides candidates with a much broader perspective from which to view diversity and inclusion—by engaging with experts from the corporate, nonprofit, education and government sectors.

Out of the 12 new designees, one individual scored the highest in IDC history. Adewale Soluade, CDP, Inclusion and Diversity Manager at Commerce Bank, was the recipient of this premier honor. Additionally, Dr. Amanda Lords, Senior Climate and Culture Analyst at the U.S. Air Force Academy, is the first designee to successfully attain both CDP and CDE credentials. Dr. Lords obtained her CDP credentials in December 2012.

“Candidates who obtain credentials will forever reflect their knowledge and expertise in the field of diversity and inclusion to colleagues and managers,” believed Burns.

There is one more opportunity to earn diversity credentials before the end of the year in the November exam window. The deadline to apply is August 22, 2014. The 2015 exam cycle begins in April. For more information on the credentialing process or to apply, visit http://www.diversitycertification.org  or call 1-800-983-6192.

A Cautionary Tale: We’ll Let the Voters Decide

By Leah Smiley

A few months ago, I started to write a blog but I did not. I was concerned that my assertions would be viewed as too negative. The topic pertained to exercising caution when embarking on a new diversity and inclusion effort. The blog was driven out of concern for two local government agencies that were creating diversity plans. I warned both organizations of the potential negative impacts, in spite of the positive intentions. Caution was necessary in three areas: (1) choosing a consultant; (2) creating strategic interventions; and (3) handling resistance.

Choosing a Consultant

Here’s the reality. Everyone who says that they are a diversity consultant is NOT. On the surface, diversity and inclusion seems like a relatively easy profession. A person of color or a woman may say, “I AM diversity” therefore, I should be able to do the job well. Wrong. Possessing one, two or three dimensions of diversity will not produce a great diversity practitioner. I hope everyone understands the illogical reasoning here. A person who is the child of a physician, and frequently visits the doctor for his/her own health issues, is not quite qualified to be a medical practitioner. Likewise, a person who has completed 12 years of primary and secondary education is not yet qualified to be a teacher.

Doctors and nurses are certified. Teachers are certified. Lawyers are certified. Accountants and financial planners are certified. Even human resource professionals are certified. Certification is different from a ‘certificate’ program. In a certificate program, individuals affirm that they have acquired a certain level of knowledge, usually by taking a class. Certification, on the other hand, represents a declaration of a particular individual’s professional competence through knowledge and experience. When an individual is certified, credentials are used after the person’s name to indicate mastery of a particular subject.

A certified consultant, or executive, will offer strategic interventions versus simplistic solutions.

Creating Strategic Interventions

An example of a simplistic solution occurs when an organization says that they want to increase representation of a particular group. It’s tempting to say, “OK, let’s place an ad online and hire some people of color.” But this is far too simplistic.

Most of us prefer to keep it simple versus making our work complex. But using the example above, an organization can waste a lot of money in turnover because of a simplistic approach to diversity recruiting. A 2007 Korn/Ferry report, The Corporate Leavers Survey, shows that “unfairness costs U.S. employers $64 billion on an annual basis – a price tag nearly equivalent to the 2006 combined revenues of Google, Goldman Sachs, Starbucks and Amazon.com or the gross domestic product of the 55th wealthiest country in the world. This estimate represents the cost of losing and replacing professionals and managers who leave their employers solely due to failed diversity management. By adding in those for whom unfairness was a major contributor to their decision to leave, the figure is substantially greater. This study also shows how often employees who left jobs due to unfairness later discouraged potential customers and job applicants from working with their former employer.”

That was in 2007. In 2013, EEOC received 93,727 total charges of retaliation, discrimination and harassment. Should we compare years, in 2007, there were 82,792 EEOC charges. I wish there was data on the total number of diversity professionals and how that number correlates to the increase in EEOC charges. It would be interesting fodder for the people who wish to do away with the field altogether.

Nevertheless, an adequate solution to increasing representation requires a little more introspection. First, why is there a need for diverse representation? Second, what do the demographics and statistics say? What is the current and projected connection between diverse employee representation and customers/clients/students? Are there losses from turnover? Is there a burgeoning market that the organization is missing? And third, is the organization inclusive enough to handle increased representation? Are managers prepared to engage and retain diverse workers? Do employees have skills, such as conflict management, communication, and team building, to handle the complexity that diversity brings? How difficult is it for diverse individuals to get into the succession pipeline and move up the ladder? All of these questions, and more, require answers before even asking “What kind of diversity would benefit the organization most?”

A similar approach is taken when one considers offering “diversity training”, for example. You can’t just hold one diversity training session, and expect genuine change. But again, you learn these things when you get certified.

Handling Resistance

Finally, Diversity and Inclusion professionals must anticipate resistance, as well as plan how to respond to it. The largest city in the State of Vermont, Burlington, is a perfect illustration of this principle. According to 2012 U.S. Census estimates, the metro area had an estimated population of 213,701, approximately one third of Vermont’s total population. Yet while the City is busy finalizing its diversity plan, the voters are planning to dismantle diversity and equity in the schools at the June 3rd election.

In Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, the Supreme Court concluded that it was not up to judges to overturn the 2006 decision by Michigan voters to bar consideration of race when deciding who gets into the state’s universities. According to an article in the Washington Post, the recent Supreme Court decision will cause “Those in states without [affirmative action] bans to be prepared to justify why consideration of race is essential for assembling a diverse class.” This post-secondary decision is bound to trickle-down to creative localities in this “Post Racial America.”

Hence, a skilled diversity practitioner will also be wary about how resistance will manifest. The city of Burlington does not have a superintendent for the next school year. Neither does the school district have a CFO. But one thing is for sure, someone is determined to place diversity and inclusion on the ballot for voters to decide whether it should be a school funded initiative. Because the school district is grappling with a budget shortfall, WPTZ-TV reports that voters will decide whether to “downsize the central office staff, ask teachers to spread out negotiated raises over several years, or gut the diversity and equity department.”

So here’s the challenge. You can’t create a one-dimensional response to inequity. A plan to remediate inequity needs to address the perceptions of as many stakeholders as possible. Otherwise, resistance will result in the loss of thousands of dollars spent defending the need for diversity and inclusion. It will also cause decision makers to exercise caution when allocating much needed resources for intervention efforts—which will ultimately affect diversity and inclusion outcomes.

The moral of the story is that diversity practitioners must obtain the knowledge and skill to effect change. We have to move beyond race and gender, toward purposeful interventions. We must also advance past good intentions, toward meaningful outcomes. Accordingly more diversity and inclusion professionals must get certified.

 

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Leah Smiley is the President of the Society for Diversity, the #1 and largest professional association for diversity and inclusion. For more information about the Society for Diversity, log onto www.societyfordiversity.org.

10 Reasons Why the 2014 Diversity Leadership Retreat is the Go-To Event of the Year

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Join the Society for Diversity from July 24-25 in Orlando, FL for what will be “the must-attend diversity and inclusion conference of the year.”

If you need to drive results by transitioning D&I from good to great, here are 10 reasons why you can’t afford to miss “Planning for the Future: Linking Diversity, Demographics & Dollars” this July:

1. KEYNOTES. Inspired sessions from stars like Craig B. Clayton Sr., Dr. Shirley Davis Sheppard, Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, Effenus Henderson, and more.

2. THOUGHT LEADERS. Gain actionable intelligence from 16 workshop sessions with D&I leaders, such as Dr. Shelton Goode, Dr. Ken Coopwood, Dr. Eddie Moore, Carole Weinstein, Ini Augustine, Nadine Vogle, Mary L. Martinez, and Enrique Ruiz, to name a few.

3. DIVERSITY CERTIFICATION. Start working on your CDP or CDE credentials in a certification track with noted D&I expert, Leah Smiley.

4. NATIONAL AWARDS. It’s not too late to nominate yourself, or your organization, for a Champions for Diversity Leadership Award. This national awards ceremony will recognize leaders who inspire, foster, recognize, demonstrate, encourage and promote best practices, ideas, products, technology and strategies for diversity and inclusion to enhance great places to live and/or work. Make a nomination now at http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=abawbmdab&oeidk=a07e92zxd6c4f5068da

5. CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS. CDE and CDP designees from the Institute for Diversity Certification will receive 20 continuing education credits, AND credits are also being requested from the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) and ASTD Certification Institute.

6. DIVERSITY CAREER FAIR & VENDOR EXPO. Find solutions to enhance the quality of your D&I interventions, or meet with prospective customers at the Diversity Career Fair and Vendor Expo.

7. REAL-WORLD SKILLS. Learn how to confront modern-day diversity and inclusion challenges, while planning for the future in a changing field.

8. PEER SUPPORT. Network and talk with the right Retreat attendees from Wal-Mart, Bank of America, Cisco, Walgreens, American Red Cross National Headquarters, Princeton University, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Harland Clarke, Humana, U.S. Department of Defense, and 400 more attendees!

9. DISNEY WORLD & TOURIST ATTRACTIONS. Bring your entire family to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 Best Hotel in Orlando AND get discounted tickets to Disney Theme Park and Resorts.

10. DIVERSE EXPERIENCES WITH A HIGH ROI. From Salsa dancing and golf, to the future of diversity and specific examples of how to increase the organizational value of D&I, your return on investment from “Planning for the Future: Linking Diversity, Demographics & Dollars” will be huge!

If that isn’t enough – Use the Promo Code FLASH514 at http://retreat.societyfordiversity.org  to receive $200 off! Hurry, this special ends on Monday, May 19th.

P.S. You can learn more about the Retreat at a FREE webinar on Wednesday, May 21st. Get the log-in information for the webinar at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3776782116970362882

 
We look forward to seeing you in Orlando! http://retreat.societyfordiversity.org

How to Handle a Social Media Crisis By Ini Augustine

Ini Augustine, CEO of SocialWise Media Group, will present a workshop session on “Social Media and Diversity on the Web” on July 25th at the 2014 Diversity Leadership Retreat.

 

In today’s quickly changing social environment, every company should be prepared to handle a social media crisis. It’s not a question of if, but when you, or your company could be under attack online. Even though a social media crisis starts small, it can progress into something that is very difficult to handle. This is why it is crucial that you detect a social media crisis while it is still in its early stages.

Step #1: Don’t ignore it
Social Media fiascos typically start with something small. A customer posts a bad review, or a negative blog is posted. Recognize that this is the point at which your company should respond to the situation proactively.

When you notice an unhappy or angry customer has left a not-so-good review on your Facebook or Twitter page, it’s a good time to reach out. It is crucial to constantly monitor your company page and set a Google alert for your brand. Once you spot a potential social media crisis, try to resolve the problem that is causing it.

Step #2: Identify the Problem
Accepting blame is not a typical human response. While there are individuals out there that will never be happy, consider the fact that most customers are being honest about their experience. Apologize, right away if you are sorry. Explain why your company has a certain policy if you’re not.

A certain company went through a sudden social media crisis when a fan posted a question asking for directions on how he could ask them for help and they failed to respond. Because of this, the fan posted very bad reviews about the company the next day, which went viral quickly. People shared the negative post more than 50 times in 24 hrs. Once we stepped in, we approached the unhappy poster, and provided him with the info that was required. He then posted a positive review, which got shared 15 times.

Step #3: Be Proactive, not reactive
One of the biggest mistakes is not respond to customer inquiries or reviews. Respond to posts and messages within 2 hours. Social Media leaves a public record of how your company handles customer service. A pro-active response tells your customers that you are serious about their concerns and want to satisfy their need. When used properly, social media can actually help publicize stellar customer service.

Step #4: Don’t get Lazy
Once you have successfully managed your current social media crisis, you need to work towards making sure that it doesn’t happen again. For this reason, it is vital that you assign responsibility for all your social media pages and accounts. Either hire an agency to do it for you, or train an employee to do it in house. Maintaining your online legacy is an ongoing process.

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Ini Augustine is the CEO of SocialWise Media Group. She is Aspiring Businesswoman of the year 2013 for NAWBO , The National Association of Women Business Owners. In 2006, Ini Augustine was named Businesswoman of the year for her work on the Business Advisory Council to Congress. She received a Congressional Medal of Distinction for her contributions to that same council. You can follow her @mrsmadbiz or connect on LinkedIn.

About SocialWise Media Group
SocialWise Media Group uses platforms like Pinterest, Facebook, Blogging, and Twitter to build stronger customer relationships. SocialWise Media Group specializes in social media management and training for Non-Profit’s & SMB’s.

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