Question: I am all about this diversity thing and our company has been trying to hire African-Americans but every time we do, there is always a problem and we end up having to fire them. Should we be lowering our standards for employment so that we can have more black people working here?
Answer: Well, there are many things that come to mind with this question. First the direct answer to your question is no. I do not suggest that standards be lowered so you can meet some kind of self-imposed quota system. It does not honor a member of a minority group to lower expectations for them.
There are many things that contribute to a minority member’s lack of success in the workplace. First, I would want to know how many African-Americans have you hired? Your question sounds like a sweeping generalization based on limited experience. Second, is your company a place where an African-American worker would feel welcome? What is the diversity climate of your workplace? Third, is your company one that expects a great degree of acculturation on the part of the minority worker and a lack of assimilation is the basis for you saying that African-American workers simply do not work out? Finally, many minority workers claim that they are not told about their performance deficits and given an opportunity to make changes prior to disciplinary action or being fired. It seems that the good intentions of some supervisors in wanting to be supportive of minority workers and women, often put them at a disadvantage by not providing them with timely feedback. Those are the initial thoughts that come to mind with your question.
If you would like to talk to me about it further, you may email me at Kim@CoachingoforExcellence.biz or call 708-957-6047.