Workforce Diversity at White Stone Group

Executive Summary Human resources are the most valuable assets in the White Stone Group. However, current recruitment policy puts very limited emphasis on workforce diversity. We may fail to satisfy global market and customer demands if we do not improve our workforce diversity. My project focuses on improving workforce diversity by developing a new recruitment policy, which should be the first action we should take in order to increase our company’s diversity. Interviews were conducted with Directors from each department within White Stone Group’s Head Office.

Interviews were also conducted with Directors and employees from key branch offices, especially those from overseas offices. From the report, both the directors and the current employees declared that they benefit from workforce diversity in varying degrees. However, representation of employees of different socio-cultural backgrounds is low in parts of the entire company. The problem is that we failed to attract a diverse set of candidates. A new recruitment policy that put emphasis on building a diverse workforce is the first action we should take.

Near-term recommendations to carry out this action include: Connect with groups, associations and organizations that work with diverse communities Market our job opportunities to diverse groups, associations and organizations Introduction In order to achieve global business success and maintain a competitive advantage, it is important for us to employ a diverse workforce. In the past, we have recruited and retained many qualified employees. They have different backgrounds and/or are from different schools. But does this mean that we are doing a good job increasing the richness of diversity at White Stone Group?

At White Stone Group, we ensure that every potential candidate and employee is treated equally. However, in many departments, most of the employees tend to fit a similar profile. For instance, in the Sales and Marketing Department, the average employee is a 22 to 36 year old male with a bachelor’s degree who has served the company for about three years. Moreover, current recruitment policy puts very limited emphasis on workforce diversity. We may fail to satisfy global market and customer demands if we do not improve our workforce diversity. My project focuses on improving workforce diversity by developing a new recruitment policy.

It is the first action we should take in order to increase the richness of diversity at White Stone Group. Workforce diversity will not only allow us to attract and retain the most talented and qualified workers, but it can ultimately lead us to maintain a competitive advantages over our competitors. Diversity, can be defined as acknowledging, understanding, accepting, valuing, and celebrating differences among people with respect to age, class, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental ability, race, sexual orientation, spiritual practice, and public assistance status (Esty, et al., 1995).

In brief, “workforce diversity” refers to the coexistence of employees from various socio-cultural backgrounds within the company (Wentling and Palma- Rivas, 2000). White Stone Group is a global business with branches and sales offices across the world. Our global network covers more than ten countries. As of 2012, we operate 14 branch offices and 10 sales offices within the USA and Canada. Our branches and regional sales offices throughout the United States and Canada have been strategically located to respond to the growing market.

Accordingly, it is important for White Stone Group to employ a diverse workforce in order to satisfy growing market and customer demands on a national and global basis. A well-designed research and a completely structured recruitment policy for workforce diversity will help our business be more productive, effective and competitive. Background Overview of research process In order to improve workforce diversity by developing a new recruitment policy, I conducted interviews with directors and employees from various branches and offices to assess White Stone Group’s current workforce diversity and ideal workforce.

Furthermore, I reviewed articles on “workforce diversity” and reviewed our competitors’ recruitment policy. I conducted the interviews with directors and employees mainly from the Sales Department, Purchasing Department, Customer Service Department and Human Resource Department to understand: The general roles and basic skills required for the position in this particular department, Current employee profiles, including age, race, gender, ethnic group, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, religious belief, educational background, work style, communication style, etc.

(if applicable), How an employee with a different profile benefits the department, How well the performance inspection and drive mechanism work in this department, and The greatest challenges and obstacles to work with people from various socio-cultural backgrounds. Additionally, I also received feedback from Directors from overseas offices and branches:

Antonio Franco, who is the Sales Director in WSG de Mexico,Seto Ping, who is the Director of Human Resource Department in WSG Hong Kong Ltd. , Yuguang Ma, who leads Pacific Trading Co. , Ltd( a branch of WSG in mainland China), Kenji Kobayashi, who is in charge of recruitment and selection process in WSG Japan, and Fillon Masson, who is the director of Human Resource Department in WSG France. These interviews were conducted in coordination with Julia Oishi, who is a Senior Associate in charge of recruitment policy at the White Stone Group Head Office.

Background on “Workforce Diversity” at White Stone Group White Stone Group’s recruitment policy has been in place since the first day of business dating back to the early 1900’s. Today’s modern White Stone Group was formally established in 1958. Ever since, the group’s business and size has broadened, and accordingly, the recruitment policy has been revised many times in order to catch up with the current development of the group.

In the latest edition of recruitment policy, which was revised in 2010, the following policy topics are covered: code of conduct, compensation, confidentiality, conflict of interest, dress code, expenses and allowances, harassment, hiring, hiring-recruitment and selection, hiring-offer of employment, hiring-orientation, hiring-employment of relatives, hiring-filling of temporarily vacant positions, holidays, hours of work, overtime, job evaluation, leaves, health and safety, performance management, professional development, privacy policy, recognition and reward, retirement, termination and vacation.

White Stone Group sponsors outstanding foreign employees with working visas every year. We also provide various accommodations to disabilities. Though we have already recruited and retained many employees from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, the topic regarding workforce diversity is not yet covered in the recruitment policy. Moreover, the current recruiting process limits our pool of candidates to some particular communities. We fail to attract a diverse set of candidates.

We have few connections with groups, associations and organizations that work with diverse communities. We did not market our job opportunities to diverse groups of candidates. For instance, a great number of candidates are referred to our company by current employees who are graduated from the same school. Our On-campus recruiting only visits a few California-based colleges and universities. Also, we only advertise our sales job vacancies only on some career forums, which are not the most popular channels for recruiting a diverse pool of candidates. Findings Current recruiting process.

The recruiting process is generally divided into three stages: generating applicants, maintaining applicant status, and influencing job choices (Barber, 1998). White Stone Group’s current recruitment and selection process is as follows: Identify vacancy, Prepare job description and job acceptance criteria, Advertise the vacancy, Manage the online assessment response— normally contains several open questions, regarding passion, enthusiasm, motivation and behavior patterns, etc. Manage the resumes, cover letters and reference letters, Identify and list prospective candidates with required skills and backgrounds, Arrange phone interviews, Conduct face-to-face interviews with selected candidates (human resource department and particular department directors), and Make decisions and offers to selected candidates.

Challenges White Stone Group is already taking many actions to ensure equal opportunity. However, representation of employees of different socio-cultural backgrounds is low in some departments. The problem is that we fail to attract a diverse set of candidates. Based on the interviews with Kenji Kobayashi, who is in charge of recruitment and selection at WSG Japan, little access to a diverse set of candidates is the main challenge he faces now.

At WSG Japan, position vacancy advertisements are only posted in a Japanese-English bilingual career forum, even though the job does not required the ability of using English language. Hence, qualified candidates that cannot read English are less likely to find out about these advertisements. The pool of candidates is automatically limited to those with a bilingual background. Vice-versa, WSG USA also posts vacancy advertisements in the same bilingual career forum, even though the position is US-based and knowledge of Japanese is not a must.

Is “Workforce Diversity” a Positive Factor that Leads to Competitive Advantage? We have realized that diversity is a positive factor that leads to outstanding performance and competitive advantage for a company. But the company may face great challenges if diversity in the workplace is established. For example, language and cultural barriers, reluctance to change, additional control costs and more. So is workforce diversity a positive factor that will benefit our company and lead us to competitive advantage?

Manuel Espinoza, the CEO of a Latino finance and accounting group, in his book (Financial Executive, 2007) suggests that diversity can be a competitive advantage for a company. In 2005, a survey was sent to all Fortune 1000 companies and the 200 largest private firms. Performance at companies that employ a diverse workforce was compared to that at other companies within the same industry (Von Bergen, 2005). Although workforce diversity appears to create additional coordination and control costs, results indicated that companies that employ a diverse workforce significantly outperformed the market (Equal Opportunities International, 2005).

This finding clearly reveals the value of workforce diversity within a company. Recommendations I reviewed Dr. John Sullivan’s nineteen-steps recruiting process (ere. net), as described in the article “Steps of the recruiting process and how to identify failure points,” (ere. net) to identify which steps in our recruiting process fail to perform their functions. Sullivan’s process is a leading process for identifying the weak elements of a recruiting process. I have identified the steps that our group failed to perform and seek to improve as follows: Summary of Recommendations.

Since we have identified the steps we failed to take in our recruiting process, we should be able to improve our performance in the future. A new recruitment policy that put emphasis on building a diverse workforce is the first action we should take. Near-term recommendations to carry out this action include: Connecting with groups, associations and organizations that work with diverse communities Marketing our job opportunities to diverse groups, associations and organizations In the long-term, White Stone Group should be able to build good relationship with diverse communities.

We should also attract and retain a sufficiently-diverse set of candidates to increase the richness of diversity in White Stone Group. Conclusion Human resources are the most valuable assets at White Stone Group. In order to achieve global business success and maintain a competitive advantage, it is critical for us to employ a diverse workforce. In order to satisfy global market and customer demands, we should take action to improve workforce diversity by developing a new recruitment policy. The key challenge is how to attract a diverse set of employees.

The recommendations concluded in this report can help us improve our workforce diversity. Ultimately, workforce diversity will lead to a competitive advantage and will allow us to achieve global business success. Works Cited Barber AE. (1998). Recruiting employees: Individual and organization perspectives. Thousand Oaks , CA : Sage. Espinoza, M. (2007) Financial Executive, pp. 43-44, 46. Esty, K. , Richard G. , & Schorr-Hirsh, M. “Workplace Diversity. ” A Manager’s Guide to Solving Problems and Turning Diversity into a Competitive Advantage. Avon. MA: Adams Media Corporation: 1995.

Sullivan, J. “The Steps of the Recruiting Process and How to Identify Failure Points” (2010, May 10). Rer. net, from http://www. ere. net/2010/05/10/the-steps-of-the-recruiting-process- %E2%80%A6-and-how-to-identify-failure-points/ Wentling, R. M, & N. Palma-Rivas. “Current Status of Diversity Initiatives in Selected Multinational Corporations. ” Human Resource Development Quarterly. Vol. 11, No. 1. (2000), pp. 35-60. Von Bergen, CW. , Soper, B. , & Parnell, J. A. (2005). Workforce Diversity and Organizational Performance. Equal Opportunities International, pp. 1-16.