In the past 12 years of my life, I have only held two jobs and my current job keeps their employees aware of the importance of diversity in the workplace. Before I became employed at AT&T, I was employed at Super One Foods a retail chain of stores mainly in the southern part of the United States. In the organization the importance of diversity in the workplace was not discussed or held as a high priority, at least not from my observation of management.
Although the company employs many women in management positions such as bakery, deli, office and non-foods managers there are no women who hold the title of “Store Director” that is a person who leads the daily operations at one of the retail locations. There are some women who hold the title of grocery or assistant manager in which these positions are also mainly held by men.
Females, who held the title of grocery or assistant managers seemed to never progress no matter how much potential they had. Before I left the company there was a unique situation in which several women applied for a store director position and all were very qualified to do the job. These women had proven to handle the daily operations of the retail location as acting store director when there were meetings or vacation that called for the store director to be away from the job.
Although there was constant evidence that at least six out of the seven people who applied for the job was very capable of performing the daily duties the job was given to a male within the company who was said to be a “seasoned manager. ” For a company who offers leadership training programs, I would think that at least one of the female applicants would have been given a chance at the ultimate opportunity of a lifetime.
To make up for not awarding one of the applicants the job, all of the individuals were called into a meeting to receive an explanation of why they did not get the job. For many of the women who I spoke with after the fact, their only response was, “No amount of apology or any explanation could justify not getting the position. ” For many of my coworker this was the end of the road with the company because the evidence was there that she could perform the job but was overlooked primarily for being a female.
All organizations do not completely focus on diversity and maintaining a hostile free work environment regarding male versus female lead roles. If diversity were a priority within Super One Foods, more women would have a lead role other than in the bakery, office or deli areas that are typical female roles that males do not have within this company. Before employees can understand diversity within the workplace, management and CEOs have to first accept that the workplace and jobs roles have become an area in which gender does not matter.
Being knowledgeable about diversity helps facilitate understanding and respect in the workplace, not only for women but also for all people. For some companies started by a family member and continue to be a part of the family all views generally trace back to the original founder. Like most long standing food chains the founding dates can date back to the early 1900s. Super One Foods is one of those companies founded in 1927 when women did not have a major role in society or the workplace.
With the changes that have occurred between 1927 and today, it would be very beneficial to the company to offer some type of diversity training, not only to employees but also to management as well. Although the CEOs of the company, the Brookshire Brothers maybe aware of the importance of diversity they are not executing it very well in this case. Even with a small focus group within the company whose main priority is diversity within the workplace there could have been a simple response to facilitate a better resolution to the issue.
Along with the mentoring program arrange a program geared toward women who have the potential to become a store director and pair her with someone who shares similar drive and characteristics. Allow them to work alongside the lead and understand the daily activities and functions. Within most companies such “Ford Motor Company” there are ERGs (Employee Resource Groups) that focus on culture and have specific organizations geared toward the empowerment of women in the workplace.
If Super One Foods would have something of this magnitude within the company there would be a place for all workers, no matter an employee’s age, race or gender. Diversity works well in the workplace but there must be understanding starting with CEOs who have to encourage diversity and then everyone else will follow. Looking back at the issue even though the company provides recognition for its employee, some of the funding spent for prizes can be put toward diversity training for the employees and well as the company’s.
Clearly they do not care about a diverse workforce or they choose to ignore the importance and operated based on the family’s traditions. Either way this could prove to be very damaging for the company if someone would take legal action and attempt to prove discrimination. By researching Ford Motor Company and their practices on diversity all companies can put in place a dedicated knowledge base for employees to be trained and understand the importance of diversity. REFERENCES Super One Foods, 1021 Hwy 182 Opelousas, La 70570