Career Corner: Leading a Diverse Team | AIChE

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Career Corner: Leading a Diverse Team

Career Corner

Last summer, I visited a client who runs a NJ-based engineering and manufacturing firm. He knows I’m a foodie, so he shared photos from his company’s Independence Day office party. Picture after picture showed Greek, Indian, Jamaican, Puerto Rican, Italian, and Japanese dishes — all homemade by the employees. He commented that in the past they would have ordered six-foot hero sandwiches, but now that the firm has so many employees from diverse backgrounds, they use July 4th as an opportunity to celebrate everyone’s culture by sharing traditional foods.

The diversity of this firm illustrates a larger trend: The U.S. workforce is more racially and ethnically diverse than ever before. According to a Pew Research Center report on demographic trends, the U.S. will not have a racial or ethnic majority by 2055. This is good news for companies and employees alike, says Simone Sloan, a business strategist and executive coach who trains companies in diversity and inclusion practices. “Research has shown that companies that build an inclusive culture, with individuals from different cultures and backgrounds, have higher market share, better brand visibility, and an increased ability to serve a diverse population. Their employees are more engaged and there’s lower employee turnover,” says Sloan.

“When diversity is part of your company’s hiring practices, you’ve...

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