Take a Stand

Trafford Judd

Trafford Judd has over 10 years of generalist HR experience within the ever-changing world of media, entertainment, digital and publishing, with a particular focus on recruitment, workforce planning, OD/change management and employment relations.

His experience included two years with Authentic Entertainment (then MCM Entertainment). Trafford writes on workplace diversity:

I woke this morning to read Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s courageous response to a shareholder questioning the financial impact of the company’s public support of marriage equality:

“…it is not an economic decision to me. The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity — of all kinds.

If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.”

Tech companies have shown similar courage following the recent introduction of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Bill, with CEOs such as Marc Benioff (Salesforce.com), Tim Cook (Apple) and Bill Oesterle (Angie’s List) speaking publicly about why the law is not aligned with their company values, nor in their employee’s interests.
Despite the cynical reaction to their recent #RaceTogether initiative, Starbucks continues to show a brave commitment to diversity and inclusion in their workforce and the wider community.

While these views may seem like common sense to many outside of the US, it’s worth keeping in mind that America is split on the issue, so making a stand is a truly courageous move.

Diversity comes in many forms; in fact, when you take a broad definition of minority, including factors such as disability, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, it’s arguable that most Western businesses have a ‘majority minority’ employee base – which is why it makes sense to make it part of your talent strategy, whether your driver is attracting talent, increasing innovation, reducing employee turnover, or simply being a socially responsible employer.

I am fortunate to have never felt the need to hide the fact that I am gay from my employer or colleagues, but even for someone living and working in liberal, inner-city Melbourne, it is still a major consideration when considering my employment options.

When considering a move to LinkedIn, knowing about the company-endorsed [email protected] program early on in the hiring process provided assurance that this would be an organisation where I could feel comfortable and have a bright future.

Since joining LinkedIn in November, the program has fueled my engagement by helping me feel comfortable and build internal networks.

I have no doubt that Starbucks employees feel more comfortable and committed to their employer knowing their CEO is publicly committed to diversity and inclusion in all forms.

So what can recruiters do to attract a diverse workforce?

There are some fantastic resources on the web to help you form a diversity hiring strategy. LinkedIn’s Diversity Hiring Playbook is a great place to start with insights on finding, hiring and retaining a diverse workforce. Groups such as Diversity Council Australia can also help inform your thinking with robust research and case studies. Researching other diversity initiatives in your industry or location may give you some inspiration for initiatives to adopt in your own workplace.

But the first – and sometimes hardest – step is to simply make a stand.

So to all the CEOs who have made a stand for equality, I want to say a heartfelt thank you for making our workplaces, and maybe even our world, that little bit more inclusive.

You can follow Trafford Judd on LinkedIn.

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