3 Questions Featured

8:00pm EDT March 26, 2009

Joel Howell is the market diversity leader in Tampa and the human resource manager for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. He is responsible for supporting the U.S. information technology team in all areas of coaching and development, strategy, training, and support services. As the market diversity leader, he is responsible for the overall diversity strategy and planning at the enterprise solutions center. His focus is to educate and increase cultural awareness among staff while creating an atmosphere that is inclusive of all people. Howell has instructed various diversity courses, trainings and sessions locally.

Q. When hiring, how important should diversity be to an employer?

It is very important. The first thing is to get the best candidate, so not just looking at diversity but obtaining and retaining the best person. As you obtain more clients and customers of different backgrounds, you need to seek the best to thrive, fits, culture, and serve internal and external clients.

Q. Are diversity policies an effective way to implement inclusion in a business?

It should be written and lived. Companies often have numerous policies — but you can’t just talk the talk, you have to make it obvious that your policies are your focus. Diversity is the way to build high-performing teams. Having cultural dexterity and diversity in the workplace helps a company become literate in cultures and areas that they would not be exposed to otherwise. Diversity is the full range of human differences and similarities. You need to leverage the power of diversity to achieve a common goal. When writing a policy, evaluate where you currently stand with diversity. Write a policy that will allow your business to maximize the impact a diverse work force can have.

Q. How does a company mix quality workers and diversity to form the best staff?

There is a shift in the labor pool when there is a shift in the demographics. You may naturally have a wider range of options, but you have to be open to and actively seeking those qualified candidates. You need to have an understanding of how diversity can benefit your business before you start recruiting. Diversity means hiring the right people because their talent and experiences will fit in to your culture and what you’re trying to accomplish.