Linda York is the market diversity leader of the Philadelphia Metro and Lake Erie markets for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. She works with office leadership to create an inclusive environment for all employees with emphasis on minorities, sexual identity and female professionals. She has been with the company since 1996 starting as a joint human resource generalist with a recruiting role for the Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh offices, then spent three years as the Southeast region recruiting leader, responsible for campus hiring. In 2003, she began working in her current role.
Q. When hiring, how important should diversity be to an employer?
Always hire for the best and brightest, but that will vary depending on where you look. It’s a huge imperative when developing a hiring strategy. You need to really look at your work force, your client base and what you need to represent. Consider what your goals are. Twenty years ago, diversity was defined as diversity of gender. That was a huge goal of companies and now that gap is smaller. There are many components of diversity, but now, diversity of race is an imperative companies are working to incorporate more.
Q. Should businesses have an official diversity policy or simply hire without thought to diversity?
Yes companies should have a policy. It’s good business practice. Anyone who’s looking at a company wants to know they can grow and thrive within the company. For example, someone who is (gay), will look at company policies to see if they will be fired because they are gay. In many states across the country, you can be fired for being gay, and it’s still legal. But many businesses have diversity policies that say they will not fire an employee for sexual preference and this is essential if you want to hire the best and the brightest. These policies can also help protect a business against litigation.
Q. Is it important to customers that businesses have a diverse work force?
Yes, it is very important. If we were all the same, where would our work product be? Would we be out-of-the-box thinkers? Would we be coming up with the best solutions for our clients? We feel a diverse work force the whole diversity wheel creates a higher-performing work environment that provides a better, unique product.