Corporate Cues

Top Executives Explain Four Business Practicesto Better Position You For Success In The Workplace

individuals such as age, gender, race, language, physical abilities, and learning styles. Today, in the employment ranks, African Americans make up 21.49% at Wyndham; black executives represent 4.41%, and black officials and managers total 11.4%.

“Diversity is not going to be a choice,” DeBerry says. “With the changing demographic, many companies won’t be able to sustain themselves if they don’t reach out to untapped markets.” So how can you get in on the new drive for diversity? First, do your homework. At the onset, the company should reflect your goals and attitudes about how business is done. For example, “If you’re looking for a company with progressive diversity initiatives, you need to know that the initiative is coming from the top,” DeBerry says.

To begin, review the CEO’s diversity messages, the company’s Website, and statistics showing the number of African Americans in key positions such as director, vice president, or group manager. Also, look at the makeup of the board of directors and investigate whether any support organizations of color exist. This will indicate the level of dedication a company really has to its diversity initiatives. Of the 18 board members at Wyndham, one is black and two people are of color.

Knowing this information will empower you to make informed decisions about your next career opportunity.

DIVERSITY

Gone are the days when workers are treated like unruly children to be kept in line. In an economy where companies are wringing the last bits of energy out of overstretched employees, every member of the corporate team must pull more than his or her weight. That’s especially true for managers. But even under the burden and pressures of workload, managers are still charged with effectively communicating the company’s goals and objectives to members of the front line.

Chris Womack, senior vice president of generation at Southern Company, an electric utilities corporation in Atlanta, understands that importance, noting that miscommunication can lead to high employee turnover, which directly affects the bottom line. “The costs of high employee turnover are intangible,” says Womack, “but they can range from $50,000 to $70,000, depending on the person.”

That’s why management-employee relations are crucial to a company’s success. In the past couple of years, Southern Co. has beefed up its communication signals by using group e-mail, newsletters, and online meetings. In fact, “we require our managers to have ongoing face-to-face interaction with the front line,” says Womack, 45, underscoring the company’s open-door policy.

This makes good business sense. Not only do employees need to know an employer’s expectations but they should also have a good sense of the company’s growth initiatives, strategic opportunities, and new revenue-generating streams. Never mistake the importance of such information. It’ll give an overall picture of how the company is doing and show you what you need to do to effectively sell the company to clients and customers, says Womack.

One of the best ways to get the skinny on a company is to network with colleagues and decision makers. Ask about their goals in the company and the performance

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