8 Ways to Cultivate Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Being around people who are different from us makes us more creative, more diligent, and harder-working. When people are brought together to solve problems in groups, they bring different information, opinions and perspectives. The longer you wait to build a diverse workforce and inclusive culture, the harder it will be in the future.

Decades of research by organizational scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists, and demographers show that socially diverse groups (that is, those with a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation) are more innovative than homogeneous groups. Simply interacting with individuals who are different forces group members to prepare better, to anticipate alternative viewpoints, and to expect reaching consensus.

So much of what it takes to cultivate a diverse and inclusive workplace is about approaching tasks every company has to do anyway, but in a much more thoughtful and deliberate way. Here's what you can do:

1. Convert all job descriptions to gender-neutral language. Audit all of your job descriptions s to check for any use of ‘he/his/him’ as a default and convert them to gender-neutral pronouns like ‘he or she’ or ‘they’.

2. State your commitment to building a diverse and inclusive culture in your job descriptions and careers page. One simple sentence can send a strong message to your applicants.

3. Write results-based job descriptions. Studies have found, men apply for a job when they meet only 60 percent of the qualifications, but women will only apply when they meet 100 percent of them. Instead of being based on a checklist of skills, job descriptions should ideally focus on what a candidate will be expected to achieve in a month, six months, or a year into the job.

4. Diversify your communication by actively sourcing candidates. For example, set up a coffee date each week with a different type of profile. You may end up hiring the best employee you’ve ever had.

5. Request a diverse range of referrals. Emphasize that diversity requires deliberate effort, and it’s something all employees can help. It will make your team stronger in the long run.

6. Administrate blind screenings to curtail unconscious biases in the resume review process. Studies have shown that people with ethnic names need to send out more resumes before they get a callback, and that resumes with female names are rated lower than ones with male names when all other things on a resume are equal.

7. Implement a structured interviewing process and training. This isn’t to say that you must stick to a strict script in your interviews – candidates often share important insights when conversations flow naturally – but structured interviews lead to higher-quality hires because they help reduce bias and “gut-feeling” hiring. By asking each candidate the same or a similar set of questions, you have a consistent “data set” to help boost objective decision-making. Structured interviews will allow your team to learn and improve your recruiting process faster, as well.

8. Introduce diversity and inclusion early on in the employee’s cycle. Communicate why your company cares about diversity and inclusivity and explain how you define it along with your expectations. Find what works for you!

6 New Year's Resolutions for Small Business Owners

The New Year is quickly approaching, and everyone is excited for a fresh start and new opportunities. The New Year gives us the energy and hope to pursue our goals, but not all New Year’s resolutions involve self-improvements like losing weight. That magical New-Year-New-You energy can also be channeled into taking your business to the next level. 

For this New Year, we compiled a brief list of impactful New Year’s resolutions that will make 2018 the best year for business yet. 

1. I will be focused and more productive. Make a list of your goals and how to accomplish them, use a calendar or planner, track your progress and setbacks. More importantly, limit your time surfing the Internet and mindlessly scrolling through social media. Instead, dedicate that time to developing your company’s digital presence and accomplishing your professional goals. 

2. I will be a better communicator. Communication is key. And, if you’re considering expanding your team this new year, it’s crucial to make sure everyone on your team is on the same page. Make sure you clearly communicate your company’s vision and mission statements and your expectations for colleagues and employees. Let everyone know what’s expected of each position or project, and how it’ll contribute to your business’ growth and success. You’d be amazed at how much time, energy, and money can be saved by clearly communicating from the start. 

3. I will learn how to manage my cash flow more effectively. This is a great resolution for small business owners who have been unable to create enough capital to invest back into the business, or those who don't really understand the day-to-day finances of the business. One way to do this is to make a financial plan. This plan will look differently for each business, so it’s best to do some research, map it out, and make it happen. 

4. I will have more of a digital presence. Marketing can make or break a business. It’s important to interact with your community and audience. You can make your web presence mobile-friendly, start a company blog, update your website regularly, create an email marketing list, and update your company’s social media accounts regularly. Creating a marketing plan is a great first step, and you can track your activity to better understand what works best for your company. 

5. I will charge what I'm worth. If you often feel underpaid or undervalued, this resolution is for you. Know your audience and market to that audience, revamp your strategy, and know your business’ value. 

6. I will turn my resolutions into outcome-focused goals. You can use the SMART goal methodology; you can work backwards; or you can use goals setting apps to outline the entire process. To turn resolutions into actionable goals, identify the desired results, outline actions to take, and create a timeline for each action. 

Remember, a decision on its own is meaningless. It's when you create a plan that focuses on the desired results of your decision that the magic happens. This new year, take action and make it a year to remember.  


Holiday Volunteer Opportunities on Long Island

It’s the season of gift-giving, list-making, and shopping frenzies. Everyone seems to have more pep in their step, and all the neighborhoods are lit up with bright lights. For most, this is the best time of the year. However, for many families, it can be a very difficult time. So this year, why not give back to your community and spread the holiday cheer?

Volunteering is rewarding, and you and your family can donate to needy families by volunteering time and lending a helping hand. It just takes one smile, one gesture, one moment to make someone’s season brighter.

Below is a list of organizations that are looking for volunteers this holiday season and throughout the year. These organizations have plenty of volunteering opportunities for adults and children, so your whole family can get involved and make a difference, together.

We also encourage you to check out the Long Island Volunteer Center, which is a great resource for nonprofits in your area.

Toys of Hope

Huntington, NY

Toys of Hope is dedicated to helping children in need. Though it may be best known for collecting toys to give to children during the holiday season, Toys of Hope has actually created many programs to provide goods, services, and assistance to the families who need it most all year-round. With no paid employees or professional fundraisers, the charity is able to ensure that 100% of the donations it takes in go toward its cause.

Ronald McDonald House of Long Island

New Hyde Park
The mission of the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island is to provide a home away from home for families, so they can be near their seriously ill children who are receiving treatment. Volunteers are always welcome and needed. Little Hands Helping Little Hands is a volunteer program specifically for children between ages 6 and 16, who come to the facility as a school group or organization and bake goodies for families staying at the house.

The Book Fairies

This nonprofit collects and distributes books for children and adults throughout the metro New York area. On the second Sunday of every month, volunteers (older children, preferably middle-school age and older, and their parents) are needed to help in their warehouse, refilling boxes with books for teachers. The organization often needs help sorting books and has other volunteer positions that need to be filled.

Long Island Cares–The Harry Chapin Food Bank

You can help fight hunger on Long Island with Long Island Cares, Inc.—The Harry Chapin Food Bank. Student Week of Service takes place December 27-28 for students ages 11-13 and 14-19; and December 29 for students 11-19. Register by sending the child’s name, phone number, age, desired date, and the name of a parent/guardian to Billy Gonyou at wgonyou@licares.org. There are plenty of other ways families and kids can volunteer, so check out the organization’s website for more information.

Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk

Middle Island
During the holiday season, families can help out Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk in a number of ways. For example, you can donate individual items and/or gift cards, or all the fixings for a delicious holiday meal. For the Adopt-A-Family program, your family can fulfill all or part of the wish lists of children and families, helping to make their holidays a little brighter.

Guide Dog Foundation

There are many opportunities to volunteer at this nonprofit that provides guide and service dogs and training (at no charge) to people who are blind or visually impaired. Kids 16 and younger can help out by hanging puppy raising recruitment flyers and organizing fundraisers and toy/towel drives. Kids also can take a tour of the Smithtown campus and learn more about what the Guide Dog Foundation does and what they can do to help.

Make-A-Wish Foundation

Nassau and Suffolk
People of all ages can help make wishes come true by organizing a fundraiser for children who are facing serious illnesses. Make-A-Wish Foundation's educational program, Kids for Wish Kids, helps children organize and manage fundraising campaigns at their schools, youth groups, etc., under the guidance of parents and teachers. Check out the organization’s websites for Nassau and Suffolk counties for tips, advice, and additional information.

Helping Hands Rescue Mission
Huntington Station, NY
Helping Hands Rescue Mission coordinates holiday meals and community events, including free meals, toys, and more. During the winter and Christmas seasons, free coats, mittens, sweaters, hats, scarves, socks, blankets, and gloves may be offered to adults and children in need.

Catholic Charities of Long Island
Hicksville, NY

Numerous social services are available across Suffolk County, Nassau, and all towns. While emergency financial aid is offered, special holiday programs can offer free home-delivered meals to seniors, clothing, toys for children, and other support.

F.E.G.S. Health & Human Services System
Syosset, NY

F.E.G.S. Heath & Human Services System organizes food drives, donates baskets of groceries and gifts, and delivers the items to families in need for the holidays.

Toys for Tots-Suffolk County

Farmingdale, NY

This charity program collects new, unwrapped toys during October, November, and December each year. These toys are then given as Christmas gifts to needy children in the Long Island community.



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