Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Robert Braathe of Braathe Enterprises on the topic of Diversity and Inclusion. There has been a developing movement for diversity and inclusion throughout all aspects of life, which include law enforcement, the C-Suite, and wealth. I found this conversation to be extremely insightful, as well as a possible guide for my own organization in the future. I enjoy that Braathe Enterprises is an organization that recruits from various backgrounds and allows everyone to develop as a business professional.
- What does diversity do for an organization?
“An opportunity. Not only diversity by standards, such as gender, ethnicity, and age but also work styles and thoughts. Unlike other organizations, Braathe Enterprises connects directly with the source, the students. We recruit high school students, community college students, graduate students, and basically anyone that is willing to work with us. This allows us to gain many perspectives, backgrounds, and belief sets that are beneficial to having a diverse workforce that can showcase their skills.
- What can we do to create an organization that is inviting and welcoming for minority populations?
Specifically, at Braathe Enterprises, we market our internship opportunities on a variety of channels, which allows us to pull from an assortment of candidates. We work directly with schools that might be underrepresented in these situations. Despite not having a strategic outreach, we attract candidates that self-qualify for our internship opportunities. This means that the candidates who apply to Braathe Enterprises internships, want to thrive in a virtual environment and typically have diverse backgrounds, interests, and goals.
- Does your company, TEMPO Business Training, offer courses on the importance of diversity within organizations?
The good thing about our programs is that all of our trainings are tailored to the group. In fact, I have conducted training at the United Nations for interpersonal and intracultural communication skills. The experience is similar to what I have been doing with my college courses where we focus on using inclusive language and avoiding exclusion, offense, as well as microaggressions. I use the 4-way test by Rotary, which prompts you to ask yourself the following questions before expressing something: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all connected? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? And, will it be beneficial for all concerned?. The necessary takeaway from this lesson is to clarify the difference between what you intend to say and what you actually say.
- Should organizations, both private and government, engage in diversity or inclusivity training?
Diversity and inclusion training programs are essential in the workplace to building a safe and productive environment. At Braathe Enterprises, we focus on the hot topic issues, which include, but are not limited to, diversity/inclusion, harassment, and privacy in the workplace. What often happens is that companies attempt to design their own training programs, but fail to go far enough or conversely, go too far. Although they have good intentions, organizations tend to be too insulated, which can be ineffective. In fact, utilizing outside perspectives might be more beneficial to the overall development of the organization.
- Are there any organizations that you are a member of that promotes diversity in business?
Continuing on the same path of providing training programs for diversity and inclusion, I believe that when you are attempting to find people to offer training, it is important to have a 3-factor mix. This mix includes the following: 1. Having firsthand knowledge or experience with facilitating a course, that has a positive track record, 2. Some academic knowledge of the training, and 3. Someone who can make the course malleable or relevant to an organization. In addition, it is important to have specified course outcomes/goals that can be defined and measured after the implementation of the training program.