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Whenever you hire a new employee, you surely want a return on your investment. You’ve invested a lot of resources – in time, energy and money – in your recruitment and hiring process.

But with affirmative action plans, if you face obstacles, it will be primarily from your culture.

Hypothetically, if you don’t have a diverse staff and you hire a highly qualified minority, you also want that person to succeed.

Unfortunately, you might face an unfortunate prospect. That would be failure of the new hire to succeed as an employee. This happens more than you think.

Why? Some of your workers might not accept the new person.

They’ll contend you hired the person for political correctness reasons. It won’t matter how qualified the person is.

The employee will sense the hostility from co-workers.

As a result, the person’s performance suffers. The new hire might even quit.

Such a supposition is supported by an academic study of more than 6,000 employees.

Results of the study were published in the Academy of Management Journal.

The research was conducted by business professors Lisa M. Leslie at New York University; David M. Mayer at the University of Michigan; and David A. Kravitz at George Mason University.

Like many academic studies, the study has a complex title, “The Stigma of Affirmative Action: A Stereotyping Based Theory and Meta-Analytic Test of the Consequences for Performance.”

Authors concluded that co-workers view the new person as less proficient and amiable. Further, co-workers believe the minority person will get special treatment – favoritism in responsibilities, salaries and promotions.

“Affirmative action plans (AAPs) are designed to facilitate workplace success for members of the groups they target (e.g., women, ethnic minorities), yet may have the ironic effect of stigmatizing AAP targets and, in turn, decreasing their performance outcomes,” the authors explained.

My sense is such organizations have cultural issues.

It’s not uncommon. As it is in the typical organization, 40 percent of men and women don’t want to work on projects with the opposite gender (an HR study revealed challenges for management in teamwork, culture and diversity).


1. Companies that have employees, who jump to conclusions about new hires, have some work to do about the negative workplace attitudes. A cultural change is in order (scroll down to the Coach’s Corner for more information about fixing culture).

2. If the employee is substandard, this means you have to use marketing techniques to upgrade your processes in human resources: Image-building steps to attract the best workers; fine-tune your screening; conducting behavioral interviews; and hiring the right talent. You’ll increase your chances for the strongest results.

3. Internally, focus on communication for every new hire. Explain the company’s objectives and needs. Announce an opening that would be dedicated to meeting the organization’s objectives.

4, If you hire a minority or anyone else, you need to point out the person’s qualities. That includes the person’s expertise, experience and education. Explain how the person is expected to benefit the company.

Remember that workplace diversity and cross-cultural communication are necessary for good business in the 21st century.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related strategies in human resources:

A Top Marketing Goal: Enhance Your Internal Communication — Businesses have two communication sources that are expenses that conversely are sources of profit – the external marketplace – and internal, their human capital. But all your money poured into marketing doesn’t accomplish much unless you devote equal resources to employee programs and communication.

10 Management Attributes for Effective Communication — Communication skills are critical for managers. People with enhanced abilities in communication typically have successful relationships at work and home. Good communicators typically have 10 attributes.

10 Steps to Manage Conflict for High Performance – For progress, a business needs human interaction for ideas and innovation. Sometimes, argument, debate and conflict prove to be productive catalysts for high performance. But such catalysts can be obstacles to success, too. Here are the simplest ways to manage conflict.

6 Steps to Implement a Cultural Change for Profits — If your company is lacking in teamwork, morale is poor and profits are weak, chances are you need to change your organization’s culture. Be forewarned, changing a culture is a monumental chore because it will take strategic planning and super powers of persuasion.

6 Tips to Turn Your HR Department into a Profit Center — At least 50 percent of a company’s profits are contingent on employee problems. If you have challenges in one department, odds are you have HR issues in other departments. In fact, human capital is the No. 1 reason why CEOs lose sleep. Many businesses often need an objective source of information and expertise from critical thinkers. It’s true you can turn your human resources department into a profit center.

“Great vision without great people is irrelevant.”

– Jim Collins


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.