Workforce diversity means differences, which can bring conflict. A chief diversity officer can help.
Workplace harassment complaints. Recruiting a diverse workforce. Cultural competency training. These are matters that traditionally fall under HR, but healthcare organizations are increasingly relying on professionals with specialized skills to work on these sensitive and important issues.
Enter the chief diversity officer, or CDO.
As the country grows not only more ethnically diverse but more diverse in personal beliefs, regional origin and identification, and disability status, the demand for leaders who specialize in creating dialogues between people with differences will increase, says Oliver B. Tomlin, III, senior partner at search firm Witt/Kieffer and founding member of National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. He has assisted with several CDO searches.
Below are several functions a CDO might play to make a hospital a more welcoming place both to workers and the community they serve:
1. Make Sure Everyone is Heard
Many of us can remember attending a party or other event where we didn't fit in, possibly because of differences between ourselves and others.
Lena J. Weiner is an associate editor at HealthLeaders Media.