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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Building a Culture of Fairness and Embracing Diversity

This post is inspired by a recent discussion in an HR Forum called   hrphilippines@yahoogroups.com . In that particular discussion, an HR practitioner asked if she should ask a job applicant about his/her sexual preference. The exchanges manifest that HR practitioners are slowly recognizing the need to embrace diversity and veer away from any form of discrimination. The problem is that the change is happening so slowly. There are still several of us who feel that it is necessary to ask that question. There were even those who hinted to be less obvious if they really need to ask it. The thing is, it is not the kind of asking that matters but the fact that sexual preference is considered as a factor in making hiring decision, which to me and a lot of people screams of unfair.

HR practice in this area in the Philippines has not matured.  Proof? Look at local job ads and you'll see lines that say, male this or female that, preferably male or preferably female, from one of the three top universities, from this to that age, preferably single  and so on and so forth. These are just the outright manifestations. There are still covert preference for straight male or female, certain religion and ethnicity that people seldom admit. A lot of people will not admit it but physical imperfections could cost someone a job opportunity.

I believe that this got to change. I do not disagree that it is the company's prerogative who it decides to choose to work for it. But I also believe that companies must have a social contract to exercise fairness in their employment practices - to hire and promote people on the account of their competence or ability to do a job and not much else. There are now laws in many parts of the world that secure the rights of the so-called social minorities. We are sadly still left behind in this area. Many business owners are still ignorant of this . Many HR management practitioners on the other hand either know little about it or do not care to champion it. I think it's time we do. Let's campaign for more objective selection criteria, fair treatment of those whom we use to consider to be different, recognize and promote people on the account of their performance and potentials. Let's educate the bosses and everyone else in the organization to be more understanding and appreciative of individual differences and prevent these from becoming the cause of discrimination and prejudices.

In a country such as ours where population is growing at a spectacular rate, discrimination and prejudice will make a lot of people outcasts on the account of their being perceived as different.

I believe the government, the business leaders and the HR field practitioners should make an affirmative stand in ridding this country of unfair and discriminatory practices.

1 comment:

  1. It's a shame that she calls herself an HR Practitioner. She is now aware that it's an 'ILLEGAL QUESTION'. In the states, you could be jailed for that. You can google 'Illegal Questions' and you'll know.

    ReplyDelete

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