Workplace diversity is a fundamental feature that may either accelerate or impede the growth of a business entity. In the case of AT&T Company, workplace diversity is being exercised, especially at the point of recruitment. The following is an in-depth interview with a senior HR manager from AT&T.
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- What is the name of your company?
- Can you give me a brief summary of what your
- does the company?
Robertson: AT&T is an American multinational company that offers telecommunications solutions to retail and enterprise consumers.
- Please tell me your job title?
Robertson: I am a human resource officer at AT & T.
- Can you briefly describe your responsibilities?
Robertson: I was specifically charged with the role of managing the human resource department of the company even though there are several assistant HR officers under my watch. Some of the roles I play at the company include devising general development strategies regarding the Human Resource Department, proposing employee capacity building and training, coordinating employee benefits as well as recruiting and hiring workers (Gianfranco, 2013).
- How long have you worked in human resources
- for your company?
Robertson: I joined AT&T way back in 2007 as an assistant Human Resource officer. I have risen in rank up to the position of a senior HR officer within the 7 years I have worked for the company.
- Have you held other positions in your human
- resources for other companies?
Robertson: Yes. Before I joined AT&T, I had already worked for Dell, Inc. as a Human Resource Assistant for 3 years.
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- What education or experience do you believe assisted you in obtaining this job in the human resource resources field?
Robertson: I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, and a Master of Arts degree in Human Resource management. I also have over 10 years of continuous working experience in this field. These qualifications assisted me in securing my current job at AT&T.
- Is regular workplace diversity training required
- for employees at your company?
Robertson: Yes. We value diversity among workers at AT&T. we have put in place a diversity and inclusiveness program (training) for our employees (McDonald, Charlesworth & Cerise, 2011).
- What do you see as the most challenging
- the aspect of a diverse working environment?
Robertson: Culture shock associated with cultural differences among workers is a major issue of concern. For instance, we strive to unify the various cultural backgrounds of our employees through language and dressing code.
- What steps have you taken to meet this
Robertson: We have already established an employee inclusiveness program that recognizes and caters to the needs of all employees irrespective of their cultural backgrounds. Besides, the hiring process ensures that diversity is maintained at all times.
- What kinds of experiences have you had working with others with different backgrounds than your own?
Robertson: First, I have adequately learned a number of foreign languages that are dominant among our employees. Hence, the language barrier is no longer an issue. Second, I have acquired a thorough capacity building and training on workplace diversity (Bratton & Gold, 2012).
- Tell me about a time you had to alter your work style to meet a diversity need or
Robertson: I can remember when I immediately joined AT&T Company; I encountered a lot of workplace diversity conflicts between employees themselves and the top management. As a result, I was compelled to change my working style to accommodate the views of all the employees and later guide the team to a consensus.
- How have you handled a situation when a colleague was not accepting of others’
Robertson: I have encountered similar hurdles several times. Such an employee is taken through a one-on-one conversation whereby he or she is given the benefits of a diverse workplace. In case the latter approach does not yield positive results, such an employee can be transferred to a less diversified department (Engstrom, 2011).
- What does it mean to have a commitment to
- diversity and how would you develop and apply
- your commitment to this company?
Robertson: This implies consistency in maintaining workplace harmony and productivity in spite of having employees from diverse backgrounds. So far, I have developed and applied my commitment to AT&T by embracing diversity through all dimensions. For example, I make sure that the recruitment process entails employees from different backgrounds and abilities (Ivancevich & Konopaske, 2013).
- What was/is the diversity value at your
- current/former employer?
Robertson: Both my past and current companies value diversity because it is one of the benchmarks for attaining sustained growth and productivity.
- What impact did you make on this value? What efforts have you made, or been involved with, to foster diversity competence and understanding?
Robertson: As it stands now, AT&T has witnessed expedited growth and overall profitability compared to its immediate competitors, largely due to workplace diversity. We are in a position to create additional customer value through our satisfied employees.
- What have you done to further your knowledge about diversity?
Robertson: As already mentioned, I regularly attend capacity building and training programs on workplace diversity.
- Have you included diversity in your
- professional development? How have you
- demonstrated what you have learned?
Robertson: Of course, we have a comprehensive cultural competence program in place for all our new and old employees (including myself). The latter has been demonstrated by acting on emerging complaints as soon as possible. In 2010, there was a sexual harassment case reported by two former employees who worked at the retail division of the company. The issue was resolved expeditiously.
- What kind of leadership efforts would you
- make to ensure a commitment to the diversity
- initiative or value?
Robertson: I plan to enhance transparency and accountability in leadership at all times.
- What strategies have you used to address diversity challenges? What were the positives and negatives?
Robertson: There are open forums and suggestion boxes where employees can freely and boldly air their concerns. Although such forums generate a lot of positive feedback from workers, they have sometimes been misused by arrogant employees (Banfield & Kay, 2008).
Banfield, P., & Kay, R. K. (2008). Introduction to human resource management. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
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Bratton, J., & Gold, J. (2012). Human resource management: Theory and practice (5th ed.). London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
Engstrom, D. F. (2011). The lost origin of American fair employment law: Regulatory choice and the making of modern civil rights 1943-1972. Stanford Law Review, 63(5), 1071-1143.
Gianfranco, W. (2013). Employee emotional labour and quitting intentions: moderating effects of gender and age. European Journal of Marketing, 47(8), 1213-1237.
Ivancevich, J. M., & Konopaske, R. (2013). Human resource management (12th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin.
McDonald, P., Charlesworth, S., & Cerise, S. (2011). Below the “tip of the iceberg”: Extra-legal responses to workplace sexual harassment. Women’s Studies International Forum, 34(4), 278-289.