Original Date: 06/02/2003
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Workforce Diversity Training
ABC Virtual Communications, Inc. developed a means of recruiting and retaining highly skilled software engineers while expanding its client base. The training and employees’ development process has given the company a diverse workforce, allowing growth and providing customers with leading-edge skills.
Shortly after its founding in 1995, ABC Virtual Communications, Inc. (ABCV) began a steady path of growth. By early 1998, the company was experiencing a phenomenon faced by many other companies in the Midwest a shortage of qualified personnel in Iowa to help design and build the products and provide the services ABCV was targeting. The shortage was so severe that companies were taking talent from one another. Recruiting new graduates from the Iowa universities and colleges was difficult as the newly graduated students were mostly moving to the coastal areas where they could demand higher salaries and sign-on bonuses.
In order to alleviate this shortage of qualified personnel, ABCV decided to take advantage of the tremendous talent offered by foreign-born individuals. As more and more of these individuals were hired, the company realized that, to be successful in this endeavor, it must design and implement a very aggressive training program, policies, and activities for a diverse workforce. ABCV turned to Iowa State University and the Iowa Department of Economic Development for help. Training guides and curricula for in-house training were developed. One of the first courses developed was “The American Workculture.” This training was specifically designed for the company’s workforce comprising 14 different nations. Expansion of the training for this multi-cultural workforce now includes a mandatory eight-hour orientation overview for new employees and an “Effective Communications” training course for all employees. Conversational English and Accent Reduction classes for employees and their families are also offered via the acclaimed Rosetta Stone language learning software. Other efforts at ABCV include teaming with the Des Moines Area Community College to create specialized classes for individual needs. The company pays for training and encourages employee participation. Private tutoring in accent reduction and language classes is also offered to the employees.
The understanding and facilitation of the needs of a multi-cultural workforce have greatly benefited ABCV. The company has employed personnel from as many as 15 different countries and 45 ethnic groups within those countries. This diversity has allowed the company to grow, provide its customers with leading-edge skills, and expand its customer base to other countries as well as local and regional markets. ABCV found that the cultural exchange of ideas and ways of thinking about solutions to problems have given the company an edge in its business goals. ABCV has gone from struggling to hire and retain qualified employees to being a leader in recruiting and retention, boasting a 99% retention rate between 1998 and 2002. Through investment in the needs of its workforce and its excellent support system, ABCV hires and retains new employees.
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.