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Utah businesses should consider workforce diversity

While several businesses have reduced their hours or shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, others remain open and may even need to add more employees to meet increased demand. One thing to consider is hiring employees with disabilities during this time.

In the Provo Daily Herald, Monica Villar writes about business diversity in a regular column called Their Voice. She is a training specialist with Rise Services and often advocates for persons with disabilities in the workplace. In her latest column, she writes about the need to expand the workforce through diversity, and how that plan can help meet community needs.

Fostering a better sense of diversity

The column begins with a scenario that has likely played out among many Utah businesses of all sizes in the past few weeks: Villar had to tell co-workers that her business was closing its doors temporaily. Specifically, she remembered the reactions of three customer service specialist who worked with walk-in customers.

“Their response to hearing that they would not be able to work for at least two weeks was a big reminder to me about how much this job means to them for many reasons beyond receiving a check,” Villar writes. “It is also a reminder to me about how important it is to continue to spread the word about inclusion in the workplace and encourage business owners to expand their workforces to include people with all abilities.”

Villar points out in her article that there’s still a lot of work to do when it comes to fostering better diversity in the workplace. She states that there have been trends in including more people with disabilities at Utah businesses, but a recent job fair in Provo showed her that it’s not quite at the level where it should be to be truly diverse.

“I believe that one of the biggest steps that employers could take would be to train their Human Resources and front line managers about working with the hugely untapped market of individuals who really want to work but require some level of accommodations,” she writes. “These types of accommodations come with little or no cost and mostly require a better level of knowledge and understanding.”

Changing attitudes for a more diverse workplace

A big step toward this would be changing the perception of hiring persons with disabilities, Villar writes. She said many businesses, with the right type of training, can create “a workplace of balance” that lets everyone who works for a business do so in a way that it is the most comfortable.

“I see that culture in my own workplace where differences are recognized but not allowed to interfere with relationships,” she states. “This is the reason that the three employees mentioned earlier did not want to stay home during this time of quarantine. They did not want to lose the social connection with their workplace peers.”

Villar suggests that business leaders look for places at their own place of work where a more diverse employees base could be encouraged. And, if that diversity is already in place, to use patience and help foster a culture of safety in order for employees to succeed.

A way to honor diverse businesses in Utah

Villar also talks about another state effort to honor businesses that are doing something about diverse workplaces: the Golden Key Awards. From now until May 29, there is a call for nominations at jobs.utah.gov for these awards, which are meant for Utah business that are doing great work in hiring, retaining, promoting and recruiting employees with disabilities.

The awards include ones for Business of the Year, the Ace Award for individuals or advocates, the new Freedom Award for companies that hire disabled veterans, the ASAP Achievement Award for state agencies, and Provider of the Year.

Online banking creates more ease for Utah businesses

At First Utah Bank, our community’s needs are our top priority, and we support your endeavors to embrace diversity in the workplace. We also want you to know that as a virtual business climate in Utah becomes more concrete, we have several great options for you to do your business banking online, including a recently improved website that doesn’t skimp on cybersecurity and safety.

Our website makes it easy to log in for Internet Banking, and if you are one of our Treasury Management customers, you can use our portal to get those services 24/7. Part of this ease is from a recent streamlining of the login process, and all while maintaining a strong level of security for your data.

With options ranging from apps to remote and mobile deposits, it’s easy to access everything you need at any time. To learn more about what we have to offer, go to our website or call First Utah Bank at 801-308-2265.