It’s okay to hire diverse workers, but not as the official voice of the company? A company I work with recently upgraded their phone system for their two offices situated in two different provinces. Their last system was top of the edge when they first installed it, but that was over a decade ago. It’s museum worthy now. It was time for a change.
In doing so, they also chose a new person voice to record all the auto attendant texts. The reason for the change is that the person who did all the voice recording for the previous system is retiring this year.
The only requirement for the new voice was the same as the previous one, must be perfectly bilingual (French & English). The employee selected was from our Quebec office since no one in our Ontario office was bilingual.
Once we recorded all of our auto attendant messages and went “live”, as the one responsible for the integration of new technology, I started receiving complaints from the Ontario based office.
Both offices are very diverse (First Nation, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Polish, etc.). It was always a point of pride since they can serve clients in a variety of languages. It never crossed my mind that the easily accepted diversity within the two offices would become an issue when recording our auto attendant messages. The complaints were all the same:
The complaints were all the same and very heartbreaking:
- Did we hire someone in India to do our voice?
- Since when does our company work in India?
- Why do we have a foreigner recording our office messages?
This came to a shock to me. I didn’t think I would be faced with such racism. I had rarely worked with a company that had such a diverse culture before. No one in the Quebec office voiced an issue, only the Ontario office and they wouldn’t let it go.
The person chosen speaks clearly in both French and English. She has a beautiful voice. She isn’t from India. She is Moroccan. She is a Canadian Citizen.
My reaction was to inform our Ontario office that this was the voice chosen by the head office and it was a final decision. I wasn’t going to let racism dictate the company’s actions.
My decision to stand ground was respected for about a month until I was pulled into a meeting with the president of the company telling me that their Ontario office would find their own voice and re-record all the message. I am to help them with the technical side.
I am fuming and voiced my disagreement with this decision. He explained that he is also in disagreement, but that the Ontario market isn’t ready for diversity when it comes to auto attendants and voicemail voices.
Personally, I completely disagree and I hate that we are letting a white minority win. Any suggestions?