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Why Small Businesses Need Diversity in Their Workforce

February 8th, 2017 Comments off
Diverse People Friendship Togetherness Connection Aerial View Concept

Small businesses do not always have to abide by the same “rules” as larger businesses when it comes to implementing diversity initiatives. Required or not, though, smart companies of any size should view a staff composed of employees from a variety of backgrounds as an asset. Consider the possible benefits diversity could add to your small business:

Improved innovation

Creativity and problem-solving abilities soar when people bring different perspectives to the table. The life experiences of a recent college graduate, for example, likely will be quite different than those of a seasoned professional. Each can offer a fresh way of looking at things, and this divergent thinking can be just what your small business needs to push itself to exciting heights.

Increased candidate pool

People want to work where they feel comfortable and appreciated. When your small business’s social media pages feature diversity in your workforce, it sends the message that your workplace is a welcoming environment. Even better if you display diversity among your management, which shows diverse candidates that they too could obtain leadership positions in the future.

Greater reach

Employees add more to your small business than just job-related skills. They bring in connections from their personal and professional circles, which can expand your small business’s customer base and exposure. Likewise, satisfied workers can be great employment brand ambassadors. As they tout your company on their own social media accounts, or speak highly of your workplace when dining with acquaintances, your small business lands on the radar of prospective talent. And if you go the extra mile by setting up an employee referral program, you stand to gain an assortment of interesting recommendations.

Boosted morale

When a veteran feels valued in a civilian workplace or an intellectually-challenged individual gets the chance to become self-sufficient through employment, they aren’t the only ones reaping the reward. Their positive attitude and ability to overcome obstacles oftentimes inspires fellow employees to work harder and complain less. Both in the office and out, people come to equate your small business with inclusion and caring.

A better bottom line

All these potential plusses of a diverse staff translate into something any small business owner can appreciate – monetary gain. In its annual Diversity Matters report, McKinsey & Company reported that “companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.” It also showed that “companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.”

When a small business views diversity as an opportunity for a range of talented individuals to work toward the same goals, great things are bound to happen!


Make your diversity initiatives go further. Check out 5 Ways to Set Your Small Business Employees Up for Success.

6 TED Talks Every Working Woman Needs to See

February 24th, 2016 Comments off
TEDTalksWomen

How is it that we can put a man on the moon, grow human organs from stem cells and make a “Full House” reboot happen, but we still can’t pay women as much as men? Women may have more rights and opportunities than they did since the “Mad Men” era, but true gender equality is still missing in many of today’s workplaces.

For anyone feeling hopeless about this lack of progress, the following TED Talks are for you. While focused on the unique struggles women face in the workplace, they also provide solutions and hope for a better, equality-focused future (for both genders).

Sheryl Sandberg: So we leaned in… now what?

In her follow-up to the talk that inspired the entire Lean In movement, “Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders“, Facebook COO Sandberg sits down with journalist Pat Mitchell to discuss her fears going into the now-famous talk, the reactions to — and success stories that have emerged from — her bestselling book, the opportunities that have opened up for women in the last several years, and the challenges that remain.

Elizabeth Nyamayaro: An invitation to men who want a better world for women

After struggling with the feeling of inequality throughout her childhood in Zimbabwe, Nyamayaro decided to pursue a career that would enable her to “lift other people up.” Now an employee at the UN, Nyamayaro recently helped launch HeForShe, an initiative that encourages men and women to come together to fight for shared equality. In a presentation reminiscent of another TED Talk, “Why gender equality is good for everyone – men included,” Nyamayaro discusses the positive impact HeForShe has had on both individuals (male and female) and entire communities. By the end, you’ll truly understand and believe in Nyamayaro’s own philosophy that “what we share is much more powerful than what divides us.”

Dame Stephanie Shirley: Why do ambitious women have flat heads?

“You can always tell ambitious women by the shape of our heads. They’re flat on top from being patted patronizingly,” Shirley jokes in her moving talk. The founder of an all-women software company in the 1960s, Shirley broke barriers and opened opportunities for women and other minorities. Her talk runs the gamut from funny to heartbreaking and everything in between. Throughout it all, she weaves a narrative of what it’s like to start and run a business amid personal and professional chaos, and the lessons she’s learned on the way.

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon: Women entrepreneurs, example not exception

In the U.S. alone, women-owned business will have created five and a half million new jobs between 2011 and 2018. Despite this, however, women are still often seen as a liability in the financial world, and it’s preventing them from reaching their full potential. “Those in small business can’t get the capital they need to expand, and those in micro-business can’t grow out of them.” And those who do break out of these barriers are seen as exceptions to the rule. In this talk, Lemmon discusses the importance of thinking bigger and not only investing in, but celebrating successful women – and thinking of them as examples to emulate, rather than exceptions to the rule.

Liz Donnelly: Drawing upon humor for change

At some point during her career as a cartoonist for the New Yorker, Liza Donnelly realized she could use her cartoons to do more than just make people laugh: She could inspire change. Now, in her frank and funny talk, Donnelly discusses the unwritten, often unclear and always changing rules of behavior our culture imposes on women – and how humor has the power to change these rules. Donnelly then challenges her audience to use humor to call out these rules and inspire change for good.

Madeleine Albright: On being a woman and a diplomat

You could probably watch Albright read the phone book (do those still exist?) aloud and still emerge a smarter, more enlightened person. Luckily, the former U.S. Secretary of State/living legend does so much more than that in this Q&A with Pat Mitchell, discussing the state of politics and feminism with charm, intelligence and humor. Albright provides insight into why so-called women’s issues are far from being just about women, and why we need to place a greater importance on them.

 

3 Ways to Establish an Enviable Diversity Program

November 23rd, 2015 Comments off
3 ways to establish a solid diversity program

There’s no denying that over the last few years, diversity initiatives have been thrust into the spotlight. Although organizations have touted their commitment to diversity for years, it was Intel CEO Brian Krazanich who, at this year’s CES event, put it most emphatically:

It is not good enough to say, ‘We value diversity’ and then not have a workplace that reflects the talent pool of women and under-represented minorities.”

Indeed, it’s one thing to talk about diverse hiring and another to actually implement a diversity program. And, of course, there are a multitude of other corporate strategies and initiatives that can throw your diversity program off track. So how can you use workforce analytics and data to not only develop a diversity strategy, but ensure it doesn’t lose momentum while being implemented throughout an organization?

1. Setting Proper Expectations.

First off, companies must set realistic goals around hiring objectives and strategies. For example, are you blindly tasking your recruitment teams to find a certain number of underrepresented female IT candidates? Depending on the markets in which you’re recruiting, these goals may look drastically different. Let’s use two strong IT markets as an example: Austin, Texas, and San Francisco, Calif.:

Austin, TX gender and race/ethnicity breakdown:

San Francisco, CA gender and race/ethnicity breakdown:

Although both markets are poised for growth over the next five years, the demographic makeup of these markets is drastically different. In fact, while white individuals make up almost 64 percent of software developers and programmers in Austin, less than 40 percent of Caucasians are working in San Francisco. Conversely, workers of an Asian background make up 53 percent of software developers in San Francisco, yet only 22 percent of software developers in Austin.

Understanding the demographic differences between markets and creating goals for recruiters in unique areas of the country will better enable more realistic expectations and hiring goals for your teams. You may even find your organization needs to adjust your larger recruitment strategy to support diversity initiatives.

2. Retaining a Diverse Workforce.

It’s no secret that diverse candidates are in higher demand than ever before, not simply to establish corporate goodwill, but also to improve a company’s bottom line. According to a recent McKinsey study, gender- and ethnically-diverse companies are 15 percent and 35 percent more likely to financially outperform their competitors, respectively. Knowing more companies are aggressively targeting diverse workforces, organizations must take steps to highlight themselves as an employer of choice for underrepresented talent.

The first, and easiest, way to find out what your employees want is by asking them! Start with your top-tier talent in roles that are difficult or costly to staff: What benefits are most important to them, and where could your organization improve? Of course, not every request can be fulfilled, but companies should listen to their employees first and consult externally second.

Second, companies should discover the types of benefits competitors are offering (and, to be clear, benefits aren’t what they were 20 years ago). Workers are changing faster than the workplace, and many companies are struggling to retain good people amid a competitive market and rising turnover.

This benefits information can usually be gathered by visiting an organization’s career site or job board. By modifying your own incentives, your organization may be able to retain great talent by offering benefits employees can’t easily find elsewhere.

3. Putting a Strategy In Motion.

What does your workforce look like today? The first step to establishing a diversity recruitment strategy is assessing your internal demographics. Most organizations will turn to their HRIS or internal reporting system to better understand the makeup of employees inside your four walls.

Assuming you have a hold on your internal staff, it’s imperative to benchmark against other companies within your market. Let’s say a company in the commercial banking industry is located in Chicago. Internal data shows the company’s gender, age, and race/ethnicity demographics. But without benchmarking, those numbers don’t provide much in the way of commentary. External data can paint a better picture of where your diversity efforts are successful and possible areas where you can improve.

 

Chicago MSA – Commercial Banking

 

Finally, where will the next generation of your talent come from? A successful diversity strategy can’t just live in the present; it also needs to showcase areas where you can recruit future employees.

University recruitment teams can use data from EMSI’s College Analyst tool to better identify which schools are graduating the most diverse talent. For instance, if our organization wanted to recruit students receiving their degree in finance, on which universities should our company focus our efforts? And what expectations should our recruitment team have when visiting these campuses? As the following snapshot shows, Baruch College and Florida International University produced the most diverse finance graduates in 2014.

Diversity6

 

It’s more important than ever to support your diversity initiatives and goals with labor market data and analysis. CareerBuilder and EMSI can bring this data to the forefront and help you establish a more fact-based diversity strategy.


ABOUT EMSI: Economic Modeling Specialists Intl., a CareerBuilder company, turns labor market data into useful information that organizations understand the connection between economies, people, and work. Using sound economic principles and good data, we build user-friendly services that help educational institutions and associations, among other clients, build a better workforce and improve the economic conditions in their regions.

Throughout the month of November, our resident talent advisors are focused on how recognition is vital for both talent acquisition and retention — and how the right technology tools can help you move the needle. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions.

Where Are the Women in Technology?

November 5th, 2015 Comments off
Where are the women in technology?

At this point, hearing someone say how competitive the hiring market is for tech may induce an eye roll, a groan and a “Tell us something we don’t know” from fellow recruiters and employers. Companies are fighting to win over (er, poach) their next potential hire from a million other suitors with promises of crazy-generous salaries and uber-luxurious perks (though whether these things are making workers happy in the long run is debatable), and to top it off, they’re faced with a growing STEM skills gap and hiring managers who demand a laundry list of skills on a bottom-dollar budget.

Something’s Missing

It’s safe to say recruiting in the tech industry can be a somewhat of a nightmare. Yet, it’s also clear that embracing diversity as an organization is essential to remaining competitive in the global economy.

While most employers would agree diversity in the workforce is both beneficial and needed in an era of skills shortages and cutthroat competition, a glaring oversight in the search for great tech candidates remains. Where are the women?

Half of our society’s greatest minds belong to women – and those minds help drive scientific, cultural and technological breakthroughs every single day. So, then, it’s puzzling that in the tech industry — an industry that thrives on innovation and creativity – the percentages of women filling tech roles is downright depressing. The gender breakdown below shows that in 2015, only a quarter of computer-related occupations nationwide are filled by females – and some say the stats on women in tech are actually getting worse. 

Occupation Gender Breakdown

Nationwide Computer Occupation Gender Breakdown; Computer Occupations (15-1100). Source: EMSI Analyst

Where to Start

When it comes to a strategy for recruiting more women in tech, an eye toward soon-to-be graduates is a great place to begin. With the help of EMSI’s College Analyst, recruiters and employers can easily determine which institutions to target, based on various factors such as graduation rates of women in certain majors. Tools like this can make it a lot easier to hire for entry-level positions for your tech teams, or to seek out and recruit recent graduates with the degree and skills you’re looking for in a particular position (and you can filter results by gender, race or ethnicity).

The table below, for example, shows the top five public and private not-for-profit universities that graduated women in computer and information science programs in California in 2014.  Using this data, any company interested in hiring female tech talent can see that University of Southern California, Stanford, and University of California-Berkeley are great resources of female talent.

Top 5 Public and Private Not-for-Profit Universities in California for Women; Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services (11). Source: EMSI College Analyst

Developing Your Strategy

As an employer or recruiter, you can use information like this to develop your college recruitment strategy. Benchmark against the schools with the highest ROI to learn what you’re up against and what kinds of numbers you should be striving for – and in which areas. If you are in an area with a dearth of any tech talent, let alone female tech talent, you can use College Analyst to determine where you may need to widen your geographic scope. And don’t forget – you won’t be the only employer targeting these soon-to-be graduates, so working to build your employment brand on campuses to become the employer of choice for female tech-related majors is a vital next step in the process.

Change the Ratio

Getting more women into tech roles IS possible – and not just possible, but within reach. If you are a woman who is already working in the technology space, you have the power to use your influence to encourage other women to explore technology careers. Share the gospel of your tech career: Start — and don’t stop — talking to others about why you love working in tech and why they might, too. Become a mentor. Network with other women and men in the field – and start a women’s network at your own company. Check out nonprofit efforts like GirlsWhoCode and BlackGirlsCode. Work to get in front of students of all ages, and partner with higher education institutions to bring about awareness, interest and opportunities to the field. Offer your expertise in areas where you see opportunity to do so; you can start by looking in your own community. Make your presence known.

The role employers play also has a lot to do with changing the gender ratio in tech (and in how quickly that happens). As an employer, you can’t acknowledge that the lack of minorities in tech is a problem, but then not do anything to change it at your own workplace. The tools are at your fingertips. The responsibility is on you to do your labor market research, then use the insight gleaned to get in front of your target hires and bring them on board.

Intel is helping the cause gain more momentum and just took a huge leap forward by forming a “Diversity in Technology” initiative – a plan which involves building a pipeline of female and underrepresented engineers and computer scientists. The plan is being headed up by Intel president Renée James – the highest-ranking female in the company’s history, and a fierce advocate for women and minorities in tech.

As Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said at the CES keynote:

It’s not good enough to say we value diversity and then have our workplaces and our industry not reflect the full availability and talent pool of women and underrepresented minorities.”

For those employers who want to take a cue from Intel and get an edge in hiring tech talent, recruitment analytics is an invaluable place to start. Tools that make it easy to filter supply and demand data by race, gender and ethnicity make it even easier for you.

Developing a strategy around bringing diverse backgrounds into the workforce is a potent one – one which will deepen your skill base and sharpen your competitive edge. A recent McKinsey study found that gender-diverse organizations are 15 percent more likely to financially outperform their competitors. Using the right tools will give you the insight you need in a world where recruitment strategies are developing into a technological arms race to source the most diverse candidates.

 

Learn more about how tools like EMSI Analyst and EMSI College Analyst can help you find — and hire — more women for your tech jobs.

Diversity Recruiting Initiatives Succeed with Data

October 30th, 2015 Comments off
Diverse recruiting initiatives succeed with data

Recruitment technology can help you do great things and hire astonishing people. The best software will give you important information on candidate pipelines and requisition performance.

But insight without action is pointless.

If developing diverse talent pipelines is important to you — and it should be — the best recruiting tech can help you manage your hiring process so you don’t inadvertently exclude diverse job seekers from your slate of candidates.

External market data drives diversity.

External market data available from a variety of sources — from your local newspaper to expert companies like EMSI, a CareerBuilder company — can help measure your current recruiting performance and determine areas of opportunity and risk. Labor benchmarks allow for comparisons between your organizations and competing businesses. In fact, a diversity initiative without external data isn’t an initiative at all: It’s just a guess. For example, let’s say you want to improve the gender diversity in your engineering group. Should you aim for a 50/50 split? 60/40? EMSI has data that indicates only 36 percent of engineers nationwide are women. Knowing this data point can help inform your diversity initiative.

Demographic data gives you all the information you need to establish a diversity hiring plan by age, gender or race/ethnicity. If there’s room for improvement in your diversity and inclusion initiatives, which there usually is, you will close the gaps by gleaning insights from external market data.

Diversity recruitment initiatives are driven by action.

One way to close the gap in your organization is to bridge the gap in your organization. There is no trying. There is only doing.

External market data can help move you from reflection to action. Using data to discover which regions have the greatest supply and concentration of diverse candidates will help you identify pockets of talent you may not have previously known existed. It will also show you for which types of occupations there is a greater opportunity to recruit diverse candidates. If you look at the specific analytics, you’ll know which schools develop a pipeline of diverse applicants.

Recruiting strategies vary, but they all rely on a central premise: You have to take action and hire people. Anything short of closing a requisition is just navel-gazing.

Making the case for a diverse and inclusive recruitment strategy.

Once you have an approach to developing diverse talent pipelines, you’ll probably need to explain your strategy to internal, and sometimes external, stakeholders.

Recruitment analytics is the key to driving change in any organization. The specific data you use to illuminate your case for change doesn’t matter; rather, your argument will hinge on both the insight you glean from your data and your ability to tell a story around it.

If your company’s narrative is X and you want to achieve Y, I suggest you pick one occupation and one region and tell a story about it. For example, if you want to hire more diverse lab technicians across your enterprise, pick one city that matters to your leadership team. Use your recruitment technology to understand your internal pipeline and hiring statistics. Then, use external labor market data to gain a better understanding of the diversity potential of lab technicians in the city or region you decide to focus on. That way, you can benchmark your hiring expectations against what actually exists in a particular market, set more realistic hiring goals and focus your recruitment efforts on already diverse markets.

Start small and start at the beginning.

There are many reasons why top-tier employers invest in regional college diversity and recruiting strategies. Namely, they work. If you focus on the top of your recruitment funnel, you will invest in relationships that will yield better talent pipelines for years to come.

Recruitment analytics changes everything.

Many talent acquisition teams hire recruiters who are salespeople. They are fluent in a language of staffing, but less comfortable talking about numbers or statistical modeling.

While data fluency is key to the future of human capital management, it’s also a skill you can find in the marketplace. Comprehensive labor market analysis exists in the cloud, and you can subscribe to easy-to-use Web tools and detailed dashboards that will help you survey the entire talent landscape. Great data yields the most successful recruiting results. Without data, you’re just guessing.

 

Learn more about recruitment analytics tools and platforms available by visiting Economic Modeling Specialists Intl., a CareerBuilder company that turns labor market data into useful information that helps organizations understand the connection between economies, people and work.

Why I’m Not a Diversity Officer

April 24th, 2015 Comments off
iStock_000047271920Large

I am a black woman. In recruiting.

Over the years, I’ve had opportunities to work on diversity teams. I have been invited to interview for roles in Diversity & Inclusion. I have been called upon to weigh in on issues of diversity. I have been the guest of honor at meetings that start and end with the assertion that more diverse candidates should be added to every slate.

Here is my typical response:

You don’t need a diverse candidate “slate.” I am not a fan of creating slates of candidates that include a mandatory number of diverse candidates. These efforts, while well intentioned, don’t always lead to increased hiring of diverse candidates. If your objective is to increase diversity in your organization, then your strategy should include increased hiring of diverse people, not simply interviewing a higher number of diverse candidates.

WHAT WORKS?

To find diverse candidates, take a close look at your sourcing strategy. If your recruiting process hasn’t been updated since the turn of the century, you’re probably missing out on diverse candidates.

EXAMINE YOUR BIAS FOR/AGAINST SOURCING CHANNELS

Sourcing diverse candidates means that you must expand your sourcing channels and methods. Many organizations rely heavily on referrals or favor specific sourcing methods. Diverse candidates will learn about your company via different channels. First generation college graduates or experienced professionals from different industries may not have contacts in your organization, rendering them invisible to your referral networks.

I once worked with a leader who was committed to hiring more diverse candidates. Unfortunately, she was very rigid about the college programs from which she wanted to recruit MBAs. I pointed out that the full-time MBA programs that she favored were not very diverse. If she were willing to recruit from part-time and night programs, she would find more diverse students. It took several conversations to help her see that her bias against part-time programs was unfounded, but eventually we were able to source from a greater variety of schools and programs.

Review your sourcing strategy, and just as importantly, your attitudes toward certain sourcing channels. A bias against job board candidates could result in shutting off candidates who do not have access to your employees via referrals and networking.

ADD DIRECT SOURCING AND RECRUITING EVENTS TO THE MIX

I was once recruited by a large Fortune 100 organization because the company empowered a recruiter to go out and informally network with diverse people in the city. The recruiter, whom I didn’t know, called me and asked to meet for 20 minutes. We had a pleasant “get to know you” chat. She didn’t even try to recruit me. At the end of our talk, she left her card and inquired if I was connected to any other diverse professionals in the community. When I decided I wanted to consider that company, I called her first. It was not a high-tech, highly scalable, efficient recruiting method. But it was a very effective way to build a network of diverse people in the community because it enables the recruiter to get to know people in a community, industry or function.

QUESTION EVERYTHING

Your sourcing process may feel fair, rigorous and comprehensive. However, if your hiring managers regularly make decisions based on “personality” or “gut feel,” you will have a hard time diversifying your workforce. Hiring managers should be well trained on how to interview and assess candidates based on the job requirements, skills and behavioral traits required. They should be great at asking probing questions to understand a candidate’s story. They should be able to articulate hiring decisions and place each hire in the context of the contributions he or she will make to the company in the short-term and over the long haul.

TAKE MORE RISKS

Half-hearted attempts to increase diversity are the primary reasons I’m not a diversity officer. Organizations that want to tackle the challenge of diversifying will have to be creative, try some new things, and take a few risks. Hire people who are competent and accomplished, even if they don’t seem likable to you. Hire from different industries or geographies. Spend money on relocation, onboarding, and training. Promote from lower in the ranks.

ONE MORE THOUGHT

Often companies have plenty of diverse people. Just not among executives or professionals. If this describes your company, develop a pipeline of candidates from the mailroom, customer service, operations or field jobs. Commit to helping new hires learn how to navigate your organization and be successful

It isn’t easy, but it can be done!

Webinar Recap: Establish a Diversity and Inclusion Strategy with a Purpose

April 22nd, 2015 Comments off
New Webinar: How to Make Employee Investment a Reality

Workforce diversity is a touchy subject, and it can be all the more difficult to tackle with an ad hoc approach. With the increasing diversity of the population and the workforce, it’s more important than ever to have an effective diversity and inclusion strategy in place at your organization.

Jennifer McClure, president of Unbridled Talent, hosted a webinar this week to help HR managers understand their role in addressing workforce diversity and how to effectively implement a diversity and inclusion strategy.

Here are a few highlights from the webinar:

There’s strong consensus. Nearly all (96 percent) of executives agree that addressing D&I leads to increased employee engagement and improved business results.

The first step is evaluation. Know where your organization currently stands in regards to workforce diversity. Gather information from employee surveys, internal focus groups and labor market data.

Tie D&I goals to business goals. When setting goals for your D&I strategy, look to your organization’s overall long-term goals for guidance. Aligning D&I goals with business goals makes them easier to accomplish and less likely to be ignored or overlooked.

Establish metrics. Metrics provide a means to objectively measure and track the progress of your company’s D&I initiative. Look for factors such as representation by job level, comparative career progression and pay disparities.

Want to learn more? Check out the webinar slides for more on how to implement your diversity and inclusion plan:

April Twitter Video Chat: HR’s Role in Workforce Diversity

April 20th, 2015 Comments off
April Twitter Video Chat: HR’s Role in Workforce Diversity

As an HR professional, you’re familiar with your organization’s strategies and goals. As a talent advisor, you understand the advantages of a diverse workforce. This puts you in a unique position to help your organization set and achieve diversity and inclusion goals that align with and advance existing business goals.

Our friendly team of talent advisors — Laurie RuettimannTim Sackett, Steve Browne and Neil Morrison — got together to discuss workforce diversity in our monthly Talent Advisor Twitter video chat. Take a look at the video below to hear what they had to say:

Watch the Twitter Video Chat

>> Follow our amazing talent advisors on Twitter: @CBforEmployers @lruettimann @jennifermcclure @timsackett @sbrownehr @akabruno @neilmorrison

We welcome all human resources professionals, recruiters and talent acquisition leaders to become part of the evolution! Sign up now to start getting Talent Advisor in your inbox.

Miss last month’s Talent Advisor Twitter chat? Here’s a recap so you can get up to speed. Join us for a brand new Twitter video chat at 12 p.m. Central on Tuesday, May 26. And follow us on Storify for regular updates.

5 Different Ways to Think About Diversity at Work

April 17th, 2015 Comments off
Intersection

I believe that we are at an inflection point with organizational diversity and inclusion efforts.

What got us to this point is not likely enough to take us forward. It’s time to hit the reset button on some of the mindsets and practices we apply to this work. Whether you are just getting started, trying to breathe new life into a stalled out effort or chasing greater impact, here are some potential “next practices” for your team, department or organization.

Language

Clarity is one of your best and most underrated friends. If “diversity,” and “inclusion” mean something different to everyone, you do not have a common language. It means you will fight an uphill battle. Take your language back! Proactively provide concise, common language so that everybody is talking about the same thing when the words diversity and inclusion are used.

Behavioral Science

There are good people in the world–you are probably one of them. Good people are open-minded, nonjudgmental and without bias. Then, of course, there are bad people. Bad people are close-minded, biased and judgmental, right?

A lot of folks and a lot of organizations are still wrapped up in this antiquated mindset. We know enough today about human beings — and especially the human brain — to know that there is no such thing as a nonjudgmental human being. People are automatically and naturally judgmental as humans, no hatred or fear is required. Rather than proclaiming our “goodness,” talent advisors can actually use insights from behavioral science to mitigate the bias that shows up naturally.

Bias is running amok inside our existing talent practices. Behavioral science is your secret weapon.

Decision-Making

As the eyes are the window to the soul, how you make decisions says a lot about your culture and about what is valued. Do you intentionally bring a diversity of experiences, identities and perspectives together to fuel your decision-making and problem-solving efforts? Intentional and evidence-based decision-making processes will help you rethink your diversity and inclusion strategies.

Conflict

Greater potential for tension and conflict is one of the natural by-products of greater diversity. Conflict, done the right way, can be incredibly valuable. Do you do it the right way? Or do you avoid it all costs? Or is it a disaster? Without a robust mix of inputs and an intentional process, it is pretty hard for groups of humans to avoid groupthink. Embrace conflict, and if you can’t, find someone who can help you mediate the difficult discussions in your company.

TRULY HIRING for Inclusion

You might be in the midst of an effort to bring more diversity into your applicant pool. You may be trying to remove bias from the hiring decision. Are you also hiring for inclusion? Diversity and inclusion are truly important to your organization, yet many of your employees are incredulous when they “have to talk about diversity yet again!” Make sure that expectations of inclusive behaviors are clear in job descriptions, interviews, onboarding, performance reviews, succession planning and promotion processes.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Much is changing in the world of work. Our tools and organizational strategies are changing. How we communicate and share resources is changing. The very meaning of the word “talent” is changing. HR and recruiting professionals must look around and radically transform their approach to diversity and inclusion. I hope the “next practices” that I provided to you are helpful when you have an opportunity to do just that.

Diversity Initiatives Succeed Through Intentional Observation Techniques

April 15th, 2015 Comments off
Three Wise Business Monkeys

A few years ago at the closing session of the Ohio SHRM Conference, the keynote speaker asked for all of the men in the room to stand up as part of his presentation. Six of us stood up in a room well over 400 people. After the sounds of laughter subsided, the six of us sat down. I am in a field that is predominantly made up of women, and yet men still get the majority of focus in companies in many ways.

The workforce of 2015 is becoming a better mix of how society looks. More and more women are in leadership roles and diversity issues are being addressed in more forthright way. It is exciting, but much of this shift is just happening because the population is shifting. Companies are hiring new people who are available, and those workers look less homogenized than they did ten years ago.

Talent Advisors need to be intentional observers.

Too often, we get buried in the midst of the pace of day-to-day demands. However, when we do that, we lose sight of people around us. Our employees show up every day to work, but we don’t take any particular notice that they are there. We expect them to be at work, and, to be honest, we spend far more time on compliance than we do on their wants and needs. We track those who don’t show up instead of using our energy to develop those who come every single day.

You will be more effective in your role as a talent advisor by stepping back and making sure that people don’t get missed or fall through the cracks of the organization. An area that still has a great opportunity to grow in companies is the development of women and minorities. We assume that our “diversity programs” will make sure no one is missed, but those programs are often the lofty equivalent of cat posters that hang on walls. Behavior takes action, and we have to be the ones who make sure that action occurs.

Development is also something that doesn’t occur nearly enough. We have massive performance management systems that make for great report cards, but they rarely develop anyone. Developing talent is needed both for people to perform well in their current roles as well as a method to identify leaders for the future.

Organizations are still predominantly led by white Baby Boomer males, and I’m allowed to say this since I am in human resources, and I’m a white male who is a fringe Gen Xer. There is a bias that exists where we will develop people who are more like us than those who are different than us. Talent advisors need to develop all employees. In doing this, we can also make a significant difference.

I believe that HR can pull people together, based on their strengths, and combine people who may not be the “same.” We can help employees learn from each other. We can make this happen in project teams, mentoring programs and through organizational design.

As intentional observers, we can never assume. We have to be the ones who see everyone and make sure they’re noticed, accounted for and connected to the organization. Taking this intentional action is an important first step to ensuring that nobody is left behind.

So, shed your biases and step back. Take note of all of the great people who work with you. Step up and make sure everyone gets developed and unified. Being observant will make the assumptions dissipate, and you are sure to find hidden talent come to life.

Where are the Women and Minority Leaders of HR?

April 10th, 2015 Comments off
Meeting

Naomi Bloom recently shared her thoughts on why so many companies fail to promote women and minorities into key HR leadership posts. This week, I wanted to share ideas on this topic from other successful human resources professionals who have shaped my thinking as a talent advisor.

Heather Bussing is a California-based attorney. She has practiced employment and business law for almost 30 years. I asked Ms. Bussing why employers are so slow to hire women and minority leaders. She writes,

It’s only been a few generations since women and minorities were the property of white men. Women got the right to vote in 1920 when the 19th Amendment was passed. Black and Native American men were granted voting rights earlier but are still fighting to exercise them.

There’s more than enough opportunity to go around. One person’s success is not contingent on another’s failure. It is not a war, competition, or a coup. There is plenty for everyone to do, make, and achieve. Equality is coming, but it is a slow burn. As we teach our children differently, and they teach theirs, eventually things will change.

I like the optimism, but I wonder — will things change? Susan LaMotte is seasoned HR veteran who founded exaqueo, a Washington DC-based firm that builds cultures, employer brands and human capital strategies using data and insight. Susan writes,

One major challenge as I see it is with the decision makers. We’ve long known that hiring is rife with unconscious bias. We hire people who are like us. So when you have older, white males who occupy many of the decision-making roles, it’s not hard to wonder why there are so many white men in those positions.

I do worry that many influential leaders are stuck in an unconscious psychological trap. How do you break the mold and hire someone new if you’re not aware of your own behaviors?

Charlie Judy is a Chicago-based HR executive who has some thoughts on how to elevate the role of women and minorities in corporate American.

As long as white males occupy the preponderance of the C-Suite, a more deliberate and methodical process for breaking this cycle is necessary. Don’t leave the hiring decision up to one or two people. Make sure you have a diversely represented selection committee and make sure everyone on that committee has a real voice. Consider having the selection committee justify executive-level recommended candidates to the Board of Directors, too.

And I don’t think there is anything wrong with requiring the recruiting team to present at least one “qualified” female or ethnically diverse candidate for every “qualified” executive white male they present. If they can’t do that, then your recruiting team has other issues.

I like that advice because it’s tasking the modern-day talent advisor with expanding her sourcing pool. There’s nothing wrong with that. But what about after the decision is made? How do you set your new executive up for success?

I asked Sue Meisinger, former CEO of SHRM, if she has any advice for women and minorities who are looking to succeed as HR leaders. She writes,

Some smart HR professionals stay in their lane too often, rather than contribute their intellect to other aspects of the business. CEOs are looking for innovation, creativity and intelligence from anywhere they can get it. Don’t limit your contribution.

When it comes to gender, women should be mindful of what the research says. Men who feel minimally qualified for a new role will raise their hand and apply while a woman is more likely to feel they have to be completely qualified before applying. All new HR executives should be willing to raise your hands for new challenges, even if you don’t feel ready for it. You’re probably as ready as the next guy, and if you don’t get the job, at least you’ve signaled you have ambition.

I think that’s wise advice from Ms. Meisginger that is useful for all talent advisors who are trying to break stereotypes and take a proactive, strategic role in an organization’s talent management needs.

True Life: I Am a Talent Advisor and I’m Proud to Work for My Mom

April 8th, 2015 Comments off
iStock_000001637391Large

I have had women tell me what to do for my entire life. In a way, this starts with my Mom.

My Mom is the toughest business person I know.

I was raised by a single mother who also decided to run a “staffing” company called HRU Technical Resources, the company I run now. My grandmother was my mother’s primary investor to get her off the ground.

My Mom is the toughest business person I know. She does man-business better than any man I’ve ever met. She doesn’t lean in, either. She pushes [!@#$] over. My mother doesn’t understand the idea that women make better leaders because they are more empathetic and understanding. She leads. She leads like Jack Welch leads.

Then I met my wife.

My wife is a Hall of Fame NCAA D1 athlete who beat me at racquetball the very first time she ever played the game. I was killing people at racquetball in college for months. I begged her to play me. She killed me three straight games. I left the court and tossed my racquet into a trash can. To this day, I have never played racquetball ever again.

I’ve been fortunate to have strong, powerful women in my life.

But having a strong wife and a mother who is like Jack Welch hasn’t been the easiest. Many women-owned businesses are also family businesses, and Harvard Business Review estimates that 70% of family-owned business fail or are sold by the second generation. My mother ran our staffing business very well for almost 30 years.

As the current leader, I carry pressure with me like a backpack every single day I walk into the office.

Staffing is a quirky business.

The basis of recruiting will never change.

  1. People like being pursued. People like to be wanted.
  2. When someone calls you (or sends you a smoke signal about a job), you want to hear about it.

In that way, staffing is a very simple business concept.

While Mom might not understand social recruiting, she always knew how to get someone interested in an opportunity. You have an opening. You need to go find someone to fill that opening. Simple and hard.

Staffing is no longer staffing

Staffing has developed into a formidable field of recruiters, talent acquisition professionals and talent advisors. How you sell to this industry has changed, too.

I remember the first time I ever truly impressed my Mom. I had an opportunity to speak about recruiting at the Michigan State Annual SHRM conference. My mother decided to come watch me speak, but she also told me it was a waste of time because I could have been on the phone making placements.

Mom didn’t pay to get into the conference, by the way. She just walked in, and no one questioned her. People don’t question someone who carries herself with authority.

It was a packed room, thankfully, and my mother sat in the back. I spoke to corporate HR folks about how they could be more effective talent advisors and spend less money on third-party recruiters. I gave them the plan to put us out of business, knowing how much corporate recruiters hate picking up the phone and doing actual recruiting.

It went great. I had a line of folks waiting to talk to me after and hand me their business cards!

My mother busted her butt her entire life to get in front of HR leaders. There were times when she begged for just a few minutes to talk about our company’s value proposition and why we could help. And there I was standing in front of a line of these same people as they jostled to meet me.

I could see that my mother was very impressed, although she never said it. I can also say that I’m the first man in my family to be worthy of leading a women-owned business.

That moment? It’s what I’m most proud of as a talent advisor.

Sackett and Mom

New Webinar: Establish a Diversity & Inclusion Strategy With a Purpose

April 6th, 2015 Comments off
New Webinar: How to Make Employee Investment a Reality

It’s no secret that the U.S. population and workforce are becoming more diverse – in fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2044 white Americans will no longer comprise a racial majority in the U.S. To keep up with this trend, HR managers need to make diversity and inclusion in the workplace a priority – by establishing a strong diversity & inclusion strategy for their organization.

Join Jennifer McClure – President of Unbridled Talent – for CareerBuilder’s Talent Advisor webinar, where she’ll break down the importance of having a Diversity & Inclusion Strategy, and practical advice on how to get started.

Join CareerBuilder and Jennifer McClure for a complimentary webinar on Tuesday, Apr. 21 at 12:00 P.M. Central: 

ESTABLISH A DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION STRATEGY WITH A PURPOSE

In this webinar, Jennifer will cover:

  • Why having an established D&I strategy is crucial to business success
  • Tips for how to get leadership support
  • Concrete steps to start creating an effective strategy

 

Don’t miss out! REGISTER NOW.

The ROI Of Bringing Diversity And Inclusion To HR And The C-Suite

April 3rd, 2015 Comments off
Silhouettes Of Business People Around The Conference Table With

It’s likely that all business leaders will agree that establishing an effective Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Strategy is the right thing to do for their organization. It makes logical sense to provide employment and advancement opportunities for people of all races, codes and creeds. It also makes sense to provide an environment where all people are encouraged to flourish.

However, there are two types of strategies in the business game: those that are the right thing to do, and those that are tied to strategic objectives.

Only one of these actually gets done.

With this knowledge, how can the proactive talent advisor ensure that their organization’s D&I Strategy becomes (and remains) a priority that gets the focus and attention it needs to ensure implementation?

Provide data, information and resources to help executives make the connection between successful D&I strategies and positive impact on the bottom line.

To remain competitive in the global economy, it will be necessary for businesses to embrace and reflect the diversity of the their customers, the workforce, and the global population – which are all becoming increasingly diverse.

While this diversity can pose some organizational challenges, research reveals that it can also create opportunities, including:

 

Make the business case for why a defined D&I strategy is essential to your organization’s success.

Nothing in life is free. A Diversity and Inclusion Strategy will require an investment of money, time and resources to ensure success. Because of this, talent advisors must build a business case to get executive buy-in and share the ROI of successful implementation. There are four steps in building a successful business case:

  1. Define the problem – What will happen if the organization does not implement a D&I Strategy? What opportunities will be missed?
  2. Use data to quantify how the problem impacts business results – If a D&I Strategy is not implemented, what will this cost the organization in terms of revenue, profit, productivity, quality and/or reputation?
  3. Evaluate solutions and make a recommendation – If your organization currently does not have a D&I Strategy in place, start small. Break the strategy up into phases to get executives to see the possibilities.
  4. Quantify how the recommended solution positively impacts results – Detail how a successful implementation of the D&I Strategy will enable the company to make more money, increase customer satisfaction, improve retention, improve engagement, etc.

 

Establish D&I metrics to raise visibility and ensure accountability for results.

Metrics are necessary in order to gain clarity and commitment from leadership, and they must be tied to organizational outcomes to ensure focus. According to recent research conducted by i4cp, high performing organizations are more likely to directly connect D&I efforts to business outcomes than low performing organizations (54% vs. 41% of low-performers).

Developing and sustaining a culture that is supportive of diversity and inclusion efforts will take time, and will require the understanding and commitment of all employees. However, any success achieved will be directly tied to level of support and involvement of those at the executive level.

Tie Diversity and Inclusion Strategy to strategic objectives to ensure that it gets done. And to get the C-suite on board, make the objectives meaningful, measurable and personal. What gets measured (and incentivized) gets done.

Play the game to win!

The ROI Of Bringing Diversity And Inclusion To HR And The C-Suite

April 3rd, 2015 Comments off
Silhouettes Of Business People Around The Conference Table With

It’s likely that all business leaders will agree that establishing an effective Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Strategy is the right thing to do for their organization. It makes logical sense to provide employment and advancement opportunities for people of all races, codes and creeds. It also makes sense to provide an environment where all people are encouraged to flourish.

However, there are two types of strategies in the business game: those that are the right thing to do, and those that are tied to strategic objectives.

Only one of these actually gets done.

With this knowledge, how can the proactive talent advisor ensure that their organization’s D&I Strategy becomes (and remains) a priority that gets the focus and attention it needs to ensure implementation?

Provide data, information and resources to help executives make the connection between successful D&I strategies and positive impact on the bottom line.

To remain competitive in the global economy, it will be necessary for businesses to embrace and reflect the diversity of the their customers, the workforce, and the global population – which are all becoming increasingly diverse.

While this diversity can pose some organizational challenges, research reveals that it can also create opportunities, including:

 

Make the business case for why a defined D&I strategy is essential to your organization’s success.

Nothing in life is free. A Diversity and Inclusion Strategy will require an investment of money, time and resources to ensure success. Because of this, talent advisors must build a business case to get executive buy-in and share the ROI of successful implementation. There are four steps in building a successful business case:

  1. Define the problem – What will happen if the organization does not implement a D&I Strategy? What opportunities will be missed?
  2. Use data to quantify how the problem impacts business results – If a D&I Strategy is not implemented, what will this cost the organization in terms of revenue, profit, productivity, quality and/or reputation?
  3. Evaluate solutions and make a recommendation – If your organization currently does not have a D&I Strategy in place, start small. Break the strategy up into phases to get executives to see the possibilities.
  4. Quantify how the recommended solution positively impacts results – Detail how a successful implementation of the D&I Strategy will enable the company to make more money, increase customer satisfaction, improve retention, improve engagement, etc.

 

Establish D&I metrics to raise visibility and ensure accountability for results.

Metrics are necessary in order to gain clarity and commitment from leadership, and they must be tied to organizational outcomes to ensure focus. According to recent research conducted by i4cp, high performing organizations are more likely to directly connect D&I efforts to business outcomes than low performing organizations (54% vs. 41% of low-performers).

Developing and sustaining a culture that is supportive of diversity and inclusion efforts will take time, and will require the understanding and commitment of all employees. However, any success achieved will be directly tied to level of support and involvement of those at the executive level.

Tie Diversity and Inclusion Strategy to strategic objectives to ensure that it gets done. And to get the C-suite on board, make the objectives meaningful, measurable and personal. What gets measured (and incentivized) gets done.

Play the game to win!

Diversity and Inclusion Begins with Smart, Nuanced Conversations

April 1st, 2015 Comments off
Conversation

Talent advisors around the world are well intentioned, compassionate leaders who work hard to create a culture of fairness, equality and inclusion. They accept the challenge of shattering glass ceilings and including diverse voices in conversations. They lead by example and work hard to overcome personal and institutional biases.

And yet the challenge remains to improve female and minority representation in the boardroom and the executive suite of many global corporations. Germany recently took one approach and passed a law that requires many companies to give 30 percent of board seats to women beginning in 2016. Other countries, such as Britain and the United States, rely on a mix of market pressure and shame to goad more companies into elevating women and minorities into key leadership roles.

Let’s face it. Whatever approach your organization takes to improve its talent pipeline and create a culture of equitable talent development, you can probably do more.

Most conversations about diversity and inclusion lack nuance, which is why we want to elevate the discourse during the month of April.

This month, the contributors to the Talent Advisor Portal will work hard to share case studies and examples of strong diversity and inclusion programs. They will demonstrate the ROI of diversity. And they will speak to the broader themes of building heterogeneous leadership practices at your company.

They will also have a little fun, thank goodness, and share the lessons they have learned during their careers as talent advisors, teachers and HR leaders.

We encourage you to leave comments and share your HR-related stories of diversity and inclusion initiatives, too!

4.9 million more female workers in America’s workforce since 2001

March 30th, 2015 Comments off
temp jobs

A recent CareerBuilder special report explores how an increasingly diverse population is affecting the composition of nearly 800 occupations by gender, age and race/ethnicity.

Among key findings, data shows that there are more women in the workforce today than at any point in U.S. history. In 2014, 49 percent of jobs were held by women, compared to 48 percent in 2001. That amounts to 4.9 million more female workers since 2001, compared to just 2.2 million additional male workers.

What does this mean for you?

The growing number of women in the workforce is important to take a closer look at, because it reveals deeper problems in hiring that are contributing to a growing gap in equal pay between men and women.

Since 2001, men have gained a greater share of jobs in 72 percent of all occupations; women, 21 percent. In addition, men are gaining in higher-paying jobs, on average, while women are mostly gaining in low-paying, male-majority jobs. The major pay disparity becomes apparent when looking at the average median earning per hour, with men earning $25.51/hour and women $20.19/hour.

To learn more about diversity in today’s workforce,

DOWNLOAD FULL REPORT: “The Changing Face of U.S Jobs”
DOWNLOAD REPORT CHARTS AND GRAPHS

How Can You Attract More Female Candidates and Boost Company Performance?

March 17th, 2015 Comments off
Magnet

Research suggests that companies with a diverse workforce perform better than companies with less diversity. In particular, companies with a higher representation of women on their boards see a higher return on equity, sales and invested capital than companies with a lower representation.

But is there a recipe for recruiters to attract more female candidates? A recently published research paper in one of the top economics journals suggests there is!

To attract more female candidates:

  • Avoid using male connotations, such as sports metaphors, pictures that only present male workers, etc. in your job ads.
  • Limit the share of compensation that depends on performance rank. For example, this kind of compensation regime would give a low baseline compensation topped up by a large bonus for the employee who gets the top sales performance. It turns out that both female and male applicants are deterred by this type of competitive compensation, and so you would get fewer applicants overall. However, women are even more deterred by such compensation regimes than men are. Therefore, this competitive compensation scheme results in a smaller and more male-dominated pool of applicants.
  • If you must use performance pay tied to rank, be even more careful to avoid any male connotations in the job ad, as these two together have a very strong deterring effect on women.

 

You may think that compensation that depends on performance rank will attract more qualified female candidates. The study shows that this is not the case. In fact, competitive pay does not increase the experience or education level of female candidates. Therefore, by limiting the share of compensation that depends on performance rank, you attract more and no less qualified female candidates.

By avoiding male connotations and limiting the share of compensation that depends on performance rank, you can attract more female candidates, which means that you have a larger pool of applicants to choose from. This increases your chances of finding a great female candidate and can help you boost your company’s performance through greater diversity.