At the end of March, Talenya held a webinar called “Diversity Hiring: Strategies and Secrets”. Panelists Michele Shelton and Tamika Curry Smith, each of whom have extensive experience in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion space and run consultation firms which help businesses with their DEI strategies, gave their take on the requirements for diversity to take hold in a company. Gal Almog, Talenya CEO, also gave his insights. You can watch the whole webinar here, or read about their advice below.
Intention and Action
Thanks to the political climate of the last few years, there’s been a groundswell of support for greater equity in the workforce—but companies often put out a statement of support and stop there. But aside from stunting the growth of diversity in the first place, this can also cheapen an organization’s image as lacking follow-through or authenticity.
The first step is finding out about underrepresented groups’ experiences in the organization as employees or applicants, and to take constructive criticism with an open mind and the readiness to improve. It’s also a good idea to be totally transparent about these things with applicants.
Once the situation is laid out, the next step is to take stock of what resources the company has and whether it is capable of fully addressing the problem. Finally, an intentional plan of action with realistic benchmarks and accountability to the leader of the organization should be formed.
Integration: It’s Everyone’s Job
Diversity and inclusion must be integrated into every area of the company. Our panelists all stressed that DEI is often relegated to HR, and it often dies there. In reality, exclusion can happen in subtle ways throughout every single area of an organization; therefore inclusion is the business of every single department. Accordingly, the company leader is the one who should be accountable for DEI just as they are with any other essential operation.
Similarly, companies often fall into the trap of hiring a Chief Diversity Officer, but don’t give them authority or the resources to make real change. To genuinely improve things, CDOs need funding and the support of company leaders—even when the changes they need to make are outside the company’s comfort zone. Indeed, CDO churn is unprecedentedly high and the lack of support and funding is a very common reason for this.
Aside from being the right thing to do, creating diversity is just good for business. Numerous studies show that more diverse workforces make for more successful companies. Businesses that have measurably high diversity in their workforces have been shown to have higher market shares, higher stock prices, and more.
We can also think about this from the talent side and the investor side: having a DEI plan and demonstrable DEI KPIs is a requirement for many job seekers and many investors.
Considering the current labor market, the best talent can afford to look around and find the companies where they’ll be the most comfortable, who have values that line up to theirs. That means organizations who want to draw in the best talent need to live up to those values.
Resources and Tools
In 2020, hiring of Chief Diversity Officers increased by a whopping 84%. Yet the improvement expected in company culture and hiring simply has not materialized. In large part that’s because the CDO churn rate is so high, and because not enough funding is given to these efforts.
It’s important to make sure the most up-to-date and effective tools are available to hiring managers and CDOs, such as AI like Talenya’s which can put far more underrepresented candidates into an interview pipeline than any of the search methods commonly used by recruiters.
CDOs and company leaders may also wish to reach out to others in their professional spaces to consult on what has worked for others and possible solutions to common challenges.
Increasing diversity and employee inclusion may seem intuitive, but in reality it is sometimes a daunting task. However, it can absolutely done—and indeed, it must be done both for company success and for a more equal future of work. Some of the most important things to remember are to be intentional and create a realistic plan of action; to keep DEI efforts accountable to company leaders rather than a single department and to integrate them into all areas; and to set up DEI actors for success with funding, the best tools, and support for their efforts.