Hiring Diverse Candidates Is Not Enough — It’s About Keeping Them

Hiring Diverse Candidates Is Not Enough -- It's About Keeping Them

By Maynard Webb, Forbes Contributor

 

We all know that building a company that embraces diversity is the right thing to do, ethically. But it’s also the right thing to do to make your company stronger. The performance of your business will be better if you are more diverse because your  company will be more representative of society as a whole. It better understands its customers, its community and its purpose. Don’t just take my word for it: there’s evidencethat diverse and women-friendly workplaces perform better. A report from McKinsey & Company indicates that the top racially diverse tech companies are 35% more likely to have financial returns higher than the tech sector’s national median. Companies that are more gender diverse are 15% more likely to outperform others, and those that are ethnically diverse are 35% more likely to do better than others. 

 

And yet, in Silicon Valley, where I live and work — and a place that I love for its commitment to innovation and support of founders — has been exposed as an environment that could be vastly improved for a large percentage of the working population.  There’s room and reason for all of us to become better at building workplaces that support and celebrate diversity.

 

As a leader you have to do some important work to allow all that talent to thrive — and this means creating an environment of inclusion and belonging. I went to a panel of experts for advice on what to do to build this kind of workplace. Here’s what they had to say:

 

Examine your culture. Diversity isn’t something you can just hire your way out of. To truly make the workplace more inclusive, evaluate your methods of mentorship and promotion.

 

Support a culture that celebrates inclusion. Embracing diversity requires means that you may need to change the way you work to accommodate a broad range of people.  Employ policies that are equitable for both men and women.  

 

Just as you have to be aware of unconscious biases in the hiring process, it’s important to mitigate issues like unconscious bias through all phases of the employee life cycle. Particular areas to evaluate and make sure they are inclusive include the evaluation process, promotions and succession planning.

 

Understand that workplace enhancements that also promote diversity and inclusion are also efforts that help traditional workers, as well as millennials.  This may including promoting work-life balance; demonstrating the meaning in the work, and rewarding loyalty — all of which are important to many types of workers.  Find a way to welcome and celebrate everyone and ensure no one feels isolated. Provide gender-neutral bathrooms and everything employees need to feel comfortable.

 

Listen. Consider developing a task force internally, made up of anyone who is committed to seeing your business become more diverse. Meet monthly, and give them latitude to take practices from other companies and employ them. Listen earnestly to their suggestions. And give them the latitude to speak and write about their findings — it may be uncomfortable, but building transparency about your company’s interest in improvement will help to win over your next generation of employees.  Solicit feedback from your diverse candidates and ask them to score how you are doing and share what they think you can do better.

 

Grow the circle wider. As you work to become a more modern, inclusive workplace, I encourage you to expand your circle of concern outward. Consider building an internship program with all-female or historically black universities. Adopt a school in an at-risk neighborhood, and send them supplies, bring students into the office, and commit to the school’s improvement. Let your employees tell the story of your company’s journey, in the hopes that you inspire others to follow you.

 

Remember this work must be constant and it requires your consistent commitment and nourishment, but with it you will see the rewards.

 

 

 

 

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How Diversity Officers Change Corporate Culture

How Diversity Officers Change Corporate Culture

These executives change hiring practices, oversee trainings and measure company climate.

By Rebecca Koenig, US News

 

BY 2045, PEOPLE OF color will make up the majority of the U.S. population.

 

That demographic shift, predicted by the U.S. Census Bureau, is one reason why companies are starting to take workplace diversity, inclusion and equity more seriously. In corporate America, this has manifested in part through the proliferation of chief diversity officers, who are charged with creating policies and climates supportive of workers from an array of backgrounds.

 

As of 2012, 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies had diversity executives, according to the Wall Street Journal.

 

"It's becoming standard across companies," says Allison Scott, chief research officer at the Kapor Center, which aims to increase diversity in the technology and entrepreneurship sectors. "I think that's a promising and important sign."

 

However, having a chief diversity officer on the payroll is not a panacea, researchers say.

 

"That all sounds good and well, but in the past there wasn't as much accountability for it," says Kisha Jones, assistant professor of psychology at Pennsylvania State University. "You could get an A for effort for attempting the different practices but not have to show how change happens."

 

Still, the presence of a diversity executive in the C-suite is one sign job seekers should look for when assessing whether a company is equipped to hire and retain diverse workers and effectively market to the heterogeneous customer base of the future.

 

Learn more about what these officers do and other signs to look for when evaluating a company's commitment to diversity.

 
Duties and Conditions for Success

 

The work of diversity officers, also known as equal opportunity professionals, cuts across departmental boundaries. They influence hiring, training and company cultural practices that relate to three "big buckets," explains Archie Ervin, vice president and chief diversity officer at the Georgia Institute of Technology and president of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.

 

The first is diversity, which is descriptive of the ways in which people differ. The second is inclusion, or the extent to which people thrive in a particular institutional setting. The third is equity, or fairness, which is governed in part by federal policies such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (banning workplace discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion and national origin) and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 

 For hiring, diversity officers may work with human resources and recruiting teams to measure the breakdown of job applicant and candidate pools by gender, race and other characteristics and suggest changes to remove hiring barriers preventing different sets of people from getting jobs. They may oversee training programs related to unconscious bias, run workshops about communicating effectively in teams or plan classes about civility in the workplace. To better understand the state of a company's climate, officers may issue surveys asking employees how satisfied they are in their roles, then look for patterns in the results that suggest racial, gender or other disparities.
 
 
Among the conditions critical to diversity officer success are reporting directly to the CEO, having a mandate to set strategies and possessing the authority to hold managers and workers accountable for meeting goals. One of the most important conditions is building a strong business case to justify their work.

 

"They can have that moral stance, but that stance alone isn't going to be enough of a motivation," Jones says. "For organizations, it's always coming back to the bottom line."

 

Challenges Diversity Officers Face

 

With movements like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, diversity dominates today's headlines. That these efforts are controversial hints at the pushback diversity officers sometimes face from "people who are resistant to diversity" and "people who feel like they aren't represented in the diversity initiatives," Jones says.

 

To put it bluntly, she explains, "If white men think things are being taken away from them, that's a tension that needs to be managed."

 

Google grappled with this problem in August 2017, when a software engineer shared an essay that criticized company efforts to boost the standing of women employees and questioned women's general suitability for technology jobs. In reply, Google's vice president of diversity, integrity and governance issued a statement reiterating that the company is "unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, and we'll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul."

 

The episode exemplifies the common misconception that "diversity officers are only concerned about particular groups," which is "untrue," says Richard Anthony Baker, assistant vice chancellor and assistant vice president of the Office of Equal Opportunity Services at University of Houston and president of the board of the American Association for Access, Equity, and Diversity. "They're concerned about the overall health of the organization by being concerned with everyone."

 

Workers and managers who aren't necessarily opposed to diversity may still find it uncomfortable to talk about, having grown accustomed to "colorblind models" of operating that experts consider to be outdated, Jones says.

 

"We've been trained that we don't talk about race, that these protected classes are things we don't openly, strategically discuss," Baker says. "It's a challenge to get over that apprehension to have the conversation."

 

Other Indications That Companies Value Diversity

 

To figure out whether a company takes diversity, inclusion and equity seriously, diversity officers are just one factor to consider. The Kapor Center's research identified four other criteria as essential to the success of such efforts at technology companies:

 

 

Information about most of these criteria should be easily accessible to job seekers on a company's website, Baker says: "It shouldn't be hard for me to find a diversity statement, diversity office or programming. Do they have affinity groups that have some role within the governance?"

 

These days, company diversity goals should go beyond boilerplate statements, Scott says. When assessing potential employers, she recommends looking for "really sophisticated messages about why it's important and embedded in the work they do and the product they develop." Similarly, check not just that employee resource groups exist, but also whether they have meaningful budgets to carry out programs and channels to communicate with company leaders.

 

Job interviews present candidates with opportunities to do more research. Baker recommends job seekers ask interviewers about company policies on issues important to them, such as accessibility, gender expression and sexual orientation.

 

"If they don't know, that would be concerning to me," he says. "I actually want to hear from employees if that's part of the consistent message."

 

 

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How to ‘Really’ Attract Diverse Candidates

Where Is Your Welcome Sign?

Ideas On How To Become A More Attractive Employer

By Anthony J. Wright

 

Some employers have welcome signs. And unfortunately, some do not.

 

When talented individuals are assessing their career options, they look for obvious “welcome” signs. These individuals want some assurance that they are genuinely supposed to be a part of any new organization. Like in any establishment, if we don’t feel welcome, we eventually leave.

 

As an African American male, I have always assessed organizations based on the diversity within their leadership teams (which in my case, also includes the organization’s board of directors). While there are many different criteria that I use before engaging with a new employer or vendor, assessing organizational diversity will always be among my top three.

 

I’ve also learned over the years that a homogenous work environment is usually a sign of intolerance. Quite frankly, in today’s political environment, it can also be a bit scary. Further, a lack of diversity can also signal inadequate strategic thinking, as most of us know that diverse workgroups offer wider experiences and sparks tremendous innovation over the long run.

 

Why then, do so many organizations – especially non-profits – fail to invest in diversity initiatives? While the answer to this question may vary, let’s focus on those firms who get it right. Their results are impressive.


Locate Diverse Executives & Professionals


A recent study by McKinsey & Company sampled the outcomes of approximately 1,000 organizations and determined that firms who invested in diversity had higher profits. Specifically, it was concluded that firms in the top quartile for ethnic diversity are 33% more likely to have above-average profitability, according to the report. The same is essentially true for gender diversity.

 

The least diverse companies are 29% less likely to perform. Go figure.

 

Diverse applicants in any talent pipeline can recite these statistics (and many others) without effort. These individuals almost always prefer forward-leaning organizations. And, during stronger than usual economic conditions, individuals in the talent pipeline can be a bit more thoughtful about their next career move. They will almost always opt to work in a welcoming environment.

 

Many firms unknowingly communicate to diverse audiences that they are not welcome. It only takes a small amount of effort, and potentially a little courage, to make positive change. As America (i.e., your customer) becomes more diverse, it just makes sense for organizations to start thinking more strategically.  

 

 

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Finding the Right Mentor!

Finding the Right Mentor

By Matt D'Angelo, Business News Daily

 

Finding the right mentor is not really a secret to success – it's as obvious as it is essential. Learning from someone older, wiser and more experienced is an invaluable business opportunity, whether you've just started your first job or you're halfway through your career. As we slip into the day-to-day routine of working life, it's easy to get lost in the moment – our problems are 6 inches from our face, and a mentor can be the person to reset things so we can look at our careers and growth from a new perspective.

 

None of this is new information. We all would love to have a guiding hand help us figure out this complex and stressful professional world. If you're looking for a mentor, these are the three most important things to keep in mind:

 

  • Define what you want out of your career and what you need to learn to get there.

 

  • Approach a mentor relationship as if it's a business friendship – be casual and friendly, and try not to ask weird questions like, "Will you be my mentor?"

 

  • Start with your own professional network. We often already have mentors who provide advice in various ways, and all it takes is a little effort from us to grow that connection into an ongoing relationship.

 

Vicki Salemi, a career expert for popular job search platform Monster, said it's important for a mentor and a mentee to realize that the connection doesn't always need to be an intense, formal thing. It's better to focus on maintaining the professional relationship and learning what you can.

 

"It doesn't have to be completely intensive, and that's what both the mentor and mentee should know – it's an ongoing dialogue conversation, and it's a relationship that's not going to completely overhaul your life," Salemi said.

 

Part of finding a mentor means learning how to appropriately follow up, add value to your mentor's life and career, and be proactive in your own career growth. These lessons can apply to any worker at any stage of their career. Especially for young workers who are just emerging in an industry or lack the experience needed to progress, you might feel self-conscious and wary of your endeavors. Sometimes, all you need in these moments is someone to look up to, someone who has been in your shoes but created their own path to success.

 

"The modern mentor can elevate both your mind and your career in a way that cannot be taught in school, a boardroom or on a business trip," said Demetri Argyropoulos, CEO of Avant Global. "For me, mentorship has been an invaluable part of my career growth."

 

 

The first step to find a mentor is defining what you want out of your career. This may not mean planning out your whole career – it's important to leave room to go where things take you – but defining what you want in the short term can give you a clear path forward. Consider your career path and narrow it down so you can determine who has your dream job and who you admire, said Bill Driscoll, a district president for Accountemps.

 

"Successful mentoring relationships happen when the mentor and mentee are the right match," Driscoll said. "Reach out to someone you think you are comfortable with, who can be a neutral sounding board, and [who] will also provide great advice."

 

You can also look in your own professional circle. These individuals can be former bosses, former professors or teachers, co-workers in another department, or family friends. As you look, try to prioritize someone who can give you long-term advice about your industry and has a good idea of your own company and what it takes to advance within your role.

 

"I think it's probably best to have a combination of somebody who knows your internal organization well but not necessarily works there," Salemi said. "They can provide that insight with having a grander view of your career's growth."

 

Someone who has a general idea of your current role and industry will be able to give you advice on things like new projects to explore, certifications or training you need to get ahead, and how to manage office politics within your organization.

 

Once you're ready to reach out to someone, it's important to keep things casual. Salemi said your approach to a potential mentor should be the same as an approach to a potential friend – your relationship will develop over time. Don't force things; stay relaxed. Lessons and advice will come over time.

 

"It's not like you'll be at a conference and chat with someone sitting next to you and say, 'Oh, will you be my mentor?'" Salemi said. "It's a process. It's kind of like when you think about friends in your life, how you met them and how maybe over the period of a year or so you've gotten to become really good friends … in the beginning, you didn't say, 'Will you be my friend?' That would be completely awkward."

 

The difference between mentorships and friendships, however, is in how you follow up.

 

 

Once you've met with someone and had an initial conversation, if you think they can provide valuable advice to you as your career progresses, make sure you think critically about how and when to follow up. If they're open to continuing a dialogue, set calendar reminders on when to follow up. How often you speak with your mentor is up to you, but the goal is long-term, continued insight. That could mean hopping on the phone or meeting for coffee once a quarter, or even just twice a year.

 

"You definitely should make a note on your calendar, because we're so busy time can escape us," Salemi said. "Let's say you connect with your mentor by the end of [October] – make a note to check in with them over the holidays, and then maybe ask to get on their calendar literally for January."

 

While in-person meetings are important, social media offers mentees the opportunity to have regular, no-pressure interactions with mentors. Use Twitter and LinkedIn for light things – interesting articles, book recommendations, important industry news, etc.

 

Social media gives mentees the opportunity to nudge their mentors, reminding them not only that they exist outside of the semiannual dinner, but also that they value the relationship. Be sure not to nudge too frequently, though, or you'll come off as pushy. More importantly, don't discuss important career ideas over email or social media – save that for the in-person interactions.

 

"Make a point of trying to meet up with them," Salemi said. "If their calendar is packed, think outside the box in terms of 'OK, I'll meet you in your office' or 'Can we FaceTime?' just to get that interaction … you shouldn't [just] be sending emails."

 

One final, more meaningful way to connect with a mentor is regular mail. A thank-you note or holiday card can go a long way to show you value your mentor's advice and presence in your life.

 

 

Whether you're the founder of a brand-new startup or an entrepreneur with a bit of business experience under your belt, you can always benefit from a mentor.

 

"A mentor can serve as a sounding board at critical points throughout your career," said Diane Domeyer, executive director of staffing firm The Creative Group. "They can provide guidance on career management you may not be able to get from other sources and an insider's perspective on the business, as well as make introductions to key industry contacts."

 

Doña Storey, OPEN Mentorship Institute mentor and American Express OPENadvisor on procurement, noted that mentors can help their mentees identify and avoid business pitfalls, and work through the challenges ahead of them.

 

Another important aspect Salemi pointed out is that, when we're immersed in our own careers, it's easy to lose sight of the big picture. It's important to have advocates for you – especially early in your career. These should be people other than your boss, and they should provide insight on getting ahead as well as supporting your overall goals.

 

 

At the most basic level, your mentor should have more experience than you and a track record of success.

 

"A great mentor is someone whose qualities make up a much better version of who you envision yourself to become," said Argyropoulos. "On the other hand, some great mentors may help you to learn who not to be like – for example, a very successful businessman who is struggling in his personal life. Great mentors have a complementary skill set and bring different qualities to the table. Different perspectives are valuable in the mentor-mentee relationship."

 

Doug White, career expert and editor of career and management insights website TCG Blog, recommended seeking a mentor who has a strong character and traits worth emulating.

 

"Look for mentors who are authentic, empathetic, creative and honest," said White. "You need someone who's caring and invested in your professional growth, but also someone who will speak truth to you. Sometimes you need some constructive criticism or a reality check, while other times you need a high five or pat on the back. A well-chosen mentor can provide all of those things."

 

A mentor in the same business area as you may better understand your business's challenges and concerns, but Storey said that fruitful mentoring relationships don't necessarily have to happen within the same industry. Leadership philosophy may be more important.

 

"Make sure that the mentor shares a similar value system in leadership and management," Storey said. "Knowing who you are as a leader is critical before entering into a mentoring relationship. Only then can you align yourself with the right guide."

 

 

As a mentee, it can be easy to fall into a pattern of asking a lot of your mentor without giving anything in return. While your mentor might be happy to provide you with advice regardless, it's still important to think of some ways to show your appreciation and make yourself available for your mentor.

 

Salemi said, at the very least, it's important to prove you appreciate the relationship by valuing your mentor's advice and time – if only by arriving at meetings early or adjusting your own schedule to make a meeting more convenient for your mentor. Young professionals may not have a lot to offer their mentors, but they can offer them respect and appreciation.

 

"You can be a great mentee to your mentor by following up when you say you're going to – staying on their radar – because chances are, if they're the right fit for you, they'll appreciate providing information," Salemi said. "Thank them, acknowledge them, don't squander their time."

 

 

The whole point of seeking out a mentor is to get important insight and advance your career. The only way that's possible is if you're proactive about your own situation.

 

"We need to be proactive – what it comes down to is everyone needs to be proactive in their own career advancement and growth," Salemi said. "Let's say you like your job and you think, 'Oh, things are going well' – you still need a mentor because, at some point, you may hit a plateau."

 

With a mentor, keep it simple and stay relaxed about the relationship. There's often a lesson to be learned from someone who's further along in their career. The key is being open to whatever lesson or message that is.

 

"Seek out someone who you want to emulate, who can help you in areas where you're deficient in knowledge and skills," Argyropoulos added. "My most impactful mentor experiences evolved through sharing experiences and stories, and at some point, the mentee can also teach the mentor. You want to create an environment where you're paying that knowledge forward to others."

 

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Closing the Tech Diversity Gap

Closing the Tech Diversity Gap: A Complex Issue Without A Simple Answer

By Casey Leins, Staff Writer

U.S. News

 

IN 2013, MICROSOFT Corporation launched a program designed to transition service members and veterans into the technology industry.

 

The program, Microsoft Software & Systems Academy, now has 14 locations, boasts a 93 percent graduation rate, and has the capacity to graduate around 1,000 students each year.

 

"Veterans are a talent pool we haven't sought in the past," says Microsoft's Vice President of Military Affairs Chris Cortez. "And the military vets very much represent our diverse country."

 

 
Cortez joined other industry leaders and researchers Thursday at U.S. News & World Report's Stem Solutions: Workforce of Tomorrow conference in Washington D.C., to discuss the state of diversity in STEM and how to bridge the gap that still exists.

 

The panelists agreed that veterans are just one example of talent pools that have not been fully explored.

 

A Multi-Faceted Issue

 

But locating these new, diverse groups are only one part of the solution. One theme the panelists reiterated throughout the presentation was that there is no simple solution to bridge the gap and that there are many factors at play.

 

Not only do underrepresented groups need better access to STEM education and careers, but company's cultures need to change and be more inclusive to retain those employees.

 

"It's not just about fixing the student, but how do we change the culture of the institutional structures and frameworks?" says Courtney Tanenbaum, who studies these issues at the American Institutes for Research.

 

Intel Corporation is an example of a company that has been working to increase its diversity and retention rates.

 

"What Intel is trying to accomplish inside the walls of our company is to really mitigate inclusion and diversity issues. It's what society has not yet done outside of our walls" says Barbara Whye, the company's vice president of human resources and chief diversity and inclusion officer.

 

She notes that Intel's research reveals that employees who feel included are seven times more likely to stay at the company.

 

Motivating Underrepresented Groups

 

During the session, a high schooler asked the panelists how she, as a woman of color, can stay motivated and determined to pursue a STEM career despite the fact that she is afraid to fail.

 

The student said that she was one of two females in her school district last year to take the AP computer science exam; the audience applauded. Though she wants to pursue a job in STEM, she said, she is concerned about making errors in front of her teachers and peers in difficult courses and feels pressure to perform well.

 

Tanenbaum said the fact that mistakes are seen as failures is a flaw in the nation's education system.

 

"That mindset needs to shift," she added. "That probably means starting really early [in conveying a different message] to kids."

 

The panelists also noted that role models are important for underrepresented groups.

 

Allison Scott, chief research officer at Kapor Center for Social Impact, stressed the large impact of industry leaders interacting with these students.

 

 

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Walmart pledges $2 Million to Fund Diversity Internships

Walmart pledges $2 Million to Fund Diversity Internships

The Associated Press

July 24, 2018 03:17 PM

Walmart plans to donate $2 million to two congressional minority caucus foundations to fund programs for students and young professionals.

The Bentonville-based retail behemoth said Tuesday that the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute will each receive three-year, $1 million grants which will go toward paid congressional internships, housing, monthly stipends, professional development and leadership training.

In a press release, the company cited statistics from the Pew Research Center that show that while non-white Americans comprise approximately 36 percent of the population, less than 20 percent of congressional representatives are people of color.

GOOGLE TO HIRE THOUSANDS IN 9 STATES

Officials from each of the foundations say internships are crucial to careers in public policy. The grants will bring Walmart's total donation to the two foundations to more than $6 million.

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