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.  




Accenture CEO: Total Gender Equality by 2025

by Haley Draznin

As CEO of Accenture North America, Julie Sweet wants to accomplish what most other executives at major companies have not: Making sure men and women are represented equally in the company's ranks.


Her goal: To get to a 50% male-50% female workforce by 2025. As of last year, the firm's US employee base was 36% women and 64% men.


"I'm very optimistic," Sweet tells CNN's Poppy Harlow in the latest podcast episode of Boss Files. "I'm with CEOs all the time. I'm in the C-Suite. There is something different today than even two or three years ago. There's a genuine focus that's not about checking the box... There's been so much disruption. Companies are having to come up with entirely new business models."


Sweet feels it's her corporate responsibility to be a leader on equality. Accenture was the first of the big professional consulting firms to publish their diversity statistics in 2017.


"When I'm talking to my peers, what they recognize is they can't do it with the same leaders. They need different thoughts. Different ideas," she says. "Diversity, I think, has become a real business imperative at the very top with CEOs who are facing massive disruption. That, I think, is why we're at an inflection point."


By being transparent about things like hiring statistics, Sweet seeks to help all Accenture employees understand the importance of this initiative and why the company is embarking on it.


"One of the reasons we shared our numbers, they weren't because they were great, they were in order to have a transparent conversation," Sweet says. "We're going to be honest about where we are and where we want to go."


Sweet is one of the founding members of the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, a commitment signed by more than 400 CEOs pledging to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace.


She's also increased the paid parental leave policy at Accenture and is launching initiatives that appeal to a millennial workforce.


"Diversity is critical," Sweet says. "People who come to Accenture want to be part of collaborative teams that are interesting and diverse. We think it's actually a real differentiator as we try to get people to come join us."


Sweet and her team have also set incremental hiring goals to improve diversity along the way. "We said by 2017, we wanted to hire 40% women globally. We met that a year early," she says.


And it's not just about hiring women.


"Last year, for the first time, we set goals in terms of hiring around African Americans, Hispanic Americans, veterans. We've announced that we want to hire 5,000 veterans by 2020," she adds.



Related: Diversity is Not About Being Different



Key to her leadership style, is having empathy. "We don't always talk about that as a leadership quality. I think what's really important is having empathy, understanding the experiences of how someone is going to experience what you have to say," Sweet tells Harlow.



Taking risks is another. For Sweet, that is something that was instilled in her from a young age. Growing up with just a single pair of shoes and her parents struggling to make ends meet, she admits her younger self was driven by the desire to be successful.


When she went to study in China in the 1980s as a teenager, few Westerners had been traveling there. She didn't know the language or the culture, but she overcame all of those boundaries.


Related: A former refugee, she's now the first Latina CEO of a major US company


"Taking that risk and succeeding has really given me the confidence to take other risks," she says. "My jump to becoming CEO from the general counsel job at Accenture, that's a risk, right? That's very public. I think about even my willingness to take that risk. This kind of goes back to those early experiences."


"I needed and wanted to be someone who was going to make a difference," she admits, "Now, as CEO, I have even more of an ability to drive change. It is hard, right? But it's a great privilege to have the opportunity."







Paying Lip Service to Diversity Doesn’t Work — Here’s What Does

Paying Lip Service to Diversity Doesn't Work -- Here's What Does

By Sona Jepsen


When Slack publicly pledged a future built on diversity in 2014, its desire to embrace more of a 21st century-style workforce was widely praised. Three years later, the company openly admitted via its diversity report card that committing to diversity had been a bigger challenge than it had anticipated.


That September of 2015, when Slack first released its diversity and inclusion data, fully 89 percent of its engineers were white or Asian. By contrast, in 2016, African-Americans filled just 4.3 percent of the company's technical roles. Fast-forward to 2017: That figure has inched up only half a percentage point.


Why was investing in diversity so hard? In a nutshell, Slack realized that while setting and announcing diversity goals may have been commendable, actual implementation couldn't happen without deep changes to an entrenched Silicon Valley culture that hinges on a relatively homogeneous workforce.


Startups and small businesses can learn a lot from Slack's initiative and the obstacles the company faced. Without changes to human resources practices and a commitment from leaders to look beyond particular attributes and the same, familiar places for candidates, diversity will always remain a goal -- but never an actuality.


The elusiveness of workplace diversity


While much hyped in business today, diversity too often is a sound bite with little bearing on the physical makeup of the workplace. This fact becomes especially apparent when we examine the distribution of work roles in a given organization. According to a report from Bloomberg, even a company as vaunted as Facebook has few people of color employed in engineering roles; those in leadership positions are still predominantly white and male.


A 2016 First Round poll of venture-backed entrepreneurs illustrates this problem's pervasiveness: According to the poll results, only 17 percent of founders and/or CEOs in startups surveyed were female; 84 percent of organizational boards were made up of all or mostly male members; and only 14 percent of startups had a concrete plan for diversity implementation and inclusion.


While startups have the benefit of operating without engrained legacy systems, it's still apparent that establishing a basis of diversity needs to be a larger part of these companies' strategies.

Building diversity into your startup's foundation


Often, homogeneity happens unintentionally. When launching companies, entrepreneurs tend to focus on a limited number of priorities -- such as profits, investor relationships or product innovation -- that can initially overshadow the priority of diversity. In this way, these entrepreneurs inadvertently engrain a monolithic culture. And most startups aren't putting measures in place to reverse this pattern.


Fortunately, there are at least three methods startups can use to focus more proactively on implementing diversity:


Change your recruitment funnel to enlarge your talent pool and eliminate implicit biases. Hiring managers typically look at skill sets alone when filling positions. Organizations need to begin assessing candidates through a different lens, by restructuring their recruitment funnel and prioritizing individual potential and talent.


Like a sales funnel, a recruitment funnel will continue to produce the same results if you never revise it. Consequently, if your company seems to be headed toward a nondiverse workforce, you'll need to alter your hiring channels in order to get different kinds of people to walk through your door.


Consider posting jobs on sites that prioritize diversity. Also change how you interview candidates, to eliminate implicit biases. Slack, for instance, replaced the standard whiteboard exercise in its engineering interviews with a skills test that identified expert code regardless of an individual's background.


Once you've hired diverse talent, you can then work toward nurturing these individuals by fostering individual growth and creating a collaborative culture that allows employees to develop new skills and insights.


Create an environment where everyone has a voice.Without equal access to opportunity or the ability to move into major decision-making or change-instigating roles, employees who "bring diversity" to a startup will do so via numbers only.


Team trust and openness are essential for diversity to thrive. A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information indicated that even if you have women on your team, they'll be discouraged from contributing if their opinions are consistently squelched. Not only will your startup lose potential opportunities to evolve and will suffer higher turnover, but you'll also create a culture where inclusion is only skin deep.


As a leader, share your desire for a diverse team with internal and external stakeholders and solicit feedback on the best way to manifest these changes in your company's culture. This feedback can take many forms, from in-person review sessions, to anonymous surveys, to casual conversations during team-building sessions or companywide lunches.


The sooner you seek these insights and bring them on board as part of your recruitment process, the sooner your startup will begin to benefit from diverse perspectives, approaches and experiences.


Encourage diverse populations to become advocates for diversity. Minority employees with leadership roles must be empowered to help peers or potential employees achieve similar results, but this doesn't happen nearly as often as it should.


Currently, just 23 of the Fortune 500's CEOs are women, according to data from the World Economic Forum. That's a shockingly small number. But the more that underrepresented individuals reach out and serve as an example or gateway to others, the more they can bolster workforce diversity and help others overcome issues related to career advancement. Particularly for startups, a smaller-size organization creates more opportunities for outreach and individual attention.


In sum, while shouting "diversity!" from the rooftops is a good first step, startups need to take a comprehensive approach to upending their practices and making diversity more than a buzzword. Evolving hiring practices, creating an inclusive work culture and advocating for greater change will not only manifest a more positive working atmosphere, but will foster success by appealing to diverse customers and clients.






Recruiting for Diversity in the Pacific Northwest

Recruiting for Diversity in the Pacific Northwest

While NW firms are continuing to innovate, efforts around workplace diversity and recruiting continue to be underwhelming.

Diversity Seattle

By: Diversity Recruiters™


The Pacific Northwest is an attractive destination for many professionals. Compared to other regions in the country, it clearly has one of the most beautiful landscapes in the United States. On most days, the majestic Mount Rainier can be seen in the backdrop from almost any location across the Puget Sound. In addition to its abundant beauty, successful companies such as Starbucks, Amazon, and Microsoft call the Pacific Northwest home because it has also been a fantastic location for business.


The Northwest is also a favorite location for aspiring start ups. Like Microsoft, other companies have integrated within the vicinity of Seattle to reap the many benefits of the progressive, and almost always growing, business community. Unfortunately, while firms are continuing to innovate, efforts around workplace diversity continue to be underwhelming. Firms haven't quite developed the aptitude to attract and retain talented and diverse populations. At least, not yet. 


While many firms are fairly articulate about the demographics of their workforce, one of the not-so-often talked about issues in the Northwest is the lack of diversity in professional management and executive positions. Sure, companies have taken steps to address the broader definition of diversity; however, many have also neglected the topic of racial and/or gender diversity in upper level management and board positions. A quick glance at a few public websites for both for-profit and non-profit companies in the Northwest will more than likely reflect a lack of diversity in the upper ranks - either from a gender perspective, or from the perspective of race. 


Next, most Seattleites believe their city is diverse. However, the facts show just the opposite. Seattle ranks 9th for being the least diverse city in the United States, and that problem may be getting bigger. Employers intending to improve diversity must use unconventional methods to source candidates, as traditional methods are mostly obsolete. Post and pray tactics won't work either; especially during a red hot economy. Think about it - talented job seekers have many options. With so many companies expanding, job seekers can be picky about their career choices. And, from the perspective of a diverse candidate, it's an easier sell to work with a firm that can show some level of real commitment to diversity.


Diversity efforts fall quite short of being effective. Creating an inclusive workforce should not be simply delegated to human resources. Commitment from the top leaders, coupled with measurable action, is the only proven way to make progress in advancing more people of color and/or women to senior roles. If an organization has difficulty recruiting diverse talent, there may also be an issue with leadership commitment.


Building talent pipelines requires dedicated time, resources, and effort regardless of what population is being targeting for recruitment—be it people with certain educational or experiential backgrounds or people of certain ages, genders, races, or religions.


Again - time, resources, and effort. This isn't rocket science.




Robots: Is “Your” Job at Risk?

by Matt McFarland (CNN)


Almost 100 years ago, the U.S. horse population peaked at about 26 million. There's been, of course, a steady decline since then, thanks to the growth of machines -- most notably, cars.


The fear of robots replacing jobs is real -- consider self-checkout kiosks and self-driving trucks. The good news is that specific lines of work won't suffer the same fate as horses. Which ones? Read on. But, first, here are the jobs at greatest risk of being replaced by automation. 




Cashiers and toll booth operators


Jobs that require only a high school degree are most in danger. Take cashiers and toll booth operators, for example. These jobs don't require much human analysis so are easier for machines to handle. Some toll booth operators have already been replaced by automated systems such as E-ZPass, which is used in 16 states. 


Meanwhile, as many as 7.5 million retail jobs are at risk of automation in the next decade, according to a study from financial services firm Cornerstone Capital Group. 


A shift is already underway. CVS (CVS) has installed self-checkouts in 448 locations. McDonald's(MCD) and Wendy's have also added kiosks in some restaurants, allowing customers to place orders on a touchscreen. In December, Amazon (AMZNTech30) teased a video of its new Seattle-based concept store Amazon Go, which has no checkout line or cash register. The payment process is automated through a customer's smartphone, so a customer can skip the line and walk out. 


"Retail is going through this existential crisis," Gartner retail analyst Robert Hetu told CNN Tech. "There's a need to eliminate many of the manual processes that retailers just lived with for decades." 

Hetu expects automatic checkout services like Amazon Go will take off among convenience stores. Big box retailers are another likely destination, whereas luxury and boutique stores will be slower to adapt the technology. They rely more heavily on a human staff to provide specialized service to customers.




Some of the world's biggest companies are investing billions to build robots intended to replace human workers. The obvious example is self-driving cars. Car and tech companies are in an intense race to get their first. Once cars and trucks can drive themselves, there's less need for humans to sit behind the wheel of a cab, Uber or tractor trailer. 


Vivek Wadhwa, author of "The Driver in the Driverless Car," estimates that close to 5 million driving jobs will be lost in the early 2020s, as vehicles achieve full autonomy. 


The optimistic case for drivers is that jobs often involve other tasks, such as unloading merchandise. Robots currently don't carry packages or Chinese food orders to your front door. However, as automated drones drop packages on door steps and in backyards, some of those jobs may be replaced, too. 


The autonomous vehicle industry will likely create new jobs, such as managers who oversee the fleets of vehicles.


Fast Food Jobs


The Bureau of Labor and Statistics has estimated 80,000 fast food jobs will disappear by 2024. The increase in minimum wage in various states gives companies more reason to replace workers with machines. In July, workers saw minimum wage gains in places such as Chicago, Maryland, Oregon, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. (The federal minimum wage of $7.25 hasn't gone up in 10 years.


Fast food positions rank among the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation's list of most likely to be automated.


"It's cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who's inefficient making $15 an hour bagging French fries," former McDonald's chief executive Edward Rensisaid in an appearance on Fox Business Network in May 2016. 


He also previously described how the number of people working in a McDonald's has been cut in half -- due to automation -- since he started working at the company in the 1960s.




Nurses & Physicians


A human touch is essential in health care, making roles such as physicians and nurses among the least likely to be replaced by machines. The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, which ranked more than 800 types of jobs on automation, sees these positions as safe. 


Computers are increasingly good at making medical diagnoses, but patients don't want to get diagnoses from an impersonal computer. 


"They want to get it from a compassionate person who can help them understand and accept often difficult news," MIT researchers Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson, wrote in their new book "Machine Platform Crowd." 


But automation is playing a role in some areas of the medical world. The earliest impact of automation on medicine is affecting radiologists, who are overloaded with data as they analyze medical images such as X-rays and CT scans. Arterys, a medical imaging startup, reads MRIs to measure blood flow through the heart. It does this in seconds, freeing up the humans to focus on other tasks.


Youth Sports Coaches


According to McAfee and Brynjolfsson, jobs that involve leading and inspiring others should be safe from a robot takeover. 


In the case of a youth coach, delivering a win isn't the most important part of the job. 


"What matters is the ability to get the girls to work well together in pursuit of a goal, to teach them to be good and supportive teammates for each other, and to develop their characters through athletics," they write. 


In addition, a robot is unlikely to be able to identify leaders, manage people with difficult personalities, and help the team form a bond. 


"We're confident that the ability to work effectively with people's emotional states and social drives will remain a deeply human skill for some time to come," they write.


Social Workers


The Bureau of Labor and Statistics has estimated that jobs in the mental health and social workers who work with substance abusers will grow by 19% by 2024. 


"The fundamental wiring of our brains is the same as it was 100,000 years ago, so that it's in our deep nature of value getting various experiences -- empathy, companionship, being heard, acting in groups -- from other humans," author Geoff Colvin wrote in his book, "Humans Are Underrated." 


The time we spend with screens is growing. In-person interactions are decreasing, and we are wired to crave them, so we'll value them more highly. And the people who can deliver them are well-positioned for the future. 


"We should all take a deep breath," Atkinson wrote in his organization's report on job automation. "Every time you read another piece about the coming 'jobapocalypse,' think about how hard it is to automate jobs like mining engineers, fish and game wardens [and] dentists."



Meet the Youngest Ever Female Commander of a Boeing 777

Meet the Youngest Ever Female Commander of a Boeing 777





An Indian woman has overcome the misgivings of her local community to become the youngest female captain of a Boeing 777 aircraft in the world.


Anny Divya took command of a 777, the world’s largest twin jet, at the age of 30, proving wrong those who had tried to convince her parents it wasn’t a viable career option.


“Luckily my parents have been very supportive, even though a lot of people were telling them not to send me for flying lessons,” she told Indian TV station Mirror Now.

“There was a lot of resistance all round – especially the fees, which were a lot for [my parents] to pay at the time.”


Growing up in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh in India, Divya knew she wanted to be a pilot, even though most of her classmates planned to follow their parents’ advice to become doctors and engineers.

She enrolled in flying school Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi at the age of 17 with her parents’ support, earning a scholarship and completing her training at 19.


Hired by Air India, she worked her way up the ranks, learning to fly a Boeing 737 in Spain. She had the option to take command of the 737, but decided to hang out “a bit longer” for the 77. “It’s the plane I always wanted to fly,” she said.

Divya got her chance to fly a 777 during her advanced training in London and says that taking command of one “is what I wanted to do”.


She has completed a BSc Aviation degree while working for the airline and used her earnings to help her family financially, buying her parents a house and financing her brother and sister’s overseas studies.

Divya encouraged other women to go after their goals, saying “all women should pursue their dreams, especially right now”.