Felicity Hassan, U.S. managing director of executive search firm Audeliss, offers tips on how companies can follow through on their commitments to increase diversity in the recruiting and hiring process.
How can hiring managers be held to account with real, achievable diversity targets? When it becomes a matter of a “strategic imperative,” affecting a company’s profits, they “suddenly begin to take notice,” Hassan says. Recruiters and hirers need to know that diversity has an impact on the bottom line, with financial rewards for demonstrating quantifiable progress. “It’s not the responsibility of H.R.,” she notes. “It’s the responsibility of everybody.”
Direction must come from the boardroom and executive suite, but diversity gets done at the middle-management level. That’s where policies are executed, satisfying a young, up-and-coming workforce that a company’s claims are authentic.
Companies need to move away from the tried and true methods of recruiting, which often involved a narrow band of candidates that mostly consisted of white men. Hassan urges companies to get creative in their search, targeted a more diverse universe of talent that extends well beyond the old guard’s web of connections.
Universities are one good place to start. Grad programs offer a diverse choice of candidates for entry-level positions. “Schools should be a really easy win,” Hassan says. In addition, there are organizations that promote hiring diversity and can offer a wealth of suitable individuals. “You can’t wait for them to come to you,” says Hassan, adding that only a sincere and demonstrable effort on the part of companies will convince experienced candidates to switch jobs.
It takes years for employees to rise through the corporate ranks and be in a position to welcome others into the organization. So it’s vitally important to retain good candidates once they’re hired.
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