There’s been a lot of discussion lately about diversity within the Pittsburgh workforce, there’s even a survey out there for Pittsburghers to participate in. My thoughts? We don’t need a survey to tell us that our local companies are nowhere near as diverse as they should be.
I began researching local organizations when I started my firm in 2011. I’ve researched teams and hiring practices for thousands of Pittsburgh organizations. As an HR consultant specializing in recruiting and diversity, I wanted to know the landscape, especially after being with one organization for almost a decade. What I found was quite disappointing.
- Many local organizations have very little diversity among their workforce.
- Many local organizations have no diversity among their workforce.
- Many local organizations dont’t have a method of recruiting that leads to a diverse candidate pool.
When it comes to Diversity and Inclusion, Recruiting and Training, I’m confident in my abilities. The “why” behind my findings and the reasons for the surveys and discussions about diversity are very clear to me. My biggest concern is purely, “how long will this trend last?”
From The Oscars to Google people are noticing the lack of diversity and watching to see how companies will address this issue in 2015 and beyond. Unfortunately, unless you’re like me, diversity doesn’t just happen naturally. When I recruit, I’m looking for the absolute best, the perfect fit. I use many factors to determine that, but race, gender etc. are never a factor. For most organizations, from small business and tech to retail and nonprofit, being an inclusive and diverse organization takes work, it needs to be a part of your organizations mission and strategic plan, not an afterthought.
Locally, there are only a handful of organizations doing it right. If you think your organization has room for growth and improvement in regards to diversifying your team, which most do, start here:
1.) Evaluate your existing team. Be honest. Is it diverse? Who’s missing and why? Are various groups represented? Diversity means not one black or one woman but rather a diverse group of people working in various levels within the organization. This includes management and leadership.
2.) Ensure your hiring manager / recruiting team is capable of and comfortable with seeking and interviewing a diverse group of candidates for each and every position. According to an NPR story, there’s a new study out from the University of Wisconsin which studied how companies reviewed applicant resumes. In this study, researchers sent identical resumes to companies just changing the name. Based on their own biases, companies showed favor toward resumes with more traditional “white names.” Black resumes received 14% less call backs / interviews. In customer service, this disparity increased to 28%! Does this happen at your organization, the answer? Most likely.
3.) Make sure your organization is utilizing multiple channels of outreach to find the best talent. Recruiters and Talent Acquisition Managers must be engaged, well known members of the community. Every time a client has an open position I can think of at least 5 candidates that can fill the role. Most of them, not looking for a new position but excelling in their current roles. That sort of depth and knowledge comes from networking, community outreach and engagement.
4.) Review the laws around Diversity and Inclusion. Host training workshops for management, ensure all members of your organization are knowledgeable and well versed. I know companies that have suffered greatly due to ignorance and incompetence. The laws protect the organization as well as the candidates and employees.