When I ask organizations where they want to be in their diversity recruiting journeys, all agree that they want to be in the “I” or Innovation stage, which goes beyond even Inclusion to reflect business growth with advanced multi-layered, metrics and inventive sourcing methods. However, getting to this point is an entirely different story. What I have noticed is that many organizations, especially less mature ones, are attempting to fast forward past the basics to Inclusion, which has left our friend “D” or Diversity behind. While this focus makes sense in today’s increasingly global and multi-racial economy, it has had detrimental effects on workforce diversity.
In order to address this challenge with my clients, I developed the Diversity Recruiting Progression Model©, which addresses the four stages of diversity recruiting, from Compliance to Innovation. With this Model, I am able to:
· Identify an organization’s current and desired future state, and
· Address the best path on how to reach this future state.
I am the first to admit that advancing along this Model is a tough journey! It has many potholes and detours, and even some distracting viewpoints, but the endpoint, which is increased workforce diversity, is always the same. And, as I remind my clients, there is no way to skip steps on what I call the Diversity Recruiting Continuum©. It’s like a putting a car into 5th gear without first going through at least some of the other gears to get it ready to drive fast. The question then remains as to how to reach this endpoint in an era in which Inclusion is the driver, and Diversity and Compliance are informed passengers along for the ride.
My top three points of advice are the following:
1. Incorporate, not separate, AA/EEO goals.
While AA/EEO and Compliance regulations do not apply to every company, for those companies to which they do, it is important that they be incorporated into the larger Inclusion strategy from day one. Too often, AA/EEO goals, which are rooted in legal compliance, are a separate conversation from that of Inclusion. However, to truly bring Compliance forward in this journey, we also need to modernize the conversation around AA/EEO goals from one of legal ramifications to its primary intent, that of bringing diverse people into the workplace. Once this lens is applied, it makes perfect sense to bring it into the larger dialogue around Inclusion.
2. Include Staffing and Workforce Planning in the dialogue.
More often than not, diversity recruiting, and goals around it, are addressed and called out in Inclusion strategies. On the flip side, more often than not, the right people are not sitting at the table for these initial discussions. It is critical, and I cannot stress this point enough, that Staffing and Workforce Planning, if a separate function, are involved in these discussions from day one. They are the ones who not only will own the deliverables of this work, but also have the insight and the data to pinpoint, support and inform the goals, timeframe and possible setbacks for implementation. These key people will also ensure that diversity is really along for the entire ride, no matter what exits are taken along the way.
3. Focus, Focus and More Focus.
As stated above, the end point in this journey is the same: increased workforce diversity. So, don’t get distracted by the shiny new stops along the side of the road. For example, unconscious bias training, which was the shiny new trinket in the Inclusion roadshow for quite a long time, is indeed important. However, it is by no means THE solution to an organization’s challenges with diversity recruiting. It is simply a means to fuel the tank. Thus, it is critical to focus on the end goal and identify those things that will help you get there without letting those things take over and drive the car for you.
All in all, moving along the Diversity Recruiting Continuum© is hard work. I see how tough it is every day when working with clients. However, it is in this toughness that there is also greatness, for it is when clients actually do make progress, and workplaces are transformed, that everyone benefits.
It’s now your turn to participate in the conversation!
· Where do you think your organization is in its diversity recruiting journey?
· Where do you think it wants to be?
· And, how is it ensuring that it gets there?