Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Diversity Recruiting is Not the Job of the Recruiter!

By Eliana M. Hassen

Corporate America finally got the memo - Diversity is a tool that can help build a stronger, more competitive and forward thinking company. So now, with guns blazing, diversity recruiting has become a major business initiative, often left in the lap of HR to figure out. I hate to tell you, but diversity recruiting is not the job of a recruiter; it's the job of every employee!

Diversity recruiting is not a task. It is a process that, if mastered, becomes an art. With the growing demand of talent, finding diverse employees is more difficult than ever. The key to successful diversity recruiting is to build a program that is embedded in the corporate culture. This will quickly make it everyone's job.

So where do you start? How do you build a program? How do you embed diversity recruiting into the overall company culture and make it everyone's job? There are specific steps that an organization can take to jump-start their overall diversity recruitment initiatives.

In recent years, companies have been hiring Chief Diversity Officers (CDOs) that report directly to the CEOs to ensure that aggressive diversity initiatives are met. Having dedicated resources to cultural diversity is a step that should not be missed by any organization. Your company may not need a CDO, but there should be a team that is dedicated to diversity recruiting.

Five steps to build a diversity recruitment process, making it everyone's job!

Step 1 - Build an internal team. This should consist of recruitment or HR professionals and business unit participants. The more people throughout the organization that are involved, the more exposure diversity recruitment gets. There are many advantages to building this team, including a constant line of communication with the business units regarding cultural diversity challenges and initiatives. Senior level managers should also be targeted to join the team. This will help solidify the overall culture and drive the diversity recruiting initiative into their various groups. This not only strengthens diversity in the corporate culture, but it quickly engages different employees on different levels - creating an area of development or interest for many.

Different people on the team can have various roles. Some can serve as a board and drive the initiatives. Others can participate in marketing to candidates and even interact with candidates, relating the corporate diversity goals to potential new employees. The key is getting as many people involved in the process as possible.

Step 2 - Define the corporate goal for diversity recruitment and then brand it. Diversity recruitment - like every major initiative in a company - should have a communication strategy outlining its audience, purpose and desired results. Everyone in the organization should have access to this information.

Educating the organization on cultural diversity is a big part of that. Don't take it for granted that everyone in the organization understands diversity. Diversity is defined to include groups beyond race and gender; now it addresses age, disability, sexual orientation, religion and language as well. Getting everyone educated and in sync with the diversity recruitment goals can be as simple as featuring information in the company newsletter, receiving a memo from an executive, or featuring the message in a section of the intranet.

Step 3 - Talent acquisition marketing is the next step. Diversity recruitment should be strategic, targeted and measured for results. Often, a company doesn't follow basic business principals in recruitment that they would in other business areas. If a campaign were being launched for a new product marketing research, analysis, and development would be required. Then strategic and tactical outlines are created: how to market, define the audience and how to measure the results. This process will yield the best results in diversity recruitment, as well.

I encourage you to define the goals for the various diversity areas and then create a targeted marketing plan to recruit those groups. Then, identify what the audience reads and how it searches for employment. An even bigger part of this is the ability to write compelling ads and optimize technology. Use the Internet and word of mouth to make the path from diverse candidates to your organization clear as the sound of a bell. (This should be a big hint to invite members of your marketing organization to be a part of the diversity recruitment team!)

Step 4 - Employee Referral Programs (ERP) have proven to be invaluable in many organizations around the globe - use them to drive diversity! Create different incentive plans or programs around diversity recruitment in your existing ERPs. This turns every employee into a diversity recruiter for the company. Employees should not only understand the diversity initiatives around recruitment, but also participate in them. Regular information, with goals, metrics and new initiatives should be communicated on a regular basis to every employee.

Step 5 - The final step to creating a concrete diversity recruitment process is to build a diversity employee development program. It may seem like a function outside of recruitment or talent acquisition, but it isn't. The reality is that everything drives recruitment and talent to an organization. What better way to attract top diverse talent than to have a proven track record of your success in developing and retaining them? Creating a development plan to ensure that diverse talent is equally distributed in different business areas and growing within the company creates a buzz. It also stands behind your overall commitment to diversity. Work with your career planning folks, find volunteer mentors, define job stretch and opportunity for the diverse employees you have now - and watch the reaction through word of mouth. It will impact the bottom-line.

In summary and succinctly put, the five building blocks to create a diversity recruitment program for your company:

• Build a team dedicated to diversity recruiting.
• Define your diversity recruitment initiatives and brand them internally.
• Focus talent acquisition marketing.
• Create diversity referral programs.
• Develop and retain the diverse employees you have through a special development plan just for them.

Recruiting diverse candidates is everyone's job and you must give everyone the tools they need to do it.

Source : The Adler Group

Monday, January 28, 2008

Corporate America -- Don’t Preach Diversity, Practice It

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson
New America Media

Editor's Note: Stanley O’Neal, forced out of the top job at Merrill Lynch, is the highest ranking casuality of the sub-prime loan fiasco -- even as diversity in corporate America is still an issue.

With the forced retirement of Merrill Lynch CEO E. Stanley O’Neal, the ranks of African-American top gun Fortune 500 company CEOs was sliced from six to five. O’Neal’s fall had nothing to do with race, but rather questionable investments that caused the company’s stock to plunge, and supposedly being a loner type in a corporate culture that thrives on “good old boy” insider networking. But the demise of O’Neal, for whatever reason, still raises fresh questions about how committed many corporations are to making diversity a reality in their boardrooms and in management.

The answer varies widely from corporation to corporation. Fifty companies appear on Fortune Magazine’s list of corporations with the best track record for cultural diversity. Minorities made up almost 21 percent of their boardrooms in 2003, compared with 11 percent two years earlier. The figures almost certainly have edged up even more since then.

But for every one of the 50 corporations that makes diversity more than a buzz word, there are dozens more that pat themselves on the back for having one Latino, Asian or African American on their board, or for hiring a handful in lower-level management positions.

In recent years, some of America's biggest and best-known corporations that have been widely praised as having a good track record on minority hiring and promotions have been plastered with discrimination lawsuits. Texaco, Coca-Cola, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Toyota have been thrust into the legal hot seat and have made costly settlements or signed consent decrees with the EEOC.

Forty years after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that forbade workplace discrimination and Executive Order 11246, signed by Lyndon Johnson in 1965, that prodded firms to promote management diversity, many companies still practice their own subtle brand of workplace apartheid. Despite the well-publicized rise of O’Neal and other black executives at AOL-Time Warner, American Express and Aetna, black CEOs are still a rarity at most of the Fortune 1000 corporations.

The overwhelming majority of senior managers at these companies are white males, and as is evident from the rash of management discrimination lawsuits, women and minority managers are still paid less on average than their white, male counterparts. They are still just as likely to be pigeonholed in departments such as head of “special markets” or “minority affairs.”

An embarrassing and highly publicized corporate discrimination case may bring the issue onto the public radar, but then it’s back to business as usual. That business, more often than not, is discrimination. It takes place quietly and far out of public view. The worst offending corporations employ a variety of tactics to mask discrimination. They issue glowing press releases, brochures, assorted handouts and annual stockholder reports loaded with pictures of smiling women and minority employees that tout their commitment to diversity. With much public fanfare, they establish minority and women hiring and training programs.

The refusal of many companies to make cultural diversity the watchword in middle and upper management is bad enough, but even worse is the relentlessly hostile environment that many companies create and maintain toward minorities.

Since 1990, the number of complaints of racial disrimination toward employees has climbed. Black and Latino employees have been poked with sticks, called racial slurs, have had pictures of burning crosses and white sheets placed near their lockers, have discovered the initials KKK carved on tables and benches, and even found nooses hanging at or near their desks.

Most CEOs are not hypocrites when they say that they work hard to hire and promote more minorities and women. But the degree of real commitment to cultural diversity hinges on the commitment of a corporation’s top CEO and its board. When CEOs implement an outreach program that includes a diversity task force, aggressive recruiters, and a mentoring program aimed at moving talented female and minority employees up the corporate career ladder, cultural diversity will be readily apparent in the company’s hires and promotions.

O’Neal’s departure was disappointing, given the still relative paucity of minority and women Fortune 500 CEO leaders. But even if O’Neal had stayed in good grace with Merrill, and had a long shelf life there, the challenge to corporate laggards on diversity wouldn’t change. And that is, don’t just preach it – practice it.

About the Author

New America Media Associate Editor Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His new book is The Latino Challenge to Black America: Towards a Conversation between African-Americans and Hispanics (Middle Passage Press).

Source : New America Media

From Diversity to Inclusion

By Katharine Esty, PhD

In the last few years, the focus of efforts in companies across the land has shifted from diversity to a focus on inclusion. This sea change has happened without fanfare and almost without notice. In most organizations, the word inclusion has been added to all the company's diversity materials with no explanation. This article is a short account of why this shift has happened and what it means.

Probably the most widely-read article on cultural diversity in organizations was Roosevelt Thomas's "From Affirmative Action to Affirming Diversity," which appeared in the Harvard Business Review in 1990. Diversity, said Thomas, was no longer about complying with a legal mandate but about seeking to create a diverse workforce because it would be beneficial to the organization. Before 1990, most large companies had an Employment Equity and Affirmative Action Officer, usually a lower-level employee who worked in the bowels of the organization compiling statistics about how many employees were in targeted groups, eg, people of color and women.

Diversity - A Numbers Game

Throughout the 1990's, diversity continued to be about the numbers of different kinds of people in the workforce as a whole and at each level. Diversity staffs tried to increase the number of people of color and women in their organizations. They saw this primarily as a hiring task.

During that decade, the definition of diversity expanded. Diversity came to include many dimensions beyond gender and race: age, class, disability, ethnicity, family situation, religion, and sexual orientation. Companies started to pay attention to their representation of all these groups.

It became clear over the years that it was not enough to focus on hiring alone. It became important to retain "diverse" workers, as well. Some organizations were astonished to learn that after years of effort, they had fewer African Americans than they had earlier. Companies became aware that for the most part the upper ranks of their organizations remained heavily white and predominately male. These were the years when companies offered cultural diversity awareness training and diversity skills training to help their newly diverse employees work well together.

It's the Culture

Today, in the 2000's, as organizations try to retain diverse employees in their workforce, companies have started looking at the quality of these employees' experience in the organization. Do employees in all groups and categories feel comfortable and welcomed in the organization? Do they feel included and do they experience the environment as inclusive? To answer these questions, diversity staffs need to assess their environment and identify the barriers to inclusion, whether they are practices, policies, or the informal culture of the organization. Having identified barriers, the job of the diversity staff is to change the company culture and to create an inclusive workplace environment.

Systems and Policies

As inclusion becomes the focus of diversity work, the attention switches to the systems, policies and practices of the company. Several systems influence the degree to which the climate is inclusive:

• Communications
• Work assignment
• Training and education
• Performance management
• Mentoring
• Coaching
• Hiring
• Career development
• Flexible work arrangements; and
• Managers' accountability.

Companies that are known for their inclusive climate do not rely on the goodwill of their managers but work hard so that each organizational system is equitable. Once barriers are identified, they take action to address them. Each system is analyzed to determine the degree to which it provides equitable access and benefits to all employees.

Creating an Inclusive Environment: A Case Study

Here is an example of how one company addressed inclusion issues:

A division of an institute in the defense industry had the reputation of not being welcoming to women. For years, they had experienced difficulty in both hiring and retaining female employees at all levels but particularly in the highest ranks of management. For years they clung to the idea that what they needed to do was to hire two or three high-level women. But to their chagrin, as soon as they would hire a new high-level female executive, it seemed one of the other high-level women would resign. At first they explained these recurrent departures in terms of the personalities of the women - "She has family problems," "She is too aggressive," or "She is too timid." Gradually it dawned on them that these resignations were not about the women, they were about the culture and the organizational climate.

This led to a whole new strategy. The director of the division created a Diversity Task Force to suggest and implement changes that would create a more inclusive workplace in order to support the efforts to recruit and retain women. The Task Force was supported with resources and time for its work. Guided by an organizational consultant and working in small action teams, they first conducted a series of focus groups to identify the issues and concerns of women in the division. Then they moved into action, devising a number of changes and short-term projects to address the important issues. As soon as a team implemented a change or completed a project, they took on another.

Here are some of their accomplishments over the first two years:

• They created a buddy system for all new employees
• Senior Managers hosted a series of lunches to meet lower-level women engineers and learn about their projects
• All brochures about the division were revised to include pictures of women
• They created a website where articles about women in the workplace were posted
• They developed a special relationship with a women's engineering college, inviting students from that college to come on-site for field trips and setting up summer internships for women undergraduate engineers
• They instituted networking and professional development events for women
• Senior managers attended two training programs, "Men and Women Working Together" and "Flexibility."

Two of their learnings about creating an inclusive climate were: 1) It doesn't take huge amounts of money to make significant progress; and 2) Changing an organizational culture is about doing many small things, not one or two big things.

In reality, as this story attests, creating an inclusive environment is about a hundred small changes. As you look at your own organization, ask yourself: What are we doing, in ways large or small, to move from yesterday's diversity to today's need for inclusion?

About the Author

Katharine Esty, PhD, is the Founder of Ibis Consulting Group, Inc., a diversity consulting firm based in Waltham, MA. She is a NEHRA member as well as a member of the NEHRA "Ask the HR Expert" panel. She can be reached at esty@ibisconsultinggroup.com.

Source : Boston.com

Minority Hiring: The Do’s, Don’ts, Whys, How To’s and Rewards

By Jackie Headapohl

Diversity is strength. Financial experts know that a diversified portfolio is the best way to build wealth, and business experts know that a culturally-diverse candidate pool is the best way to build a staff that will provide the maximum performance and results.

“Study after study shows diversity creates a positive impact on businesses,” says Tracey de Morsella, who produces the Multicultural Advantage, a Web site with resources to help employers increase their effectiveness in diversity recruiting. Miami-based Convergence Media Inc., runs the site and publishes multicultural-focused directories.

“Studies show culturally-diverse companies increase productivity, creativity and develop new and more varied products and services,” de Morsella says. “Most new business owners think, ‘I’ll deal with that later.’ Cultural diversity seems out of reach, but there are benefits to doing it right away.”

Just don’t confuse diversity with representation, says Roosevelt Thomas, CEO of Roosevelt Thomas Consulting & Training in Atlanta, Ga., and author of Building on the Promise of Diversity (AMACOM Books, 2005, $27.95).

Plan to Manage Diversity

“Most companies who think they’re talking about diversity are really talking about representation,” Thomas says. He defines “representation” as a workforce that racially and ethnically reflects a company’s customer base.

“The main benefit to a representative workforce is that society expects it,” he says. “Truth be told, it’s difficult to get ‘diversity’ through representation because most employers want to assimilate their candidates to their way of thinking and doing things. Those companies may have a ‘diverse’ workforce, but they also have a sameness of thought.”

For example, Thomas says, if you hire African American, Hispanic and Asian candidates who all have Ivy League educations, you’re not getting diversity at all. Attribute and behavioral diversity don’t always come along with diverse ethnicities, he says. Functional diversity takes time to develop and it comes with its own set of challenges.

“True diversity breeds difficulties, tensions and complexities,” Thomas says, “and that can be difficult to manage.” Companies need to plan for training, building skills, policies and processes to effectively manage diversity.

Even so, Thomas says, companies are more likely to reach truly functional diversity with a representative workforce. “They should take on the challenge right away.”

Managed well, diversity helps companies avoid that innovation-killer called groupthink, which locks employees into one way of thinking and stifles the ability to compete. Study after study has shown that cultural diversity improves customer focus, spurs creativity and innovation, and leads to better decision-making and problem solving, de Morsella says.

Your Workforce Should Look Like Your Customer Base

The population of America is changing. According to the 2004 U.S. Census, Hispanics (14.1 percent) now are the largest minority group, with African Americans (12.8 percent) second. Experts predict that by 2050, people of color will outnumber white Americans.

Women, 51 percent of the marketplace, are also changing the American landscape. Research findings by BusinessWeek and Gallup led to a forecast that by 2010, women are expected to control $1 trillion, or 60 percent of the country’s wealth. They already buy or influence the purchase of 80 percent of all consumer goods.

These are the faces of the marketplace, and if they’re not seen in your company, they’re likely to take their business elsewhere, de Morsella warns.

Make Your Business Attractive to Diverse Candidates

Diversity candidates are like any others - they want to find an employer with whom they’ll feel comfortable, have opportunities to advance and make a decent income. But, de Morsella notes, “If you have 20 people on staff and they’re all white guys, you send a weird message.”

So how do you get a diverse staff? “You don’t go out looking for a black man or a Latino woman,” she says. There are potential legal minefields associated with diversity hiring, such as reserving spots or job openings solely for diverse candidates. It’s reverse discrimination and illegal.

“The biggest mistake that companies [startups or established] make is being afraid - afraid of being called racist, being accused of setting quotas, etc.,” says Damali Ayo, a Portland writer and artist whose book, How to Rent a Negro (Lawrence Hill Books, 2005, $14.95) is intended to encourage open dialogue about race in the workplace. “People are so afraid of ‘doing it wrong’ when it comes to cultural diversity that procrastination and cowardice easily find their way in. Thus some companies who are strong in many areas find themselves weak in cultural diversity.”

As you create your recruiting materials, build in a diversity message that says, “This is a great place to work,” Ayo says. “You just need to broaden your talent pool, and you’ll have no problem finding people from varied backgrounds.”

Does Your Web Site Reflect Diversity?

One easy way to attract a broad talent pool is by adding a diversity page to your Web site, de Morsella says: “This is a very low-cost method and will help your site show up on search engines for diversity.

“If you’re not sure how to do it, go to the sites of major companies with a reputation for good diversity programs – Microsoft and Merrill Lynch, for example - and use them as a model.”

De Morsella also urges including minorities and women on your board. “This puts a diverse face on your company and makes those from diverse backgrounds want to work with you,” she says.

Widen Your Candidate Pool

One of the simplest ways to recruit for diversity is posting your company on minority-focused Web sites that offer various combinations of job listings, recruitment-marketing services and diversity-related news (see related sidebar).

De Morsella suggests that when looking for highly skilled talent and executives, tap into the local chapters of national groups. “It’s much less expensive,” she says. “Working through the national organization could cost up to $20K.”

For entry- to mid-level, she advises looking to such advocacy groups as the Urban League. “I’ve done this to hire sales staff and interns, and it’s worked out great,” she says. “Most large cities have a local chapter and will be happy to send candidates right away.”

It Won’t Pay If You Delay

Begin your efforts to hire a representative staff as soon as possible because cultural diversity can make a huge difference in the bottom line.

Robert Rodriguez is faculty chair in the School of Business & Technology at Capella University online, and chairman for the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement, a nonprofit that helps companies attract, develop and retain Latino talent. On the Society for Human Resource Management Web site, he recounts how a representative and diverse workforce led to big profits for Frito-Lay.

The Latino Employee Network at Frito-Lay proved invaluable during the development of Doritos Guacamole Flavored Tortilla Chips, Rodriguez writes. Members of the network provided feedback on the taste and packaging to help ensure authenticity, helping launch one of the most successful products in the company’s history. The snack generated more than $100 million in sales in the first year alone.

“A diverse staff is going to give you the best performance and results,” Ayo says. “A diverse staff is only one of the tools you need to build the best business possible. You should treat it with the same immediacy and importance as you would in finding the right tools in every other area.

“Become a leader in creating a diverse staff. Your clients’ confidence, staff morale, press coverage, productivity and, of course, your profits will increase for doing it.”

About the Author

Jackie Headapohl is a freelance writer for StartupNation.

Source : StartupNation

10 Steps to Finding and Hiring Diversity and High-Demand Candidates

Creating a process out of hiring the best

By Lou Adler

Here are two basic principles of recruiting that you need to apply when targeting passive candidates, diversity candidates, or any type of candidates in high demand:

• The more competition there is for a group of candidates (like nurses, pharmacists, sales reps who always exceed quota, design engineers who were elected to Tau Beta Pi, diversity candidates, etc.), the more recruiting effort is required to attract and hire them.

• Top people want top jobs, regardless of their cultural, ethnic or religious background or gender.

With these principles in mind, here are ten things you must do if you want to hire more top people and diversity candidates. All are essential. Nine out of ten is not good enough.

Here's the 10-step recipe:

1. Create compelling jobs. If a top person is fully employed or has multiple offers, then the quality of the job will be one of the top four factors determining which job the person will ultimately take (the other three: the manager, the company, the comp). If your online job descriptions start with a part number (or the requisition number) followed by the official title, the location, and some list of skills and requirements, you won't hire many good people. The title and the first two lines of the ad determine whether it will be read, so make sure that these first two lines create a buzz. The next paragraph must describe some of the projects and challenges in the job. Focus on the possibilities -- what the person will do, learn, and become -- not the requirements. I refer to this type of job description as a performance profile (here's an article for more on this). Make the person want to click the "apply" button. Referred candidates will always read the online job description before getting too interested. So don't ignore this step if you want to hire more culturally-diverse candidates or any type of person in high demand.

2. Job brand the job. Somewhere in the job description, tie the job to the company vision, its mission, a big project, or some important strategy. This makes the job bigger than itself. "Help us land the next generation of moon walkers," will be Northrup's and Boeing's message for the next shuttle program, even for those people working at the rec center.

3. Culturally brand the job. Do you really have a culture that thrives on diversity, or are you just meeting some corporate objective? How many African-Americans, Hispanics, and women have been promoted this past year as a percent of all promotions? You need to capture cultural diversity directly into the job with more than just a legal-sounding EEO statement.

4. Develop marketing-oriented sourcing programs based on how your future employees look for and apply for jobs. Top people and candidates in high demand don't look for jobs or accept offers using the same job hunting approach as most people. For one thing, they're much more discriminating. The primary decision to take a new job is based on the future opportunity and current challenges. That's why steps 1-3 above are critical starting points. Since these people look for jobs infrequently, the jobs must be easy to find when they do look. We're now doing a big research study on how different diversity candidate groups look for new jobs (send an email to info@adlerconcepts.com if you want to participate or learn more). The results so far indicate that you can't go wrong by making jobs highly visible with compelling titles and great copy wherever your jobs are posted. As part of this, your career site must be easy to find, and it must make a diversity statement tied to the company strategy on the first page. Rather than hyperbole, why not have bios and pictures of real people who represent the opportunities for diversity candidates and women within your company?

5. Reach out and find your candidate. If your target audience won't come to you, you'd better go out to them. This means you must leverage your employee referral program, and creatively use tools like ZoomInfo, Jobster, and LinkedIn, as well as advanced Internet data-mining techniques. For a start, establish an aggressive employee referral program targeted to your current diverse employees. Personally ask these pre-selected employees for the names of the best people they've ever worked with. Then get on the phone to recruit and network with these people, to leverage these names to get more names. You might want to conduct a Jobster campaign in combination with ZoomInfo's ethnic searching capability to jumpstart your efforts here. Regardless, make sure the job descriptions are compelling -- or everything else you do will be wasted.

6. Stay involved. Make your marketing a process, not an event. My old UCLA MBA buddy, Henry Hernandez, now the VP and chief diversity officer at American Express, gave me this sage advice many years ago. The basic theme: Don't just show up for some recruiting event. Instead, you need to promote, sponsor, be involved, and be committed -- every month, every year, and not just a few days here and there. Providing the resources and time is how you convert lip-service into reality.

7. Get hiring managers involved early and often. The recruiting department can't do it alone. Managers must be committed to the process and they must devote extra time and effort to make it work. They must devote even more time upfront to get it started. If you do everything else right but fail on this step, the process will collapse.

8. Conduct a professional and thorough interview. Too many people think the purpose of the interview is to assess candidate competency. Most of these same people don't even do this part too well, either. But the interview can and must be much more than this when hiring top people in any field -- and even more importantly when there is competition for these people. In these cases, the interview must meet these multi-factor criteria:

• Extreme professionalism is exhibited by all interviewers.
• The candidate spends at least an hour with key decision-makers.
• The process respects a top candidate's slower and more thorough decision-making process.
• The candidate is confident the interviewer has conducted a thorough and accurate assessment.
• The candidate has talked four times more than the interviewer.
• The candidate leaves wanting the job.

I've written a lot of articles on these pages on how to do this. Have many of your managers know how to accomplish the above?

9. Recruit and close. You'd better be able to handle every objection in the book, offer competitive compensation packages, and know how to use the interview to create opportunities. You do this by describing compelling challenges and having candidates describe relevant past accomplishments. Dig deep to validate the candidate's true role. Candidates need to earn the job during the interview. If you oversell, under-listen, or give the job away, you won't hire many high-demand candidates.

10. Conduct a great on-boarding experience and get more referrals. Now that you've hired some great high-demand candidates, use the performance profile prepared in step 1 above as the primary on-boarding tool. As you're reviewing it, ask for the names of other top people who might be interested in this type of compelling job. Then start over the 10-step process all over again. This is how you make the process of hiring cultural diversity and other high-demand candidates self-sustaining.

Hiring top people, including diversity candidates or any top person in high demand, is about much more than just finding names. That's the easy part. Having a recruiter call the person and then convince him or her to engage in a conversation takes skill and persistence. Having the recruiter then network with this person to get more names is even harder, but it's also that much more essential. Getting hiring managers and every person on the interviewing team committed to the process is a major challenge just by itself. Now all you need to do is train them on how to do it right.

Ten steps. That's all there is to hiring top passive and diversity candidates. I've seen it done. In every case, it started with someone in HR and recruiting taking the lead. It's not an event or a box being checked. It's a process.

Source : The Multicultural Advantage

Friday, January 25, 2008

Diversity: Beyond a Numbers Game

Today, this workplace goal is more about inclusion than meeting quotas

By Liz Ryan

"It seems like a lifetime ago that the company put all of us managers through diversity training," said a middle-manager friend. "We were told that diversity is one of our company's core values and the focus was on two things: understanding the laws that managers could inadvertently break and avoiding those pitfalls; and striving to be color-blind, gender-blind, and otherwise 'label'-blind in making employment and promotion decisions….Seemed like a piece of cake."

"What's changed?" I asked.

"It's gotten so much more complicated," he answered. "The other day, we had a little birthday gathering for our bookkeeper. I don't keep track of my team's ages, but I guess Annette turned 50. So we had the usual cake, and someone gave her a bunch of black balloons and sang a dirge about how old she is. Silly stuff, Annette just laughed, and it seemed like everyone was having fun."

"So what's the problem?" I questioned.

"Afterward, one of the supervisors told me that another employee was offended. If we make jokes about someone being old and feeble at 50, then this employee feels that we must be devaluing older people, and that includes her, because she's over 50. So can we never tell a joke again or have a birthday celebration? After all, we do these things to bring people together and help build a team."

This is a lot more complicated than someone getting offended about an office birthday party. Diversity in the workplace is a powerful concept and is one that is still evolving, but now it is much more about inclusion than meeting quotas. Thirty years ago, corporate diversity mostly referred to efforts to hire and promote women and minorities, and it was a numbers game. In the spirit of creating a diverse sales team, a diverse leadership team, or a diverse call center, we hired and promoted people based on quotas rather than skills. We neither added to the competitive heft of our organizations nor created the strong feeling of unity we may have been seeking. Today, most employers are smarter about managing diversity.

Positive Message

There's way more to achieving diversity than recruiting at historically African American universities or running a recruiting ad targeted at Hispanic MBAs. Those are great efforts, but they won't build a diverse, much less a cohesive, workforce. Nowadays, leaders who value a diverse workplace ask: "Do women, minorities, non-U.S.-born employees, people of different ages, and other people feel valued here in our company?" That's the real issue.

We can talk about diversity until we're blue in the face, but until we demonstrate that we mean it we can't expect our employees to believe us. Apart from the visible success stories—the number of managers who are Caucasian males, for instance—we can do more to fly the diversity-and-inclusion banner. We can talk openly with our employees about what working in a global, diverse environment entails. We can discuss frankly generational differences, cultural differences, and gender differences. We can talk about the challenges between working parents and nonparents. We can address these issues head-on as relevant workplace topics.

Let's take the over-50 employee who was put off by the birthday dirge and the black balloons. That woman got a one-time, negative message she took to mean that it's a bad thing to be over 50 in her company. We might scoff and say that she's overreacting, that it was only a joke, and that no one is devalued because of age. But it may be that this woman has never gotten any positive messages about the value of her maturity, life experience, and professional chops. So she has this one, unfortunate snapshot of the black birthday balloons to think about. An inclusion-focused employer would take care to send messages about the value of generational diversity, along with all the other kinds, at every possible juncture.

Communicating a Vision

How can an organization broadcast its inclusive nature? For starters, it can showcase its diversity of talent. It can point to examples of older workers, African American employees, Latino and Latina professionals, physically challenged team members, LGBT employees, and non-U.S.-born colleagues who have had success in the company. It can remind employees—via the company intranet, its newsletter, and its CEO's speeches—how important a diverse team is to the organization's success.

Those speeches and articles—backed by diversity and inclusion strategies ranging from mentoring programs to affinity groups to, yes, management training courses—keep employees focused on the fact that the company values each employee for his or her own talents. There are no magic bullets, but communicating the diversity vision is an important start. When an employee has never heard or seen it demonstrated that a company values people over 50, why should she assume it?

Employers who worry about the coming talent shortage would do well to examine their own cultures by asking the question "Do employees feel valued simply for their skills?" The results of a confidential survey or employee focus group may surprise a leadership team that believes its commitment to diversity should go without saying. If you take this step, prepare yourself for unexpected responses like "The company seems to give everyone a chance, but it helps if you attended Notre Dame." Creating a truly inclusive and merit-based culture is neither simple nor quick. But it starts with the intention to do it. Smart employers focused on long-term competitive advantage will step up their efforts to bring—and keep—talent on board, whatever shape, size, age, color, or gender the package.

About the Author

Liz Ryan writes her "Career Insight" column and answers readers' questions every week at businessweek.com/managing. She is an expert on the new-millennium workplace and a former Fortune 500 HR executive.

Source : Business Week

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Redefining Diversity

As practiced today, diversity is chiefly about improving the ratios of gender and race among applicants and hires. In a recent article, I discussed that while this may appear to be a worthwhile goal, the evidence from multiple studies demonstrates that this limited view of diversity is actually counterproductive. Instead of delivering any significant business benefits, employers experience mostly negative effects, such as higher turnover.

Achieving a net positive from diversity requires a strong emphasis on assimilation. An organization must actively work at ensuring that all candidates come to accept and share its values, mission, and purpose. If diversity recruiting is to be effective, it needs to be done differently.

The Hood Ornament

Diversity programs exist to advance the acceptance of minorities in organizations while providing those organizations with higher productivity, innovation, and a host of other benefits. But we already have affirmative action to cover the former, and there's no evidence that any of the latter actually occurs. This does not mean that diversity is a bad idea, but that there's no proof that it's a good one.

The business case for diversity is very weak. No evidence exists to show that organizations that embrace diversity, as currently defined, perform better than those that don't. The goal of diversity (i.e., hiring more women and "people of color") is worthwhile only if one assumes that not enough are being hired in the first place and that it's needed to counteract the effects of discrimination. But preventing discrimination is why we have laws that explicitly address it.

Some make the case that it's important that an organization's workforce reflects its customer base. But this is rarely relevant. Customers don't make buying decisions based on the composition of the workforce of those providing them with goods and services. Can you imagine patients traveling to the Mayo Clinic because of its diversity instead of its expertise? For that matter, would anyone refuse to be treated at a hospital where the workforce was not representative of them? Customers usually have no way of knowing this. Product labels do not mention the composition of the workforce, and even when people do know, they don't care. A lot of products sold in the United States are produced by workforces that are 100% Chinese, but that doesn't hurt sales.

If this argument had any substance, we wouldn't be seeing the continual increase in outsourcing of services to India. The composition of the sales force may be relevant to the customer base of large retail stores; but, the staff in such stores generally does reflect the customer base because most employees live within a few miles of the workplace, as do the shoppers.

Diversity is like an expensive hood ornament, out there for everyone to admire but serving no practical purpose. This is why so many organizations are not sold on diversity and do little more than pay lip service to its goals. Much of the reason for this is because the diversity movement has promoted it as a cause that should be taken on faith as a good thing, not to be questioned. It's hard to take this seriously when the goals appear to be nothing more than diversity for its own sake. A recent article on a prominent diversity website mentions that companies should keep a watchful eye on managers that don't care about getting diversity awards. Why that will help an organization do better at achieving its objectives is anyone's guess.

This example is a perfect illustration of the problems that the diversity movement has created. Not embracing diversity is the equivalent of opposing it, with appropriate consequences for those who don't. It would make more sense to find out if those who do collect such awards perform better than those who don't. So, instead of a solid business case for advancing a social cause, we have fearmongering. No wonder that most companies do just enough to stay off the radar of such self-appointed watchdogs.

Improving Diversity Recruitment

If we're serious about diversity, then we need to focus on what will make diversity programs and recruiting more effective. The research evidence shows that for diversity to work, assimilation is critical. That is, the workforce must be aligned with the values of the organization. Writing in "Good to Great," Jim Collins makes the case that companies that do not hire people that share their values are not likely to succeed. Collins also writes that companies need a set of core values in order to achieve the kind of long-term, sustainable success that may lead to greatness. The leap from good to great occurs when employees are equally dedicated to the same set of values.

Recruiting processes should include a values assessment using a standard inventory such as the Lennick Aberman or others. The extent to which alignment with values should influence a hiring decision should depend on the impact the job has on the organization and the likely tenure of the incumbent. A major gap between a candidate's and the employer's values should be a reason to consider if the candidate could realistically achieve the results expected of him in a manner acceptable to the organization. At a minimum, there should be a discussion of values as part of the hiring process.

Metrics should also measure the extent to which candidates and hires share the organization's values. Starting with the recruiting process, employees should be apprised of the organization's values. This is rarely done in a meaningful way, and it is certainly not a component of diversity programs. Assimilation does not mean that individual employees need to lose their identities, but it does mean that they need to accept and support their employer's purpose and values. Obviously, this is easier if an employee's values do not conflict with those of the employer.

Diversity recruiting should be part of an overall program designed to ensure that an employer's core values are supported by the workforce. If diversity recruiting just continues to be about improving the proportion of minorities in the applicant pool instead of selecting those aligned with values, then it's not likely that employers will move beyond paying lip service to the concept.

Conclusion

Whatever happened to not being judged by the color of your skin but by the content of your character? Diversity programs turn that one on its head.

Defining diversity in terms of race and gender trivializes the concept. Diversity certainly has value in an organization in which different points of view and experiences can generate new ideas, challenge old ones, and provide a richer experience for all, but there is no logical reason to limit that to race and gender. If we continue with this, then let's add a category to diversity recruiting for people weighing over 300 pounds (people of weight). That makes about as much sense.

As I mentioned above, since we already have EEO and AA, what value does diversity provide as currently defined? If the laws don't work, then diversity isn't going to do much to help. If they do work, then what is the point of race- and gender-based diversity?

I received a lot of e-mail after my last article, some of it very supportive and some highly critical, including some rather colorful remarks of a personal nature. Apparently, when it comes to diversity, a diversity of viewpoints is not welcome.

Interestingly, none of those that chose to dispute what I wrote provided a shred of evidence in support of their arguments other than to make rhetorical and morally posturing statements while claiming that any studies cited must be biased. I would wager that none of the people who opposed them have read the studies.

I am not opposed to diversity, but I don't see it working as it exists today, which is a huge disservice to all concerned. If this particular emperor has no clothes, then he deserves to be called out. As a recruiting professional, I'd like to see diversity recruiting deliver results that matter. If it's a program that many would like to support, then let's do what it takes to make it genuinely effective.

About the Author

Raghav Singh (rsingh@theA-ListLLC.com) is a partner at The A-List, a Minneapolis based staffing services provider. He has previously been in product management and marketing roles at several HR technology vendors. His career has included work as a consultant on enterprise HR systems and as a recruiting and HRIT leader at several Fortune 500 companies. Raghav will be speaking at the Spring 2008 ERE Expo on the subject of diversity.

Source : ERE.net

False Notions Smear Minority Hiring

By Anita Bruzzese

Gannett News Service

Ken Arroyo Roldan says that there is a dearth of diversity at the senior levels in American companies today, and executive search firms share much of the blame for that fact.

By the way, Roldan works for an executive recruiting company.

"We are the perpetuators," he says. "We control a lot of the search for the new talent brought on board, and if there are not incentives to do it, it doesn't get done."

Specifically, Roldan says that recruiters often ask employers to pay a 40 percent premium to recruit a minority "because they say it's more difficult," a fact that Roldan disputes.

As diversity practice leader with Battalia Winston Amrop Hever Group, Roldan says that assertion is just one of the myths that compounds the problem of minorities in the workplace. Without minorities at the senior levels, he says, minorities fail to get hired in lower tier positions as well.

"The titans of business really don't care about this issue," he says. "They have this "I gave at the gate' mentality. Many executives have been sensitized to death (about minorities) but at the end of the day, are they exposed to others? No. It's a gated community of white males."

He argues that a multipronged approach is needed to bring true diversity to the workplace, including the education of senior leaders and recruitment of diverse talent of workers at all levels of an organization.

"In corporations, the internal recruiters are not risk takers. They go with the tried and true method and they won't buck the system," he says. "They will go with the usual suspects," and forego searching and actively recruiting minority candidates, Roldan says.

"Companies can no longer sustain the argument that "we grow our talent organically,' because that's just an excuse to exclude minorities," he says.

Roldan says that he's trying to educate more recruiters about minority hiring, and how things can be done differently. He says that while discrimination exists, he believes it is more a matter of "ignorance" on the part of recruiters. To that end, he has come up with a list of myths that he's trying to dispel:

Myth 1: Qualified people of color at high levels are not out there. He says too often only a small group of upper level minority candidates are considered, when there are many more available.

Myth 2: It's hard to recruit minority candidates to some areas of the country. Roldan says that if more recruiters promoted what's attractive and appealing about a community to a minority candidate (good schools, beautiful scenery, etc.) then more minority job seekers would be interested in relocating.

Myth 3: Minority candidates are hard to manage and hard to terminate because they could claim discrimination and sue the company. Not true, he says.

Another problem he says, is "that when companies think of minorities, they only want someone like Tiger Woods. The best of the best. They're not willing to consider someone else, like they would with white males," he says.

According to the latest figures from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, while African Americans make up 14.1 percent of the workforce, they only comprise 7.3 percent of the professional ranks in this country. Hispanics, with nearly 12 percent of the workforce, only have 4.4 percent in the professional ranks. Asian Americans, on the other hand, are only 5 percent of the labor force in the U.S., but comprise 9.7 percent of the professional forces.

"There is a lot of work still to be done," Roldan says. "A lot of education in the recruitment marketplace is still required. We cannot revert to tokenism. There are a lot of kids out there who want to make an impact on the world, and we can't shut them out."

About the Author

Anita Bruzzese is author of "45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy," (www.45things.com). Write to her at anita@anitabruzzese.com or c/o: Business Editor, Gannett News Service, 7950 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, Va. 22107.

Source : JobBank USA

Cultural Diversity: A World of Difference

The European Union has declared 2008 the year of intercultural dialogue, so what better time for companies to turn diversity into a business opportunity?

Written by Dr Atul K Shah

Professional bodies are a magnet for minorities of all kinds ­ they provide a way for them to break the class barrier and maximise their skills and potential. In the UK, the accountancy profession attracts the largest number of ethnic minority applicants compared to any other profession. Look at any list of prize winners, and minorities ­ ethnic Indians, Chinese, Africans and others will often be there.

Although actual statistics of membership are not available, anecdotal evidence suggests that at least 40% of the members are non-white. That is a staggering statistic. China, India, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Germany, France, Brazil, Canada, USA ­ and countries from all over the world have sent their ambassadors to the UK ­ to practice accountancy. Every country in the world is represented in the UK profession ­ and that is a staggering accomplishment.

Either working in the profession or in industry, these members are making a huge contribution to the UK economy. There is diversity in the range of involvement and careers pursued. Many of these people are playing critical roles in the globalisation of British enterprise. British diversity has boosted the bottom line of corporations and professional firms for decades.

Plenty to offer

What exactly is it that immigrants bring to British enterprise? Different languages and cultural sensitivities for a start. International contacts and a flexibility of approach and hospitality gives them a leading edge. Hard work and diligence are a given ­ they have had to work very hard to get where they are and are keen to push the ceilings. Also they came with zero so the only way they can go is up.

For many immigrants, risk, enterprise and commerce is in their DNA. This applies particularly to Indians whose membership of the profession is in the tens of thousands. Their success has been proven by their thriving businesses ­ with many in the British Rich List. Their extensive community ties and networks provide them with huge social capital. The next generation has now been born and raised in Britain and having educated parents has made them even stronger.

At a time when countries like India and China are on the rise, people from these cultures with an accounting qualification provide an added bonus for effective international commerce. In professional practice, there is a disproportionately large number who have set up their own practices which are dynamic and growing. This is partly a result of discrimination and lack of opportunity within mainstream firms. They are a primary engine of small business growth in this country and many an entrepreneur would vouch for that.

The law on diversity in employment and services has changed significantly in recent years. It is illegal for firms to discriminate in their employment practices both at time of recruitment, progression and promotion. The consequences of breaking the law are serious in terms of time, embarrassment and cost. Many large firms have set up diversity units which spearhead employee training and ensure equality of opportunity at all levels.

Special employee networks have been established such as the Ernst & Young South Asian Network and the Price Waterhouse Hindu Network. There are also networks for women, gay people, disabled people and other minorities. However, the research evidence suggests that there is still a glass ceiling for minorities of all kinds. The same applies to industry and here again, if we look at the FTSE 100 companies, colour and gender is virtually absent among the board members.

However, there are positive ways of dealing with difference and turning it into an advantage. Human resource departments in firms hold the key to unlocking diversity and enabling change through recruitment, training and progression. Often problems lie in the very middle of large organisations ­ and the top stays mono-cultural as a result.

For teams to be creative, diversity helps in providing different ways of thinking and approaching a problem. Genuine open-mindedness enables learning and growth and avoids marginalisation of any colleague, irrespective of their background.

Studies have shown the huge losses companies incur through employee turnover, and this can be avoided if the right policies and practices are implemented. Empowerment of team members promotes respect and loyalty rather than fear and repression.

A recent study by Vodafone showed that many employees suffer from ‘identity stress’ ­ they feel they have to switch identities between home and the workplace. I like to encourage companies to embrace difference and see difference as an opportunity for growth and prosperity.

Treating employees ‘holistically’, where they are allowed to be themselves, creates loyalty and trust which are critical to lasting success. Mentoring and role models enable minorities to aim high and have hope and aspiration.

Organisational cultures need to change and this requires serious commitment from the senior staff. No longer can these matters be brushed under the carpet.

Professional bodies have to be careful in ensuring their services are accessible to all and that they take account of the needs of minorities and ensure their full participation in the association. Here again, there is a huge challenge as diversity is in policy statements but not observed in practice.

In reality, diversity in the workforce increases creativity and helps tap into new markets nationally and internationally. Organisations who ignore this are losing out.

How to make the most of it

• Difference is an opportunity, not a threat
• Organisations need to treat their employees ‘holistically’– as wholes and not parts
• Open-mindedness needs to be nurtured and encouraged
• Empowerment rather than territorialism will create loyalty and build trust
• Research has shown many employees suffer from identity stress
• Diversity helps creativity and enable firms to develop new products and access new markets
• A diverse workforce helps with global trade and commerce


About the Author

Dr Atul K Shah is chief executive of Diverse Ethics Ltd.

Source : Accountancy Age