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4 Insights On Diversity Hiring From An Expert

Adrian Dixon

October 2, 2017

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Even though I live in one of the most diverse cities in the world, Toronto, I admit I didn’t give workplace diversity serious thought until I started working in recruitment tech.

Seeing how important diversity and inclusion was for our customers motivated me to learn more about the issues.

So I asked talent acquisition veteran, D’Anthony Tillery, VP of Talent Acquisition & Deployment at Acosta Sales & Marketing, a 10,000+ employee organization, to share his expertise with me.

Prior to his role at Acosta, D’Anthony was the Sr. Director of Global Talent Acquisition, Diversity and Inclusion at Whirlpool. With over 20 years of experience in HR and recruiting and a recognized leader in diversity and inclusion, I knew he’d have a lot to share on this topic.

Below, D’Anthony outlines four key steps for creating successful diversity outcomes at your organization.

1. Define what diversity means to you

“To implement any diversity initiative, every organization should be charged with clearly defining what diversity means to them and their business.”  

For some, diversity will simply be a numbers game of having diverse talent, whereas others may see it more of a cultural imperative.

Whatever the definition of what diversity means to you, one thing remains true: diversity and inclusion initiatives should not be centrally focused on one aspect, but holistically focused to drive impact throughout the employee life cycle.

2. Have a holistic view of diversity

There needs to be a focus of examining diversity from all holistic aspects of the employee life cycle.  

“When organizations focus on only one aspect of diversity in their organization, they will never truly make a sustainable impact that drives a differentiated outcome to their employee base.”

For example, if you increase the diversity in your pipeline but you have no strategy for employee development and promotion, you’re going to end up with a retention problem.

You need to implement strategies to increase the engagement of your minority employees, for example, through affinity groups. You have to think about performance. Is your diverse talent being promoted fairly?

Diversity touches every aspect of an employee’s life at a company in very granular ways.

This includes employment branding, recruiting, onboarding, performance management, career growth or development, and sustainability of culture.

3. Audit your own internal processes

As you work to define diversity and inclusion in your own organization, you should be auditing your own processes. Organizations need to analyze their own internal processes to identify if there are any barriers to entry.

An example in recruiting is: do you measure your current candidate flow of applicants (your pipeline of diverse talent) who are attracted and applying to your organization?

“Are you measuring the impact of your hiring decisions to determine if unconscious bias plays a part in your selection decisions?”

If you present several qualified diverse candidates and the hiring manager rejects them all, that might speak to a problem with your interview process. You need to probe and ask people to explain why they rejected certain candidates over others.

Are there challenges for diverse talent gaining upward mobility in your organization?  

These are all questions that affect areas of your branding, retention and attraction processes in recruiting.

4. Take a scientific approach

Creating a diverse talent pipeline is a science.

Use data in your decision-making and get granular with it. A lot of organizations look like a pyramid in terms of their gender and ethnic makeup from top, middle, and bottom. 

To reduce the subjectivity and bias involved, you need to standardize the interview process, create diverse interview panels when possible, and include robust interview training and guides to create consistency.

Some final thoughts

D’Anthony’s insights come from years of experience recruiting, interviewing, and managing people.

I’d like to add that using the right recruiting software can be a big help for avoiding unconscious bias and addressing some of the barriers that diverse candidates might face during sourcing and screening.

I’m a firm believer that armed with the right tools like AI for recruiting – which can be programmed to ignore candidates’ race, gender, and age – humans with the right mindset are more equipped than ever to take on diversity challenges in the workplace.