Saturday, May 06, 2006

Diversity is, as Diversity Does. Recruit and Retain!

If you are to attract, hire, develop and retain the best talent (future employees), you must nurture an environment where talented employees of “all kinds” can thrive and do their best work. An inclusive workplace produces unique perspectives and enhances innovation at work. Diversity is more than just a workforce development strategy; it is a business necessity!

Businesses today must go way beyond its regulations to create a warm, trustworthy, inclusive environment that not only attracts, but also retains. Putting any ole buttock in a chair is easy. Finding the right person is a serious challenge. If your company measures its success (any buttock in a chair) with this data, I laugh out loud. Bad measurements are a waste of time and effort, equating to lost money. This measurement doesn’t measure “Jack.” A better measurement and change indicator is keeping the talent and tracking their retention. Top diverse employees desiring to stay and progress, is the part most companies over look. How long is your diverse staff remaining with your company? Why? What is your company doing wrong or right?

Top Ten Diversity Enhancing Techniques:

1. Be open to difference. Promote diversity initiatives at your company and the positives surrounding diversity; squash negative perceptions (quotas and tokens) with knowledge.

2. Ensure you are recruiting during the right time, at the right schools, and the right events. Be on target, which means doing some serious research.

3. Don’t overlook highly qualified candidates. It is important to look both holistically and individually at a candidate. In order to understand an applicant’s whole package and the candidate’s road to success, you must understand that all students have different backgrounds in regards to opportunity. Some roads have more barriers (challenges) than others. Understand these challenges! For example, disability, financial, head-of-household, 3 jobs while attending school and many others.

4. Ensure that your recruiting staff and interviewers are a good mirror reflection/representation of your corporate diversity.

5. Recruiters and interviewers should be knowledgeable on diversity and why your organization embraces it.

6. Organizational charts should reflect diversity. Charts with pictures work well. This lends itself towards proof there is opportunity for diverse candidates at your company. Pictures paint a thousand words.

7. Prepare to make offers quickly; Time is of the essence, as top talent is scooped up fast. Snooze and you will lose.

8. Show off and be proud of the diversity at your organization. Publications, magazines, video clips, and awards help disseminate the truth. Recruiters (sales men and women) have a job to do, some will say anything to fill a job. Back up your mouth with facts and data.

9. Track retention and diligently research trends that negatively impact your diverse hires staying with your company (understand why employees are leaving and more positively, staying).

10. Become very creative in your future hiring plans. Think about sponsoring opportunities for diverse candidates early on, like high school. Invest in the future! Develop and advertise internship programs. Offer sharp candidates opportunity they may not otherwise have. Mentor up the next generation and help guide them into careers.

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