Ask Jackye: Do the Right Thing – Part 2: Selling Diversity

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Jun 26, 2012

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Now that you know how to “Do the Right Thing,” the next part of the question was how to sell this idea up the chain. In other words, how do you get the top of the corporate food chain to buy into the importance of having a diversity initiative?  The answer is you don’t.

We know how important and beneficial it is to source a diverse talent pool and how it helps the company with earning potential, retention and yadda, yadda, yadda. You are right that it is needed to stay competitive in this market. By implementing change, we are oftentimes exposed to a great deal of pushback; a “who moved my cheese” response is typical.

I would like to suggest the “Trojan Horse” method.  My version of the “Trojan Horse” method is to get buy in one stake holder person at a time and before you know it, they will be champions for you and your efforts. Take baby steps and remember, those above love the projects that “they” thought up.

Execs are so busy. The last thing they want is another meeting. Especially a planning meeting about planning! Execs are all about the bottom line and if having a diverse team does the things we say it does, the results will speak for themselves.  We do know that we can’t change other people, we can only change ourselves.

Here are some potential steps:

1. Audit your job descriptions

Get away from using template job description forms and make sure that your descriptions and requirements are reflecting exactly what the candidate will actually be doing and skills needed to be successful. HR job description templates are notorious for having discriminatory language. Common errors you see all the time is the famous must be able to lift 50 lbs.  What exactly is your AP clerk going to be lifting that could be 50 lbs?  A new one I found stated that you had to drive a zoo vehicle! (Check out this article that makes reference to my session I recently taught about diversity recruiting)

2. Start posting jobs in new places.

Name a group and there is a employment site!  CareerBuilder, Monster and Indeed are common, but here are some sites that you may not be as familiar with to help you get started:

3. Ask open questions

Make sure that when sourcing candidates and you are in discovery mode, ask questions that will help you get to what they do and where they excel.  What are their accomplishments? How did they do it? When was it?  Why did they do it in the first place?

At the end of the day, diversity does not have to include an “initiative” to get started. Also, don’t add a diversity “program” to join the trend or appear diversity. As sourcers we need the get the best talent out there and in order to do so, we need to reach as many people as possible. By making sure that your job descriptions do not exclude potential candidates because of bogus requirements and by placing job openings in new places, you should get new candidates coming to you! And they of course will be able to refer others and you will build a talent pool and become a sourcing hero!  And you don’t even have to lift 50 pounds to do it!

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