A diverse workforce increases teamwork, productivity, efficiency, revenue and the overall wellness of a business. Focused recruiting is instrumental to achieving a diverse workforce, and is more successful if the company has an overall diversity and inclusion philosophy, as well as a focus on diversity retention. Without an overall diversity philosophy, recruitment might increase the number of diverse hires only to see the overall percentage of diversity in the workforce just remain stable – or worse – decrease.
Successful diversity recruiting includes various sourcing strategies, employee network groups, targeted diverse college programs, alumni, fraternity and sorority networks, and diversity retention and leadership programs. It is important to be able to measure the results of diversity programs to ensure success.
Diversity Sourcing Strategies
Diversity sourcing strategies leverage specifically selected job boards, diversity-focused industry associations and social media (e.g. LinkedIn groups, Facebook, talent communities, etc.). Sourcing strategies around diversity also differentiate the company’s employee value proposition and help businesses understand why different diverse employees should want to join your organization. Important diversity considerations include:
Strong diverse candidates have a multitude of options, and recruiters need to be able to make a custom recommendation about the company to potential hires.
Employee Network Groups
Companies who have employee network groups (ENG) that focus on different diverse populations are advertising to candidates that they value diversity, and supporting their existing diverse candidate populations. Recruitment team members should meet with the ENGs on a regular basis to gain knowledge on new sourcing opportunities, and to advertise the employee referral program. ENG members can be instrumental in the recruiting effort if they are alumni of a diverse college, sit on a board, or work on a diverse community group and are willing to speak on behalf of the company.
Targeted Diverse College Programs
If your company has a college program, does it include Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or other schools with large diverse populations? Competition at HBCs can be fierce, and many companies are finding success at regional schools with strong diverse populations. Identifying a handful of professors who can refer top students and sell your company to prospective candidates can be an invaluable sourcing strategy. On-site campus hiring events, leveraging your diverse employees can be a great way to connect with students and ensure that your company is top-of-mind when graduates begin looking for a job.
Alumni, Fraternity, and Sorority Networks
Historically diverse fraternities and sororities have alumni networks all across the country. Identify who in your employee base may be a member and encourage them to act as a company ambassador. Identify diverse high-potential employees and strong leaders who can leverage their campus alumni networks to identify candidates. Work with existing employees and recruiting team members to create gold-standard hiring experiences for candidates identified through such networks to help cement your company brand and encourage more applications.
Diversity Retention and Leadership Programs
Diversity hiring is always made easier when the company has a low diversity attrition rate and strong diversity leadership programs. Provide all potential candidates with recruitment collateral that speaks to diversity inclusion and leadership programs, as a commitment to diversity is not only important to diverse candidates, but matters to many potential employees. Also advertise if your company has a diverse mentoring program, leadership opportunities, and other diversity programs that will help promote your company brand.
Measure Your Results
Recruitment should always be able to measure its results. When tracking diversity recruiting, take into account specific diversity recruiting programs as well as overall employee diversity. It is important to look at the diversity attrition rate, including the percentage of diverse regrettable loss, and percentage of diverse hires, as well as the percentage of diverse employees against the total employee base and a comparison of the diverse company population against the local community diverse population. Companies should also pay attention to the diversity of their recruiting team, and ensure strong representation among the recruiters as well as the main body of the company.
Diversity is a benefit for any organization. Using a comprehensive diversity philosophy and recruiting plan, a company can bring in diverse candidates, while the overall strategy will allow those individuals to feel valued, flourish in their careers, and positively impact the company’s goals.
About 4 months ago I decided to take the leap and move from a Corporate Recruitment Director role working as a client and champion of RPO to being a member of the RPO provider itself. Having been in an RPO relationship for 5 years, I thought I had a strong knowledge of RPO and how they delivered to the client. After my initial orientation, there have been two interesting surprises: the vast number of resources that it takes to deliver to a client and the role of the client.
As a Recruitment Director, intuitively you know that it takes a large team of highly skilled professionals to scout and land the very best talent for your organization and you’ve probably moved to an RPO provider because you either couldn’t manage the scale, didn’t have the skill set, or couldn’t afford the cost of an in-house team. What I never realized was the sheer size of the resources that an RPO puts behind an account to deliver. In–house, I had a couple of recruiters who were good at sourcing candidates, with RPO, we have access to over 100 sourcers who share best practices and new ideas daily on how to search the vast web of information to find that one needle in the haystack. Additionally, when someone went on vacation or on leave, there was the usual scramble to make sure that the back-up was prepared, in RPO, resources are cross-trained so regardless of leave or workload, there is always a resource providing seamless service. Most importantly, there are a multitude of recruiters who truly want a career in recruitment vs the individual who is passing through recruitment on a career path to higher role in HR. RPO is so much more than just a replacement for your in-house team.
The other difference I have found is the role of the client in RPO. The most successful RPO relationships are those that are partnership relationships vs vendor relationships. While that may seem obvious, I’ve been surprised how often that’s not the case. To maximize partnership success, clients should consider:
Accountability: Accept as much accountability for the success of the RPO as the RPO provider does. Let’s face it; you will only be successful in your role, if the RPO is successful.
Invest in the relationship: Be highly engaged in the implementation process, accurately assess the degree of resistance and create a change management plan and provide a solid orientation for your RPO recruiters. RPO providers don’t live within your organization, so it’s vital to teach them what it is like to work in your company.
Champion the RPO: Recruitment is hard and the business is always vocal on the quality of the candidates and the recruitment process. It’s vital that Hiring Managers provide feedback on these things. A common thing I’ve heard repeatedly over the last four months is the lack of feedback from the Manager or the Manager’s unavailability to interview. It’s up to you as the client to teach the organization of the value of candidate relationship management.
On-going Discussions: Keep the channels of communication open between yourself, your team, the Account Manager and the Recruiters. Focus on solutions instead of placing blame and resist threats to call the Senior Leadership of the RPO. Recruiters are not always as committed to being on accounts where clients are quick to judge. They take ownership for their mistakes, but they like the praise as well. Celebrate the wins and resolve the issues.
With the unique opportunity to deliver on both sides of the spectrum, I’ve certainly come to a deeper appreciation of RPO and what it takes both from a client and provider to maximize success. By gaining a better understanding of each other, we can continue to build better partnerships and better outcomes.