Building Diversity Internally


Unknown-1Companies care a great deal about recruiting and hiring a diverse workforce. In fact, a recent SHRM survey of HR professionals reported that close to 75% of Fortune 1000 companies consider diversity a main focus of their recruitment strategy. But if you’re still in the 25% that’s attempting to pitch diversity and inclusion to the C-Suite, or you’re just looking to amplify your existing efforts, we’ve rounded up some of our key takeaways from this year’s SHRM conference in Chicago.

1) Selling Diversity to the C-Suite: Lose the Buzz Words

HR practitioners have a habit of talking in HR Speak. We’re all familiar with the buzzwords and phrases (culture, variety of experiences, unique backgrounds, global workforce) and while they’re helpful when talking to industry peers, those buzzwords won’t help sell your diversity and inclusion strategy to C-Suite executives and shareholders. And, they definitely won’t get you the budget needed to recruit the brightest and the best diverse candidates.

To make a case for expanding your existing recruiting budget to include diversity, C-Suites want and need to understand why diversity is important and how it will impact the company’s bottom line. It’s critical that you speak their language. Help them understand exactly what’s at stake by connecting diversity to new market penetration, expense reduction, brand recognition, sales or productivity.

2) It Takes a Village

One of the key takeaways from the conference was that executing Diversity & Inclusion initiatives should not fall solely on the shoulders of HR. A great diversity strategy should include a top-down approach, with buy-in from the entire company. It’s especially important for managers and senior leaders to understand how diversity will benefit the business and any new changes that will take place in their department. Most importantly, employees will want to know, “what’s in it for me?” Turn your C-Suite leaders into champions for D&U by equipping them with the tools needed to effectively communicate this message to employees (see point #1)

3) “Stop Putting Only Dead White Guys on Slides”

This last phrase made our entire session laugh out loud, but it’s so true! How many presentations have you attended with quotes from guys like Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, or Thomas Jefferson? As our presenter pointed out, these guys have said amazing things and made great contributions to America, but they’re not the only ones! Building a workforce that feels inclusive takes time and small details go a long way. Your HR Department should be working closely with the VP of Communications to make sure marketing collateral, presentations, speeches, and Power Point slides support the diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and images of your organization.





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Nathan Parcells

Nathan Parcells is VP of Marketing and co-founder of Looksharp. He has spent the past decade helping students launch their career, researching best practices for hiring millennials (including running Looksharp's annual "State of College Hiring") and sharing these insights with employers. Nathan's work has been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, Business Insider and more. Outside of work, Nathan is an avid rock climber, back packer and Bob Dylan fan.