<i>Dear Workforce</i> How Do We Make Diversity Hiring a Positive Experience

March 31, 2006
Dear Dedicated:

Let's face it: Hiring, which is one of a manager's most important functions, is hard work. Adding what may look like an extra requirement, whether it's related todiversity or anything else, makes it even harder.
People, including supervisors who hire others, want to know that the work they do is truly meaningful. People may or may not find intrinsic meaning in hiring a diverse workforce per se, but most find great meaning in hiring people who produce outstanding business results. And hiring the best people for the job does not have to conflict with an organization's objective of developing a diverse workforce.
Educate your hiring managers about the business case of having a diverse workforce. Start with the books Beyond Race and Gender and Building a House for Diversity. Don't hide these books in the human resources department. Share them with hiring managers.
Hal Jones, chief consulting officer for Roosevelt Thomas Training and Consulting, urges employers to adopt a "strategic diversity management process" that focuses not only on hiring but also fosters an environment that attracts, retains and maximizes the productivity and contribution of a diverse workforce. As you said, efforts to "hire for diversity" will almost always be seen as an add-on to an already weighty workload.
Provide tools to help managers select from a broader variety of qualified applicants as well as incentives that encourage them to do so. Expand your sources of candidates. If you're stuck in the rut of recruiting from the same places, don't be surprised when you end up with the same faces. Start reaching out to universities with more diverse student bodies.Advertise in publications that reach a wider demographic. And provide financial incentives that encourage all of your employees, not just certain groups, to recruit from their diverse networks.
Make sure feedback,recognition, mentoring andcareer development work for a wide variety of employees, not just for certain groups focused on diversity.
Make the quality of hiring a substantial component of managers' variable. We recommend that about 25 percent of managers' performance bonuses be tied to the quality of their hiring, however you choose to measure that.
Reward managers (with real money, not tokens) who meet established and visible quality goals with respect to hiring. Do they hire a wide variety of people? Do their people stay with the organization? Do these people get promoted? How are theirperformance evaluations over time?
Managing diversity strategically, rather than pursuing disjointed efforts in one area or another, is the most sustainable way for managers to see the value of hiring and leading a diverse workforce.
SOURCE: Richard Hadden and Bill Catlette, co-authors, Contented Cows Give Better Milk, May 3, 2005.
LEARN MORE:Tracking the Value of Diversity Programs. Also seeDiversity's Business Case Doesn't Add Up.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.