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WHITE PAPER Building a Diverse Organization Through the Use of Innovative Sourcing Strategies T...

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Building a Diverse Organization Through the Use of Innovative Sourcing Strategies


he importance of workplace diversity is

well-established. However, the extent to

which diversity is employed is highly variable, from companies that solely comply with federal employment regulations to organizations that thoroughly embrace the concept of inclusion. No matter the extent present, all companies can benefit from broadening their diversity initiatives. This white paper examines both the importance of and challenges associated with workplace diversity, as well as provides organizations innovative sourcing solutions to uncover their next most valued employees.

The Importance of Implementing Diversity in the Workplace Traditionally, diversity definitions have focused more on viewable differences among individuals, such as race and gender. Diversity, of course, encompasses these differences. It also, perhaps more importantly, encompasses individuals’ varied views and life experiences, many of which may not be evident on a surface level. The most successful organizations take into account employees’ various experiences and perspectives and, in doing so, build stronger, more competitive companies. This section examines the importance of workplace diversity, specifically focusing on the following topics: • Creativity and Innovation • Shifting U.S. Demographics • Government Compliance Creativity and Innovation Creativity and innovation are easily two of diversity’s greatest benefits. The promotion of varied viewpoints and ideas is an excellent way to achieve creativity and innovation in the workplace. The hiring and promotion of diverse

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talent allows for the development of innovative products and services that appeal to a wide variety of marketplaces. Russell Vertner, the Director of Student Diversity and Program Assessment and a Lecturer in Business Communications at Indiana University Kelley School of Business-Indianapolis, asserts that “diversity in the workforce means that you have a variety of opinions and experiences that help management to be broader in their thinking, so that the products and services that they develop and refine are more likely to hit a multicultural audience and be successful.”

Additionally, diverClients perceive sity helps companies appeal to a variety an extra level of of marketplaces by understanding the sensitivity when cultural uniqueness each exhibits. Vertner they see that your suggests that without workforce reflects diversity, “a company’s staff would be makyour customer ing educated guesses about what they think base. is in the best interest of their clients. They don’t really reflect their clients; they just think they know them through external surveys and research. Clients perceive an extra level of sensitivity when they see that your workforce reflects your customer base. It’s a win-win situation, when the paradigm works the way it should.”

Shifting U.S. Demographics Creativity and innovation are excellent benefits provided by diversity; however, they can be hard to quantify. If these advantages do not sway management to broaden diversity initiatives, rapidly shifting U.S. demographics should. As the U.S. experiences large demographic shifts in the coming years, workplace diversity will become essential for any company that desires to remain viable. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, white, Building a Diverse Organization


non-Hispanics currently make up more than 65 percent of the U.S. population. By 2050, this group will make up approximately 50 percent of the U.S. population. Thus, companies need to rethink their business strategies to incorporate growing minority groups and stay competitive in the marketplace. Now is the time for organizations to put more employees in place with the knowledge to tap into these expanding customer bases. Government Compliance Companies should be encouraged to look beyond meeting legal guidelines and make diversity an entrenched part of day-to-day business. Diversity should not be strictly numbers-driven, but rather a promotion of diverse thoughts and ideas. However, government compliance will be an important part of any diversity program. Organizations who risk noncompliance face numerous negative consequences, including a poor reputation and failed Department of Labor audits. Developing a reliable method to track compliance statistics and other diversity metrics is a good way to ensure that compliance goals are consistently met.

The Challenges of Implementing Diversity in the Workplace Numerous companies have realized the importance of diversity and are taking steps to promote it; however, differences are not always appreciated and change is not always welcomed. Companies that plan on making diversity a top priority are likely to face some challenges. In the next section, the following obstacles are discussed: • Gaining Company-wide Buy-in and Building a Business Case • Internal and External Diversity Message Consistency • The Retention and Promotion of Diverse Employees

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Gaining Company-wide Buy-in and Building a Business Case Resistance on the part of organizational departments outside of HR is a common barrier companies should expect to face when implementing diversity programs. Before rolling out any initiative of this type, it is imperative that HR has the Companies need backing of upper to ensure that management to ensure diversity is a diversity is company-wide goal. Better yet, companies embedded— with the available resources may elect present at all levels to appoint a Chief Diversity Officer, and partnerships director, or manager as a direct report to formed the organization’s throughout the senior leaders. This arrangement increasorganization. es the reach and commitment of the company’s diversity initiatives. HR has been, and can be, a successful manager of diversity initiatives; however, the diversity role has evolved from one of support to one that capitalizes on the organization’s mission, vision, and strategic goals. By shifting the responsibility from HR to a Chief Diversity Officer, director, or manager, diversity initiatives have a greater chance of truly succeeding.

The most effective diversity programs, according to Nancy Hall, PrincetonOne’s Vice President of Human Resources, build “a culture where all talent is valued and fully utilized to maximize business performance. [Companies] need to ensure that diversity is embedded—present at all levels and partnerships formed throughout the organization. Additionally, communication is essential.” Inspiring this type of company-wide change may seem overwhelming at first. However, once the benefits of diversity become apparent, acceptance will be easier gained. Building a Diverse Organization


Professional Data Dimensions is an Indianapolis firm that provides IT consulting services to federal, state and local government agencies and companies in the private sector. Wayne Patrick, a Professional Data Dimensions partner and co-founder, manages the company’s marketing and recruiting staff and conducts corporate business development efforts. Patrick has run into challenges implementing diversity programs and asserts that the best way to gather company-wide support Diversity is not is to “involve as many people as you can at necessarily an all levels of the organialtruistic thing. zation.” The goal is a combined understandThere are valid, ing and vested interest in the success of the viable economic proposed plan. Patrick believes that the use of reasons for it. an assessment tool is a great starting point. He suggests that the tool should evaluate “where the business is today, in relation to diversity. What are the issues we have and where do we need to be? Your plan essentially becomes how we get from where we are now to where we need to be.”

Most in the business world acknowledge that diversity is not only the right thing to do, but also positively effects the bottom line. Patrick states, “[Diversity] is not necessarily an altruistic thing. There are valid, viable economic reasons for it.” As mentioned previously, these reasons include innovative products and services, increased customer retention and a broader customer base. Additionally, employees who are part of organizations with successful diversity programs are more likely to feel a sense of inclusion and support. Employee workplace satisfaction can lead to enhanced worker retention and greater productivity. Though there are numerous ways diversity positively affects the bottom line, these reasons alone should be a great starting point to build a business case that is sure to White Paper © PrincetonOne

catch upper management’s attention. Internal and External Diversity Message Consistency Organizations’ diversity messages will encompass not only the programs they implement internally, but also those messages portrayed publically. It is essential that internal and external marketing communication share the same diversity message. This is especially important when attempting to attract candidates. Most candidates’ first impression of a company will be that projected publically through print ads, commercials and other marketing means. It is imperative that the company’s public image mirrors the change occurring internally. A simple way for companies to show their commitment to diversity is through an EEO statement placed on materials made available to the public, such as job ads and Web sites, affirming that the business is an equal opportunity employer. A great number of organizations take their diversity messages much further. One company that has done a good job of this is Xerox, which was recognized as a leader on several lists this past year, including “The 2007 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity®” and Black Enterprise Magazine’s “2007 40 Best Companies for Diversity.” The diversity messaging on Xerox’s Web site is thoughtful and comprehensive, even offering a timeline of the evolution of diversity at the company, spanning back to the 1960s. The Retention and Promotion of Diverse Employees Another challenge the implementation of diversity initiatives presents is the retention and promotion of diverse employees. Once hired, the company is tasked with making sure the environment is conducive to these new employees’ long-term career growth and development. A supportive and inclusive workplace leads to employee satisfaction and, ultimately, retention. Well-thought-out orientation, mentoring, training and career advancement programs, for which management is held accountable, are critical for employee growth and retention and can lead Building a Diverse Organization


directly to organizational success. Growing a business’s available resources is a great way for positive impact. Additionally, providing internal opportunities for growth and development help build a favorable company reputation, with which to attract candidates, and is a great selling point when persuading those candidates to join the team. The nation’s leading provider of student loans, Sallie Mae, incorporates diversity management into its employee training through its “Managing our Workforce” program, a twelve-hour training program designed to address workplace complexities, such as age, gender, ethnicity and communication. Sallie Mae’s Diversity Manager, Edward Santiago, explains that the company creatively introduces diversity in the workplace through various mechanisms, including e-mails regarding corporate diversity initiatives and community activities, such as Black History Month events, and a highly visible diversity bulletin board. The organization is also in the process of creating special interest groups for its employees. “We are building a new In order to target employee diversity council to increase the most diverse employee participation in meeting the group of candidates, challenges of the says Santiaa move beyond future,” go. “This group will receive eight hours traditional methods of training and development on the is needed. diversity initiatives within the organization.”

Innovative Sourcing Strategies Any organization can take meaningful steps to positively impact internal diversity. For most companies, diversity can be achieved through an expanded sourcing reach. In order to target the most diverse group of candidates, a move beyond traditional methods is needed. White Paper © PrincetonOne

The objective of this section is to provide innovative sourcing strategies that are proven to widen the sourcing funnel and bring many qualified candidates into the hiring process. This information has been grouped into the following two categories: • Sourcing Methods • Sourcing Approaches Sourcing Methods With the advanced technologies available today, there are a variety of ways to source candidates. Some of the more traditional methods include posting to a company Web site, Intranet site or utilizing major job boards. However, solely posting to these sites is not enough. To stay competitive and appeal to a diverse crowd, it is essential that organizations seek out alternative sourcing methods. Some of these methods include: • • • • • •

Niche Job Boards Employee Referrals Social Media Competitor Penetration Advertising Networking

Niche Job Boards When searching for candidates with specific skills or expertise, organizations can access the more than 1,000 niche job boards that exist. Niche job boards are tailored to a variety of diverse groups, and posting to these sites can be an effective way to get information in front of targeted groups. In addition to niche job boards, there are also many membership associations and societies that allow employers to post jobs quickly and easily on their Web sites. One example is the National Association of Black Accountants, Inc. ( Through the association’s Web site, employers have the ability to post jobs online within minutes. By utilizing this site, employers receive instant, inexpensive exposure to the largest pool of African-American financial services professionals in the nation. Building a Diverse Organization


Employee Referrals Employee referrals are one of the best ways to bring diverse candidates into an organization. Many organizations prefer to source candidates through employee referral programs because of their high success rates. To encourage employee referrals for specific diversity or hiring initiatives, there are a variety of ways for organizations to engage employees in these efforts. First, organizations can seek out the help of their marketing departments to create a theme for the specific hiring initiative. The theme should permeate all informational brochures, signs and materials that are distributed internally to help generate excitement among employees. The organization can also use the company’s Intranet site to promote the hiring initiative. Additionally, employee newsletters can be a great way to provide employees with important information, such as updates and results of hiring objectives. Another option is to offer cash incentives or rewards for employee referrals that result in placements, prompting individuals to get involved who may not have before.

target potential candidates by searching through the various “communities” that exist, or locating newsgroups or blog postings pertaining to certain topics or areas of expertise. A study by Clearswift in December of 2007 showed that 34 percent of HR professionals are actively using some form of social media to recruit candidates. However, 65 percent said they are not. While the majority of HR departments have not yet adapted, this area will continue to grow in the coming years.

Social Media Social media (commonly referred to as It is essential that “Web 2.0”, includes organizations blogs, podcasts, social networks, understand and etc.) has become an increasingly utilize social media popular communication method of as a means to the next generation Thererecruit the next workforce. fore, it is essential that organizations generation. understand and utilize social media as a means to recruit the next generation. There are a variety of ways that organizations can use these tools to access a wider variety of candidates. Through Internet newsgroups, blogs or social networking sites (MySpace, Facebook, Linked In, etc.), organizations can

Competitor Penetration Many organizations employ methods to target top talent at competitor companies. This is a sensitive area, so the organization must ensure it is seeking out candidates in an ethical manner and is not trying to recruit individuals for the purpose of gaining trade secrets. One option is for employees to seek out friends or colleagues who work at competitor companies to set up introductory meetings. Another alternative is to partner with a third party firm that can provide best practices and confidentiality in this sensitive area. No matter what method the organization chooses, this is an option that should be considered. Competitor candidates will already have industry expertise, and will usually take less time to train, enabling them to be productive sooner.

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Serena Software, Inc., based in San Mateo, CA, developed an innovative approach to using social media within the workplace. The company recently rolled out a company-wide program called “Facebook Fridays,” which encourages employees to find personal connections in the workplace. Each Friday, employees are granted one hour of personal time to spend on their Facebook profiles and connect with co-workers, customers, family and friends. This initiative was rolled out to more than 800 employees in the 18 countries where the company has offices.

Advertising By placing recruitment advertisements within diversity or other publications, organizations are Building a Diverse Organization


able to reach a targeted audience with which to promote the organization’s diversity practices and culture. This can increase the flow of candidates to the organization. It is essential that the business’s advertisements are created with the target audience in mind. By creating content that focuses on the audience’s specific wants and needs, the organization will have a higher response rate. To track the effectiveness of the advertisements, organizations can include a Web address on the advertisement and track the visits to the specific “landing page” and number of qualified leads. It is also important to ensure that the organization’s Web site has diversityspecific content, so that the message is consistent. Networking Networking is a great way to generate leads on potential candidates, and can take place either locally or nationally. One easy way to network is by developing partnerships within the community. Partnerships can be developed through involvement with community organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce or multicultural associations. Attending industry trade shows or diversity job fairs is another effective avenue for networking. There are also many national associations and societies that provide direct access to a variety of diversity candidates. Some include the National Black Association of Engineers and the National Hispanic Business Association. Many of these associations provide networking resources on their Web sites, and encourage involvement through local chapters. Sourcing Approaches Depending on its needs, an organization has a variety of choices when determining the sourcing approach of its talent acquisition campaign. These approaches include the following: • • • •

Executive Search Contract Staffing Recruitment Process Management College Recruiting

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Executive Search Many organizations turn to executive search firms for help with specific diversity initiatives because of the expertise and increased capabilities they can provide. The advantage to using a search partner is that it typically has established relationships within niche markets, and is able to leverage its extensive networks and contacts to produce greater results. Executive search partnerships are an effective way to increase the flow of diversity candidates, while meeting specific hiring timelines. Contract Staffing Organizations that are insistent their diversity messages be carried throughout all asHistorically, pects of hiring sometimes find it necesrecruitment sary to seek a contract staffing proprocess managevider that can provide a diverse mix of ment solutions are candidates.

shown to provide

Recruitment Process Management higher quality Recruitment process candidates and management entails an outside provider decreased costs for creating, enhancing or modifying an organizations. organization’s hiring process. Recruitment process management includes the execution of the hiring process and all related activities, from the time that a hiring need is identified, to the start date of an employee to fill the identified role. Historically, recruitment process management solutions are shown to provide higher quality candidates and decreased costs for organizations. Through recruitment process management solutions, organizations are able to source diversity candidates for larger hiring initiatives, within a short period of time.

Building a Diverse Organization


College Recruiting One increasingly popular way that many organizations are sourcing candidates is through recruiting at Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Minority Institutions and Tribal Colleges and Universities. By participating in on-campus career fairs, organizations are able to better interact with prospective candidates through face-to-face communication. This also allows organizations the opportunity to highlight their diversity internship and co-op programs and provide more information about the company and its culture. When recruiting on campus, it is important that the individuals who represent the organization mirror the group of students it is looking to attract. Organizations can also collaborate with prospective candidates at career centers, student clubs and other campus organizations to increase sourcing depth.

About PrincetonOne Headquartered in Skillman, New Jersey, PrincetonOne is a talent services company that creates and implements innovative solutions for unmet recruitment and retention needs. PrincetonOne provides clients with a cohesive strategy for recruiting, retention, staffing assessment, training and organizational development. Through seamless, cost-effective solutions, clients are able to improve workforce performance and achieve critical business objectives. With 30 years of experience, PrincetonOne has earned annual revenue of more than $30 million by delivering unified recruitment solutions and measurable results for more than 600 clients around the world. PrincetonOne can customize any client’s recruiting program to fit that client’s specific wants and needs. If diversity is a top priority, PrincetonOne will utilize customized tools to uncover quality new hires for the client. To learn more about PrincetonOne, please visit our Web site at or e-mail [email protected] White Paper © PrincetonOne

Building a Diverse Organization