Diversity Hiring: Good for the Soul, Good for the Profits

DEI hiringYou can’t skim through your feed without reading about the pressing need for more diversity hiring practices. Focusing largely on the social justice perspective, it’s inspiring many organizations to make it a priority – hiring DEI Officers, changing age old hiring practices and strategies, and setting hiring quotas.

But at the end of the day, a business is a business and leaders strive to make decisions that benefit their employees, while supporting revenue growth. This is the side of DEI hiring that isn’t discussed as often.

Desmund Adams, contributor for Forbes, said it best, “Diversity drives innovation; innovation drives profitability.”  Research continues to pour in from top organizations such as Deloitte, Harvard Business Review, and Forbes, supporting the link between diversity, innovation, and profitability.

3 ways leaders, hiring managers, and exec search firms can leverage DEI hiring to benefit the and soul (and bottom line) of their organizations

Look beyond the numbers… Quota numbers, that is.

Hiring X numbers of female, LGBTQ+, or minority leaders is pointless if those leaders are not given a voice and a legitimate seat at the table.

“For diversity to have any impact, you need the group to want to engage, adapt and change in response to the diverse perspectives. That is why strict quotas generally do not work. If groups are determined to not listen to perspectives and ideas from diverse voices, it is extremely difficult to force them to do so,” states Randall Peterson, Professor of Organizational Behavior at London Business School.

New hires need to feel they are included in the important conversations and their ideas and opinions are valued AND put into action. It doesn’t take long for them to realize they are nothing more than a quota number to the organization. Instead of “checking the box” by onboarding a certain number of DEI hires you want to see but not hear from, commit to organizational changes, incorporating new voices and ideas, and possibly having to ditch your “the way we’ve always done things.”

DEI hiring If innovation drives profitability, get innovative!
Implementing the same hiring strategies will continuously yield the same results. If your organization does not have a diverse presence in its hiring process, you’re not going to have a diverse presence in your team growth. Uniformity in thought, ideas, and practices limits the breadth and depth your organization’s innovation needs to increase profits. So, shake up that DEI hiring process! Here are a few things we’ve incorporated into the exec search process with our clients:

• Removing gender from applications, or offer an option for non-binary candidates, rather than just male and female
• Removing names from resumes during the initial resume review process to reduce unconscious bias
• Actively recruiting from historically Black and Hispanic colleges
• Establishing pay ranges based on the value of the role, rather than using a new applicant’s current/previous compensation
• Providing training to leaders to ensure fair consideration of ideas and solutions is given to all employees
• Create inclusivity and diversity training programs

While incorporating these innovative changes has required our exec search recruiters and clients to pivot, we are already beginning to see the benefits in the pool of diverse candidates. We are confident their fresh ideas and experiences will drive the organization’s growth and, in turn, their profits.

Prioritize building a diverse Executive Suite
When leaders share the same lens, the view lacks diversity. Change has to begin at the top. The trend to hire for “culture fit” stunts diversity if the culture is predominantly uniform. Leaders hire similar managers and managers hire similar support staff. Make a commitment to implementing purposeful change to recruit executive talent. How do you do this? Diversify your candidate pool by engaging an exec search firm who specializes in or prioritizes DEI hiring. Create a DEI Officer position and give them the power to implement change and leverage their diverse networks. These diverse leaders will bring with them resources, knowledge, networks, and opinions that will drive the innovation needed to drive growth and profit.

Organizations have come a long way in their pursuit of engaging employees and creating a place for them to grow professionally and feel good personally. But there are more steps to be taken. Creating a team that represents the diverse pool of talent available is that next step. Commit to and implement purposeful change in your hiring strategies and watch your organization’s ideas and revenue grow.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion