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Diversity Recruiting Strategies | Talent Circles

According to Talent Circles,  research  reveals that companies with teams steeped in diversity are more successful than their less diverse competition.

Research from McKinsey states that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to financially outperform their competitors and ethnically-diverse companies are 35% more likely. Creating a diverse team of competent individuals who bring a variety of experiences, insights and ideas might just be a key factor in a company’s long-term success. But what’s the best way to go about making it happen?

There has been a belief among tech companies that older workers wouldn’t be comfortable with new technology, that they are less creative and less teachable. But these beliefs are unfounded—and extremely limiting.
According to Scientific American, “for groups that value innovation and new ideas, diversity helps.” Yes, even in the tech industry. And, yes, diversity needs to include age as a demographic in addition to race, gender and sexual orientation.
The AARP provided data showing that 64% of workers between the ages of 45 and 74 said they experienced age discrimination. And yet, in the U.S., the full retirement age to receive unreduced benefits is gradually increasing to 67. Older people need to continue working but many companies, particularly in the tech industry, are finding ways to try to push them out the door.
Interestingly, though, now that the original entrepreneurs and workers from the tech boom are nearly 20 years older, they’re facing a reality they overlooked when first starting out: everyone ages. And with that realization, age discrimination is becoming a reality for larger numbers of people.
This increase in awareness of age-related discrimination has also led to an increase in age-related lawsuits. For example, Google settled a multimillion dollar claim a few years ago when a 54-year old computer scientist was fired by his 38-year-old supervisor who repeatedly made age-based remarks about his work, like being “obsolete,” “to old to matter” and “sluggish.”
Talent Circles suggest an approach that involves a combination of the tried and true with some new, technology-based ideas.

College Recruiting

One of the most traditional approaches to recruiting is still alive and kicking with great results – college recruiting. You likely already know the benefits of career fairs and working with career services departments, but the following are some tips to help you make the most of these activities when it comes to diversity recruiting.

  • Know your diversity goals – Do you need to hire a certain number or percentage of diverse individuals? Do they need to be in specific departments or positions? Be very clear before you start your college recruiting. And think beyond EEO requirements. What other types of people can you add to your workforce to make it truly well-rounded and heterogeneous?
  • Understand your talent needs – Knowing the type of positions you need to fill and the skills and personality traits that typically perform best in those roles is also something you must be extremely clear about. Do you need people who bring experiences and education from specific universities to fill very specialized roles or is a more generalized, broader range of schools, programs and experiences something that would be advantageous for you?
  • Get involved with diversity student groups at your target schools — List the schools that align with your diversity and talent goals, and research the related student groups at each university. You can find many student groups that have both a diversity and professional focus at a broad range of schools. Being active in these groups can open up many opportunities.
  • Build relationships with faculty advisors – In addition, to building relationships with members of the student groups, connecting with the faculty advisors who oversee the groups is a great plan. Since the student members tend to change regularly, building lasting relationships with faculty members who often remain in their roles, will prevent you from continually starting over and give you a point person for discussing your needs and ideas.
  • Provide diverse representation from your company – A blend of human resources professionals and department or business unit managers should be involved in the college recruiting process. Ideally these people will reflect your company’s racial, ethnic, gender, and age diversity. On a visit to any campus (even a virtual visit) it’s obviously advantageous to have HR professionals who understand the intricacies of the hiring process, but it’s also very helpful to have managers or others who might have a more intimate knowledge of the positions you need to fill. Just remember, all non HR people should be coached on the laws and important components of the recruiting process.

Newer Approaches

With all the technology currently available, there are a variety of great new options you can add to your diversity recruiting toolbox. Even trying out just a couple of these approaches will really open up your recruiting options.

  • Social Media – With so many people spending time on social media sites, these places can be a recruiting hot spot. You should focus both on the larger sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Reddit as well as on industry- and diversity-specific blogs and social networks like Meetup. Scout these sites for people and groups who might fit your needs. Post the positions you’re trying to fill. Use these platforms to connect and create a wide pool of candidates with a range of backgrounds, professions and skills.
  • Search Freelance Marketplaces – Freelance marketplaces are growing exponentially. And many exceptionally talented people work through these channels. Peoples’ reasons for turning to freelance work are as varied as the people themselves. These online marketplaces for freelance talent offer a global connection to candidates with incredibly diverse backgrounds, experience levels and viewpoints. Spend some time on sites like iFreelance and Upwork to see if you can add some great new talent to your growing team.
  • Digital advertising – Create a variety of display ads that speak to the diverse groups you’re trying to attract. Don’t try to create one broad, general job posting that will catch the eye of every type of individual you’d like to add to your team.
  • Think globally and create a talent pool – Regardless of your company’s state, country or continent, your university recruiting efforts no longer have the limits of location. Your reach for new talent has never extended farther than it does today. With the multitude of collaborative software currently available, in addition to the seemingly endless ways to connect electronically with people all over the world, global workforces are easier to create than ever before. And systems for storing all of the applicant and candidate information you amass over time are getting more and more sophisticated. As you continue to grow, and keep in touch with, your talent pool, you will have many people to reach out to when new positions open up.
  • Look for attitude rather than experience – When too much emphasis is placed on experience or specific skills, companies can really miss out on some potentially great talent. While new skills can be taught, a good attitude can’t be. If you make finding someone with the right attitude, rather than the right skill, a primary focus, you’re more likely to end up with someone you can train to be an amazing asset to your team.
So, perhaps it’s time to reach out to the over 50 crowd with a good recruiting campaign that really speaks to this underappreciated and underutilized demographic.
Offering options like ongoing training, flexible hours and part-time employment can be a real boon for older workers (and pretty much anyone who is interested in work-life balance).
In addition to the fact that keeping older people employed benefits the economy by preventing them from becoming dependent on federal aid, diverse teams have greater perspective and more information to pull from. And this enables them to be more creative, more productive and better decision makers. According to Ed Lazowska, who holds the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, “All forms of diversity are important, for the same reasons: workforce demand, equality of opportunity and quality of end product.”
It is likely that it’s just a matter of time before companies are required to include age in their reporting demographics. So, get on board now and not only will you be ahead of the game legally, you’ll also be able to benefit from the experience and wisdom older workers can bring to the table.

With all of the options currently available, it has never been easier to create an exceptional team of diverse individuals. And it has never been more important.

To see which companies are doing diversity right, take a look at TOP 50 COMPANIES FOR DIVERSITY.
And, if you have questions about how we can help you improve your diversity recruiting efforts, we’re happy to help. Call us at 415-835-0202 or email us at sales@talentcircles.com today.

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