Hiring Success

How to convince hiring managers to value diversity hiring

Want to know how to convince your hiring managers (HMs) to value diversity hiring? Over 200 talent acquisition professionals from all over the world brainstormed and voted on the best solutions in our session at the SmartRecruiters HiringSuccess 2020 Conference. 

Tony Le (Former Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Getaround) and I (Getaround’s former Talent Brand & Diversity Lead) drove the discussion by showing data on how creativity, diversity, and success are all interconnected. We then shared what we’ve seen work in convincing hiring managers to value diversity hiring. Next, the packed room shared their ideas, each one rewarded with a short drum solo to make it a truly interactive “jam” session. 🥁 Finally, we wrapped up by voting on the top three. Curious to see which ideas came up on top? Read on…

Connecting the dots between creativity, diversity, and success

With the rise of AI and robots, they’re great at optimizing existing ideas, but companies need creative employees who can conceive tomorrow’s solutions. That’s why LinkedIn crowned Creativity as the #1 soft skill for professionals both in 2019 and 2020 after analyzing hundreds of thousands of job postings to determine which skills companies need most this year. 

So how exactly do we increase our creativity? Steve Jobs, the Founder of Apple, said, “Creativity and innovation are the result of connecting past experiences. But if you have the same experiences as everyone else, you’re unlikely to look in a different direction and think differently.”

Basically, creativity is the mental process in which two or more “dots” of information connect in your mind to create a new and useful idea. The more dots of past experiences you have, the more opportunities you have to come up with new ideas. On a personal level, that’s why it’s important to have a lot of diverse experiences (i.e. visit new places, learn new skills, meet new people). On a company level, that’s why it’s better to have more diverse, colorful dots in the room. The more different kinds of dots we have to connect, the more ideas we can generate.

In this analogy of connecting the dots, diversity is how many different kinds of dots you have in the room and inclusion is how easily you can connect those different colored dots together. 

Great minds don’t think alike

And not only is diversity and inclusion (D&I) key to unlocking creativity, it’s also key to unlocking better business decisions. A Cloverpop study analyzed approx. 600 business decisions made by 200 different business teams in a wide variety of companies over two years. They found:

In short, great minds don’t think alike. D&I leads to more creativity and success because more unique perspectives lead to better outcomes.

So how do we convince HMs to value diversity hiring?

At Getaround, Tony and I saw the most momentum by holding monthly lunch & learns open to all employees to discuss the value of diversity. Though having sandwiches on hand certainly helped, all the sessions were at capacity because there was already a groundswell of interest around the topic.

It’s like we lit a match around diversity and there was plenty of tinder of those who wanted to learn more. We just needed to spark the fire and it quickly spread to the rest of the company, including to hiring managers and leadership.

What helped spread the message quickly was an open invitation to all lunch & learn attendees to ping me on Slack if they wanted to meet 1:1 to share their ideas on increasing diversity at the company. Over twenty people took me up on this offer. I ended each of these meetings by christening them as “diversity ambassadors,” encouraging them to share their ideas with their teams and managers.

Tony and I then followed up with 1:1 meetings with hiring managers to share on how diversity, creativity, and better business performance are interconnected. For these meetings to be successful, it’s important to frame the discussion according to the audience. For instance, our Head of Engineering weighs data heavily when it comes to driving our success. So when we met, I dove into the following stats with him:

On the other hand, when I met with our VP of Growth, I knew he would connect better with an analogy on how to increase the growth and appeal of our product. I shared that if the global economy is like a rainbow, why would we only have blue people in the room? We also need violet, green, red, etc, to effectively discuss and make smart decisions on how to grow our market share. This resonated with him and shifted his mindset.

And the top crowdsourced ideas are…

After sharing our best practices in convincing hiring managers to value diversity, we asked the 200 folks in the room, what are your ideas? Here’s the list in order of which diversity hiring strategies were most popular based on real-time voting:

  1. Host diversity lunch & learns
  2. Show the ROI/data around diversity (along with the diversity stats provided in this article, Gartner is a great resource)
  3. Diversity training (i.e. structured interview training is proven to help reduce bias)
  4. Service-level agreement (SLA) around diversity (i.e. set interview and hiring expectations with your hiring managers and recruiters such as 10% of all candidates are female, an underrepresented minority, veteran, LGBTQ, etc. and incrementally increase the expectation)
  5. Align diversity to the company mission/vision (i.e. if a value is “transparent communication” or “people first,” then be open about your current diversity statistics and efforts towards improving it)
  6. Make it part of the interview process (i.e. anonymizing resumes)
  7. Utilize engagement surveys (Culture Amp can help establish a numeric baseline for measuring ongoing efficacy of D&I initiatives) 
  8. Engage executive sponsors of employee resource groups to help with hiring and recruiting
  9. Include diversity on the scorecards of the manager (i.e. feedback forms/scorecards tied to OKRs/KPIs with questions like, “Could this candidate add diversity value to our team?”)
  10. Content, blogs, and social media around diversity (i.e. here’s an example of a blog we did in partnership with FairyGodboss, the largest career community for women)
  11. Specialized agencies/partnerships for diversity (i.e. Lesbians Who Tech, Jopwell, Afrotech, Grace Hopper Celebration, Women Who Code, FairyGodBoss, and The Muse.)
  12. NPS question (i.e. candidate surveys that include a question like, “Does our company value diversity from what you’ve seen and who you’ve spoken with?”)
  13. Tactical suggestion (i.e. be very direct with leadership in suggesting methods to attract; interview and retain diverse talent, then report on the progress – good or bad)
  14. Connect the dots on how it meets the needs of our clients (i.e. our customers, international expansion, and employees should embody one another. How can we predict, understand or service our clients if we don’t have the team to properly represent them?)

What do you think of these ideas? Any that you’d like to add? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. 👇🏿👇👇🏻👇🏾

Sarah Yang

Sarah Yang

As a professional drummer, filmmaker, poet, and improv actor, Sarah Yang is a magnetic and animated speaker on creativity, diversity, and talent branding. She's delivered talks to global audiences at Grace Hopper Celebration, Cisco, Oracle, Lesbians Who Tech, Women Who Code, Workday, HiringSuccess, and CoderDojo.

Under Tony Le's leadership at Getaround, she managed their employer brand, talent content strategy, diversity program, and structured interview training. From the US to France, Sarah impacted employee values and diversity initiatives while being a beacon of inspiration and talent that employees could rally around. She grew the LinkedIn company page's impressions by 500+%, mentored team members in their personal growth, and initiated diversity awareness programs while traveling and speaking globally to represent the company.

Tony Le

Tony Le

Tony is an industry expert in Talent Acquisition with over 15+ years of experience in recruiting, HR operations, retail and customer service. He currently leads a global recruiting team at Getaround (with experiences at Workday, IAC/Ask.com and more) focusing his team on candidate experience. And believes technology, data and people are the key to hiring success where the candidate experience doesn’t end with the candidate’s first day.

16 comments

  • Hi Sarah & Tony! Can you please elaborate further on the lunch & learn format of getting feedback & voting on it? If you did multiple lunch & learns, did you feed off of the previous one and continue the conversation or start over from the beginning?

    • Hi Jenae — thanks for the comment. I’m sure Sarah will add some weight in as she helped facilitate our early ones but Sarah has a unique superpower of being a presenter, conducting workshops and leading our Talent Brand. We started with dipping our toe in the water with a simple “Diversity and Creative Thinking” which was a workshop Sarah had developed in the past and we held one in-office and one remote session and both sold out (60 slots total for 200+ employees) and so we had to develop more slots. We didn’t intend on getting formal feedback but employees naturally came to Sarah and the People Team saying they’d love more content around diversity, unconscious bias, and just lunch and learn in general that wasn’t necessarily specific to any company silo or pillar. This launch a series of speakers, workshops, coinciding with review time to talk about providing feedback and interacting with each other…

      My advice is simply start somewhere with a topic that resonates with what you feel is a gap in your workplace and see if people respond (and it helps to provide lunch, snacks, dessert, etc.)

      2
      • Hi Janae, good questions. Adding to that Tony shared, we kicked things off with a general in-office lunch and learn on the connection between diversity, creativity, and success (a general summary of the talk is in the article above.) It was so popular, employees requested we hold one specifically for our remote teams. As Tony mentioned, both were at capacity.

        After the popular of our first two sessions, we decided to start a series that would feed off and build upon the first sessions. Our third lunch and learn was on Cultivating Superpower Teams Through Diversity and Inclusion. As mention in the article as well, I ended each lunch and learn with an open invitation for feedback and ideas on fostering diversity and inclusion, which 20 employees took me up on via slack or in-person.

        1
      • Wow. Those turnout #s are incredible! More of a personal opinion question, but do you believe the turnout/response was so great because the sessions were held by Sarah, a Getaround employee, vs a third-party speaker/facilitator? Did you have notable differences in feedback w the remote session vs the in-office one?

        1
        • Great question, Jenae. Diversity, creativity/innovation, and successful decision making are hot topics in the workplace so I believe that helped with the turnout for my sessions.

          I was also new to the company so that could’ve been the draw as well. We didn’t have any third party speakers or facilitators for our lunch and learns. Thankfully, we had diversity experts in-house that were happy to give talks on the topic. We did see more feedback from the in-office session but there was notable feedback from the remote session as well. At least four people pinged me afterwards to share their ideas and input.

          1
        • More to what Sarah said but I think our employees were hungry for it. Instead of the trial/error approach we did (where honestly we were lucky and had such a lack of outreach that it was whole-heartedly welcome), I’ve done pulse surveys or taken information from engagement surveys in the past to try to cater the topic to what people care about it. Often anything that helps promote self-growth, ability to advance their career or communicate better in the workplace (and their manager) I think would be winning topics.

          1
    • Hi Roy! Funny answer to your question was Sarah had helped us with some amazing lead recruiters (Jason Giblin and Megan Collis) to develop a curriculum and outline for interview training. When I discussed the outline for lunch and learns, recruiter summit, interview training, and diversity training — one of my executives literally said “why is this a priority? there are so many more low hanging fruit or initiatives we need to tackle”

      And so we went behind the scenes to prove it with data by creating our own blogs, partnering with websites like FairyGodBoss, highlighting employees (see examples from Sarah in the article above), sharing more articles on LinkedIn/Glassdoor as well as creating a diversity mini-committee in our more organized local markets teams and the data showed we got more impressions, more likes, more applicants — employees came to us asking if they can create their own Employee Resource Groups… the response was organic that executives couldn’t ignore it and allowed us to push on and knew they had to support it. We started building initiatives around it.

      • Aloha, Roy! To add on to what Tony wrote, the data is also very compelling why executives need to prioritize diversity and inclusion.

        In the Forbes article, “New Research: Diversity + Inclusion = Better Decision Making At Work,” it cites Bain and Co. research that shows decision making effectiveness is 95% correlated with financial performance. It’s the most significant business activity – making improvements to your company’s decision making gives a sure boost to your bottom line. And how do you quickly improve decision making? Include employees that represent diverse perspectives in business decisions at all levels. Diverse, inclusive teams make better business decisions 87% of the time, according to the Cloverpop study cited in our article above.

        Here’s a link to the Forbes article to learn more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/eriklarson/2017/09/21/new-research-diversity-inclusion-better-decision-making-at-work/#21d4eb9d4cbf

  • Great question, Jenae. Diversity, creativity/innovation, and successful decision making are hot topics in the workplace so I believe that helped with the turnout for my sessions.

    I was also new to the company so that could’ve been the draw as well. We didn’t have any third party speakers or facilitators for our lunch and learns. Thankfully, we had diversity experts in-house that were happy to give talks on the topic. We did see more feedback from the in-office session but there was notable feedback from the remote session as well. At least four people pinged me afterwards to share their ideas and input.

  • Thank you all for the time! I’m going to leave being “live” but will be monitoring future comments so please don’t be afraid to keep messaging and asking questions! Appreciate your time and thank you!

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