Hiring Success

How to convince hiring managers to value diversity hiring

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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

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 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.