Writing for Harvard Business Review, Candice Morgan argues that diversity shouldn't be a buzzword, it should be a permanent staple of the workforce.
Morgan is the Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Pinterest. She shares that she joined the organization because she admired its ambitious diversity goals—and in her time there, she's helped Pinterest achieve most of them. Morgan reports that, in engineering roles, the organization successfully increased hiring rates of underrepresented workers from 1% to 9%. She adds that, in other roles, they've increased underrepresented workers from 7% to 12%. Here's what she learned over the years:
1. Recruit diversity champions
Any organization can increase the rate at which diversity is spread among its ranks, writes Morgan. To do this, she recommends recruiting advocates across the organization. For example, Pinterest trained employees from all functions to deliver diversity training to new hires in their divisions, she writes.
Pinterest also completed a self-study which uncovered best practices from diversity and inclusion leaders inside the organization and shared them with the broader company.
2. Embrace uncomfortable truths
There are people in every organization who are skeptical when it comes to diversity efforts. In order to combat these voices, you've got to distinctly and unambiguously broadcast your specific diversity goals, writes Morgan. For example, this might involve articulating the value of diversity, and more specifically, the value of meeting a diversity hiring goal.
Another way to overcome resistance is to partner with groups of stakeholders to address their specific concerns. For example, Morgan writes that she and her team collaborated with recruiters to create an apprenticeship program that helped alleviate the challenges they faced with sourcing engineers from non-traditional backgrounds.
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3. Recognize the benefits of diverse teams
It's a myth that hiring diverse candidates will slow down your hiring process, writes Morgan. Many people think that screening for diverse candidates will add another layer to the workflow, but Morgan argues that screening for diverse candidates actually creates a talent pool that has more of the qualities your organization values.
Morgan shares that starting with more diverse talent pools led to Pinterest hiring its first woman Head of Engineering and its largest group of senior executives from underrepresented populations.
4. Know that you may not get it right the first time
Learning from your mistakes is one of the most important parts of new diversity recruiting efforts, Morgan writes. For example, although Pinterest didn't meet its 2016 goal of hiring 30% more women engineers, Morgan and her colleagues did learn a valuable lesson: hiring goals must be targeted and carefully devised, not broad and overambitious. She writes that she also realized that it wasn't enough to simply hire more junior women engineers; there needed to be more women engineers at all levels of the company.
She recommends seeking a balance in your diversity initiatives between setting clear goals and working in the flexibility to make adjustments later (Morgan, Harvard Business Review, 7/11).
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