8 Simple Steps to Become a “Best in Class” Diversity Company / Employer


By Mark A. Leon

There are some simple steps and slight cultural shifts needed to become a “Best in Class” Diversity employer.

Step 1:  Understand what diversity means.  Too often, we are blinded by the majority thinking that diversity is a physical attribute.  Yes, there are ethnic, disability and gender diversity differentiators, but diversity is a mix of internal and external diversity.  It isn’t just about the color of your skill or gender.  Diversity includes culture, ideas, values, beliefs, sexual orientation, religion and ways of thinking.  It is a cumulative melting pot of culture, personality, professional style, gender and limitations.  Once we understand that diversity encompasses all, we are moving in the right direction.

Step 2:  Develop a strong mission statement valued at all levels of the company.  Create a mission statement that is shared by the organization and in line with your employee value proposition

Example:  The mission of the EMPLOYER diversity and inclusion program is to grow a diverse workforce and cultivate an inclusive work environment, where employees are fully engaged and empowered to deliver the outstanding services.

Step 3: Communication.  A diversity strategy plan is only as strong as the employee base that embraces and supports it.  This communication must start at the highest levels of leadership and funnel down to the most elementary members of the organization’s family.  It is not a one -time deal.  It must re reiterated year after year and sometimes more often.

Step 4:  Create a sense of belonging.  Internal affinity groups provide a safe harbor for like groups of people with like interests to feel welcome and open to share and find comfort.  Even in a perfect world, there are individuals that will not agree with all your ideas and values.  By sponsoring networks internally to share, you are providing an escape and showing your commitment to maintaining a diverse workforce.

Step 5:  Understand the cultural make up of your organization.  How does the workforce breakdown?  What are your strengths?  What are your areas of improvement?  What direction is the organization going? How can you diversifying the workforce to help to expand the company thinking and take it to the next level?  By understanding your strength and gaps, you can begin to set goals and expectations for an effective diversity recruitment strategy

Step 6:  Set proper budget and launch a diversity recruitment team focused on university and professional diversity hiring.  Ensure the team focuses on local, national and global exercises to fulfill the diversity recruitment strategy goals.  This will include diverse job postings, conferences, diversity focused college relations, local organizational partnerships, career webinars, information sessions and tours.  The Diversity Recruitment Strategy must be:

  • Focused on consistent year after year to build long term relationships
  • Properly funded
  • Defined goals
  • Clear metrics and reporting
  • Recruitment must partner with marketing and/or employment branding to create a campaign supporting the value and advantage of a diverse workforce.

Step 7:  Share the success stories.  Nothing drives interest and engagement from the outside more than shared stories that are relatable and focused on an element of success and achievement.  Celebrate your brand as a diverse employer that values shared ideas and celebrates success stories.  This can be done through a blog, newsletter, talent community or corporate social channels.

Step 8:  Design your benefits program to allow diverse populations to maintain their religious, ethnic and holiday beliefs and celebrations.  Allow for time off even for the smallest population of the workforce.

At the end of the day, a diversity strategy is not about meeting a quota of hires, going through the motions of posting jobs to diverse niche sites to meet compliance regulations or printing a diversity and inclusion statement.  It is about acceptance, embracing new ideas and valuing inclusion from any background or walk of life.



Recruitment: When Practice and Trends are going in two different directions


By Mark A. Leon

As a sourcing or recruiting professional, how many times have you sent an eblast/email campaign to 100, 500, 1000, 5000 people?  I imagine a great deal of you are nodding you heads in the affirmative.

Follow up question:  How many of you have audited every profile on that list to ensure their skills, geography, pay and cultural needs are in direct alignment with the role you are filling?

I believe that number just went down.

One last question, if I may:  How many of you premise your emails to look something like this:

“Dear Anyone (we of course customize the campaign to include first name),

We had an opportunity to review your resume and believe you would be a great fit for this opportunity, but if you are not, can you refer someone or share this out……”

Now read it out loud and tell me if you see anything wrong with this.  Many of you do and yet we still do it in the recruitment community.


I have racked my brain behind that question for some time now.  I can’t believe the throw it and see what fits thinking still exists.

Look at the pros and cons on why this may be happening:

Pros: We are intelligent recruiting professionals.  We are trained to think and take the perspective of the candidate.  We understand the importance of connecting and personalizing the relationship with the candidates.  We know how costly it is to onboard a new hire, so finding the right “fit” is critical.

Cons:  We get complacent in our roles doing the same tasks repetitively because companies grow or hire the wrong people so we must backfill many roles.  It takes a professional with sales, customer service and strong knowledge breath to be a great recruiter and not all have these attributes.  Taking the time to audit, analyze and report is not something most recruiters want to do.  As the recruiting technology expands, many traditionalists do not want to learn new skills.

This may be over-simplifying, but the cons seem to be outweighing the pros.

I refer to a resource website Daily Job Fix www.dailyjobfix.com to provide me with insight on who is hiring and at what volume.  This really helps put perspective and provide valuable market intelligence on the mood of the United States and employment.  As we ramp up to “seasonal” hiring, this article will become more valuable in providing some insight on how to improve your outreach efforts, especially for high volume roles.

When we send out an eblast, we look at several factors:

  • Open rate
  • Click through rate
  • Conversion rate (Outreach to qualified interview)
  • Hires (Lead Generation to hire ratio)

When these metrics are low we are quick to blame the following:

  • Our pay isn’t competitive
  • Our brand isn’t strong in the marketplace
  • The competition in the area is so high
  • There isn’t enough available supply of talent

How often do we blame the content of your eblast and/or the lead generation list?  Not often enough


The next time you have an email campaign to blast out, look closely at the list and look for the following things:

  • Is the experience in line with the experience requirement of the role?
  • Is the commute reasonable given the compensation level?
  • Is the candidate the right cultural fit (Ex: If they work for a mom and pop and this is a global company of 100K employees, maybe not the right fit)
  • Is the first name email friendly? (Ex: FRANK or JANE should be Frank or Jane because Dear FRANK, looks very unprofessional)
  • Are you following up or is this a one and out campaign (How many emails go to spam – A lot)
  • Are you measuring the success or failure of your campaign (Analytics, analytics, analytics)?

If you show the candidate respect from your first interaction, you will see an improvement in quality, time to fill and cost per hire.