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

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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.

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Recruitment Trends for 2017 and Beyond

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By Mark A. Leon

This year has started out like a bang, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are tapping their way into the recruitment space, challenges of identifying specialized technical skill sets is still causing sleepless nights, IoT (Internet of Things) talent is one of the fastest growing fields, companies are looking for ways to cut costs becoming less reliant on agencies and big job boards and the need for recruiters with deep technical sourcing skills and an understanding of marketing is the new purple squirrel.

How do we keep up?

Great question!!! Here are some trends and a few tips to should keep very close to heart as we glare into the shiny future of recruitment.  Things are moving fast, so buckle up.

  1. Data can no longer be ignored. It must be collected, scrubbed, analyzed and interpreted so the proper decisions on effective recruitment marketing spend can be made.  Companies are starting to open their eyes and realize how much money they have wasted over the years on traditional post and pray methodologies.  As companies are getting leaner on operational costs, they want to see their return on investment.  The answer lies in “data”.  Good old fashioned numbers and analytics.  Learn what tools are out there, understand how to interpret and communicate results and ensure you are part of the new data driven world of strategic based recruitment.
  1. Recruiters are no longer processors. I do not mean to minimize the life of a full life cycle recruiter.  In the past, this process may have worked well.
  1. Post the role and wait
  2. Review warm candidates
  3. Screen them based on a template pull out key words to determine if a candidate is qualified
  4. Schedule them
  5. Interview
  6. Offer
  7. Process

I imagine that process map sounded familiar to many.

That day is over.  The best talent isn’t waving a giant flag, saying come and get me, nor are they posting their resumes on a job board to gather dust.  Great talent is fluent.  They are constantly growing and thus they aren’t planting their roots anywhere and are harder to find.  You need to learn to become a technical sourcer as well as a process driven recruiter.  Finding the talent themselves of become as difficult if not more than closing the deal.

  1. Stay abreast of new technology. There are hundreds of thousands of tools, apps and extensions that are there to make our lives easier.  From helping find the talent, to finding their common interests to contact information.  They all promise the world. Most do not deliver, but you need to read up on the new technology, test the solutions and determine those that provide you with the most value. Many are free and most offer free trials. Take advantage.
  1. Never lose touch of the human side of recruitment. This is a reminder that all relationships are built on trust, comfort and commonality.  Research your candidates as they will you and your company, find common ground and built a relationship during the candidate experience, so that when it is time for the offer, they already feel like part of the family.
  1. Be a client champion: If you don’t believe in your company, your candidate never well.  Find out what makes you passionate about being there and make sure that comes out with every interaction.
  1. Be vulnerable: Every year after the NCAA March Madness tournament ends, I wait for the infamous “One Shining Moment” video.  It makes me cry.  We make decisions based on emotion.  We are human (at least for now).  Candidates do too.  Share your story with them.  Whether it is a great success or emotional tearjerker, be vulnerable to them.

I am going to stop here.  That isn’t to say there aren’t more trends to share; nor does this mean I won’t do a sequel.  It is just a good time to stop.

Take this to heart.  The function is changing.  Some things remain and some are getting a major facelift.  Determine what you need to do to change with the times.

Good luck

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How Recruiters Saved the World

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Recruiters are not expected to end the recession by hiring everyone that is in need of a career, nor are they expected to keep every family out of poverty or a sustained drop in their current lifestyle. What they will do is to identify unmatched, grade A, high level, highly productive talent to help organizations grow and mature to increased levels of success.

Recruiters are superheroes, or perhaps they are heroes. What is the difference between a superhero and a hero? Based on very limited research which entailed my IPad and surveying three friends, a superhero is one that has a supernatural power that is above and beyond the normal realm of folks like us. Therefore, I stand corrected:

Recruiters are heroes.

I know what some of you are saying: “Isn’t that a little extreme!” For those in the space, you are cheering saying “Heck Yeah, we are!” I want to tell you why recruiters stand on the same platform as those that sacrifice their lives each and every day.

I don’t want you to visualize the Olympic podium with a recruiter, firefighter and soldier standing side by side. I want to help you understand the value and importance recruiters play in the lives of others.

Recruiters, like so many of us, find and embrace individual success stories. When an amazing person is matched with an amazing opportunity, it sticks with a recruiter and for some, serves as a form of motivation.

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Here is why this statement of heroism rings true:

  • Recruiters do not define culture but they shape and mold it. The role of a recruiter is not to fill jobs with bodies. It is a misnomer that needs to be put to rest. A truly dedicated recruiter understands the culture of the organization, the core values and mission and identifies individuals that will “fit”. By helping to seek out and usher in the high quality talent that fits in the organization, they are building a foundation for success. The right person will be a long term fit cutting down on onboarding, training and recruiting costs. That is a big part of any company budget.
  • Recruiters are on the front lines. For companies big and small, recruiters are the first person you meet and the person you will spend most of your time with until your start date. Creating a strong first impression in any walk of life is critical to establish comfort, trust and satisfaction.
  • Recruiters care and believe in their company. Employee satisfaction is one thing many areas companies struggle with. How to empower? How to challenge? How to satisfy? Recruiters truly believe in the company and that attitude carries forward in their pursuit of talent.
  • Recruiters evolve – With the landscape of talent acquisition changing with the explosion of social engagement, successful recruiters are continuously learning new skills and resources.
  • Recruiters promote trust. Interviewing for a job is difficult. It is one of the most stressful processes one will undergo in their lives. Having the trusting hand of a stranger is crucial in reducing stress and putting you in comfortable place where you can be yourself and allow your background to shine. Recruiters are nurturing.

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For these and many more reasons, it is clear that recruiters are heroes. As we look back on our “dream” jobs. You know the one that makes you smile each more and feel valued, think about the person that got you in the door and the effort they put in for you. It is a feat not to be taken lightly.

The True Art of Recruitment – Humor or Truth… (A Monday Morning Laugh)

Recruitment – A True Classic

One day while walking down the street a highly successful executive woman was tragically hit by a bus and she died. Her soul arrived up in heaven where she was met at the Pearly Gates by St. Peter himself.

“Welcome to Heaven,” said St.Peter. “Before you get settled in though, it seems we have a problem. You see, strangely enough, we’ve never once had an executive make it this far and we’re not really sure what to do with you.”

“No problem, just let me in.” said the woman.

“Well, I’d like to, but I have higher orders. What we’re going to do is let you have a day in Hell and a day in Heaven and then you can choose whichever one you want to spend an eternity in.”

“Actually, I think I’ve made up my mind…I prefer to stay in Heaven”, said the woman.

“Sorry, we have rules…” And with that St. Peter put the executive in an elevator and it went down-down-down to hell. The doors opened and she found herself stepping out onto the putting green of a beautiful golf course. In the distance was a country club and standing in front of her were all her friends – fellow executives that she had worked with and they were all dressed in evening gowns and cheering for her. They ran up and kissed her on both cheeks and they talked about old times. They played an excellent round of golf and at night went to the country club where she enjoyed an excellent steak and lobster dinner. She met the Devil who was actually a really nice guy (kinda cute) and she had a great time telling jokes and dancing. She was having such a good time that before she knew it, it was time to leave. Everybody shook her hand and waved good-bye as she got on the elevator.

The elevator went up-up-up and opened back up at the Pearly Gates and found St. Peter waiting for her. “Now it’s time to spend a day in heaven,” he said. So she spent the next 24 hours lounging around on clouds and playing the harp and singing. She had a great time and before she knew it her 24 hours were up and St. Peter came and got her.

“So, you’ve spent a day in hell and you’ve spent a day in heaven. Now you must choose your eternity,” he said.

The woman paused for a second and then replied, “Well, I never thought I’d say this, I mean, Heaven has been really great and all, but I think I had a better time in Hell.”

So St. Peter escorted her to the elevator and again she went down-down-down back to Hell. When the doors of the elevator opened she found herself standing in a desolate wasteland covered in garbage and Filth. She saw her friends were dressed in rags and were picking up the garbage and putting it in sacks. The Devil came up to her and put his arm around her.

“I don’t understand,” stammered the woman, “yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and a country club and we ate lobster and we danced and had a great time. Now all there is a wasteland of garbage and all my friends look miserable.”

The Devil looked at her and smiled. “Yesterday we were recruiting you; today you’re staff.”

What is wrong with my resume??? – Inquiring minds want to know

Q: Is your resume sabotaging your job search? What are some resume faux pas you see often?

A: I was speaking to a candidate recently and I was asked whether it was better to have a functional resume or a chronological resume. I explained that it is personal preference, but to choose the format that will best outline your strongest attributes as they relate to a potential career opportunity. Some talent acquisition specialists swear by one method while others are versed in the other. Debate aside, a resume that is structured effectively, regardless of format will be the one on the top of the pile at the end of the day.

Your resume is your audition tape. This is your first impression to wow the producers. Like any Broadway show, you may only get thirty seconds to a minute to prove your worth. How can any of us ever compete with those odds against us?

The answer is simple. If you follow a few key recommendations, you will have a resume that will shine when that day comes.

1) Be very strategic with the career role choices you make. A common mistake is to play the rule of volume over quality. If you over apply and hope someone notices, the likelihood of mistakes may occur including cover letters with the wrong title or wrong company, generic resumes with no flow or purpose or applications to roles far above or below your skill level. Focus on only a few small companies and specific roles that are closely aligned with your background or next career progression. Tailor your resume to emphasize the skills that best meet the needs of the role. Steer away from providing an objective unless it is specific to the role and/or company.

2) Place a specific emphasis on measurable performance results. Be very clear about your successes and how it affected the bottom line fiscal performance of the company. How many staff associates did you manage? What amount of budget did you manage? If you cut costs, by what amount and what methods? If you were promoted within a company, make a separate note so your career advancement is outlined clearly. If you had a 97% customer satisfaction rating, highlight that. These achievements will set your resume apart from others.

3) Generic chronological outlines may create the perception that you have something to hide. For example if you were with company A from 1998 to 2000 and then company B from 2001 to 2002 and then company C from 2003 to 2005, that could indicate a one month or twenty-two month gap in employment from company to company. Include the month and year in your chronological listing. If there is a gap, explain why in the resume or a cover letter. We are living in unprecedented times where many of us are undergoing uncontrolled gaps in employment.

4) Be very careful to proofread grammar, spelling and formatting. With so many web based search engines and URL resumes with specific formatting structure, a resume can look sloppy with symbols or errors that may not have been on the original draft. Always proof and reformat your resume if you put it out there for the public to see. Whether it was a user error or not, your name is on the top of that document.

5) Research industry specific resumes to help educate yourself on current terminology and jargon. Each industry has specific terms, phrases and catch words that show the true level of knowledge breath in that industry. There are hundreds of resume sample sites to choose from. Review them and see how your resume matches up. (http://www.bestsampleresume.com/)

6) Length can be one of the biggest unconscious errors a candidate can make. A strongly worded and focused resume should never exceed three pages. The ideal length is two full pages for a mid to senior level professional and one page to one and a half for an entry to mid junior level professional.

Whose Life Will You Touch?

In light of the global outpouring of financial, spiritual, and unbiased support to rebuild the lives of those affected by the Earthquakes in Haiti, it is a prevalent time to take a step back and ask ourselves the question: Whose Life Will You Touch?

This is the message that is spearheading the campaign launch of the new Hewitt Associates Career Website release (http://www.hewittcareers.com/).

A career is not about personal gratification and lifestyle accomodations but the value you bring to an organizational structure and ultimately the impact you have on other lives. Hewitt has a commitment to excellence in customer satisfaction, community involvement, quality of life and passion for meeting the needs of all the individuals whoses lives they affect. This is not a catch line but a morale framework for adhering to the bettering of society.

Over the last 18 to 24 months, families, communities, neighborhoods, states, countries and continents have been adversely altered due to the global recession. During that time, millions of people in ways small and large have done all they can to help others in an showering of support.

In life, as we grow and mature we tend to see the world in a much more complicated way. It seems almost critical to simply our surrounded and place value on morales and shared values.

The challenge I have today is to look in the mirror and ask yourself: Whose Life Will You Touch?

Free Will or Destiny….Who Decides

This article is brought to you by the letter Y

I want to spend a little time discussing some of the observations and conversations that have come across my circle of existence in the last week.

Before I begin, I would like to let the audience know that I have come into a tremendous amount of new wealth as a result of winning the UK National Lottery and Irish National Lottery all within the time frame of one week. Once I send in all my personal information to the Lottery officials via email I should have the checks very shortly. For those that believe they have won based on similar emails, it’s too late..I won. Go ahead and delete the emails now. I will wait.

I got an very nice and professional call on Tuesday about a role I had that was filled over six weeks ago. I was ready to graciously call the candidate and explain the timing of the interest. The only concern was the time of the call. I believe that a professional with a strong external focus should not have traditional business hours of contact but limits should exist. Please jump in with an opinion. Is 1:45 AM too late to call about a potential career opportunity? If I am wrong I would be most happy to declare to the world that I am wrong and that is an appropriate time for a call.

My brother-in-law in a discussion over brunch, while my brother is teaching my nine year old nephew blackjack, our waitress is searching for bumper stickers, my dad is stealing Splenda and I am rejoicing over how normal my family is, explained that the Lord knows all that will happen. I inquired and asked if he believed in free will. My brother-in-law said “of course” but the Lord still knows everything that will happen. He said that was one of the unexplainable things in life.

After I had a minor head spinning incident I decided nodding was my best course of action.

I leave with this question:

Do you believe in free will, destiny or both????

We will let the audience decide.