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3 ways to a more inclusive company culture that attracts & retains diverse talent – an EMBARC recap [Video]

“What are we doing consciously to ensure diverse representation?”

Mark your calendars: this October 20th, CareerArc will host the first virtual event in a series of EMBARC® Talent Talks. Picture a completely free, online event filled with high-impact, no fluff HR recruiting content on topics ranging from employer brand to talent acquisition to diversity and inclusivity—and then, when you’re done picturing, click here to see how you can be a part of it.

And if you’re looking for an idea as to what that type of content will look like: check out this post from John Graham Jr. from our previous EMBARC on 3 ways to build an inclusive company culture that attracts diverse talent.

Why we need to talk about diversity and inclusivity beyond the employer brand level

When we talk about promoting a diverse and inclusive culture, we often run the risk of only talking about it on the employer brand level. Employer brand is about marketing and awareness: sharing with the world our DEI values, initiatives, and culture.

But we also have to make sure that the narrative we’re selling through our employer brand is an honest one.

Because at the end of the day, if your diverse employees look around your company and don’t see other employees that look like them or talk like them, that employee is going to feel like the odd one out.

Which is an issue for more than just your employee. Because when an employee feels that they’re the odd one out, that employee will prioritize protecting themselves over productivity. They’re not going to dare voice their opinion, or offer dissenting ideas, or do anything that makes them stand out, for fear of getting fired. And they’re definitely not going to champion your brand for you.

To quote John:

“If the company doesn’t hire people that look like me, will they see me as valuable? Why aren’t they hiring more people that look like me?’ . . . I mean, if you’re looking around and you say, ’Gosh, I’m the only one in this meeting all the time,’ there’s impact to that in terms of how you perform, how you participate, how you engage. And essentially if we’re selling employer brand, do you think that these will be the people that are out there, bull horning for your company as talent magnets? Could be, depends on their experience, but the likelihood is low . . . And so that can impact performance, not only that, that can impact the outcomes for teams and companies at large. You are now missing out on some valuable insight and input because the space isn’t created for dissenting views, not because they’re dissenting, but because of who’s providing them and the inherent biases that go along with that.”

So how can we build a culture that makes your diverse talent feel included?

John Graham Jr. highlights three ways: representation, support, and development.

Attracting and retaining diverse talent through representation

Building an inclusive culture isn’t just a numbers game. For your diverse talent to feel welcome, they need to feel represented at a leadership level.

When employees see that diversity comes from the top down, they receive a message that there’s a path to success for them here. But when they don’t see that—when diversity doesn’t extend beyond a certain level in management—then your talent can feel that they aren’t viewed as peers. They start wondering if there’s even a path to success for them. And that question makes them feel the need to protect themselves more.

Related: 5 Ways to tackle diversity recruitment

Attracting and retaining diverse talent through support

To illustrate what he means, John shared a personal story about a time he felt supported by a manager. Watch it here.

That story clearly resonated with John. Because diversity and inclusivity are more than simply representation. It’s recognizing that people from different cultures and backgrounds might have pains you don’t, and taking the time to support them in that.

In John’s words:

“There’s a concept called “calling in Black” because you can’t always be on, right? You have to take time as a human being to process your emotions and step out. I don’t know if there’s a call out code for that or how do you log that in on a time sheet, but maybe, right. I think it’s just personal time. But this is real. This is very real. And so what my encouragement here is when these social issues happen and there’s national news, be a little bit more sensitive. Be conscious, be aware, stop and ask. Not pandering. But if you notice, just ask.”

Attracting and retaining diverse talent through development

Which leads us to the third way to show your diverse talent that they’re wanted and don’t need to constantly protect themselves from being fired: development. Put effort into developing their career by offering mentoring opportunities and networking opportunities.

And by networking opportunities, we’re talking about more than formally assisting your diverse employees in advancing their career. We’re also talking about informal opportunities: watercooler conversations where essential business and career advancement discussions end up happening. Minority employees often report being excluded from those conversations. And if they’re excluded, they’re not going to feel that they’re being offered the same opportunities for advancement as others.

John ended his talk with a question:

“So my actionable, tangible thing that you can take away from this is if you don’t have an employee resource for whatever diversity dimension at your job, that is a gap, right? That is not represented, that is not there. Talk to your counterparts in HR or other employees who may be in that population or that community that want to see themselves represented in a formal way. How do we start one? But if you do have an employee resource group for African Americans specifically, how can you be a better ally? And that’s always a good question to start with.”

P.S. Here’s a great example of three companies that stuck by their diversity pledges, and the story of how they did so.

What’s next? EMBARC Table Talks

EMBARC Table Talks

Register now for our next virtual session of EMBARC Table Talks:

  • Attending. It’s completely free, so be sure to sign up soon.
  • Participating. Great content is just one component; there’s also lively discussion. You can literally pull up a virtual chair and participate in roundtable discussions, join in on speed networking with other attendees, and book 1:1 consultations to dive into your social recruiting strategy. Participate when and how you please.
  • Sponsoring. We have several sponsorship programs and a-la-carte opportunities designed to help you make an impact with our audience of talent acquisition professionals. Please contact us for more details.

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