Many of our clients tell us they are frustrated and confused.
They want to increase their "diversity hiring," but too few candidates of color apply. Over and above offering suggestions on where to post or how to neutralize gendered language in advertisements, we think the issue is about more than helping them find candidates. We want to help them keep candidates--and advance them. After all, that is the best talent attraction tool.
We have many best practices to offer employers for retaining workers and workers of color. The trick to retention is having a workplace where people want to work. From a diversity perspective, it means not just saying yours is a safe place but authentically being one where all people feel they can thrive.
You see, once people get hired, the work of wooing them is not over. Indeed, it's just begun!
What is one thing you can start doing right away to help transform your workplace into a kinder, safer (and more productive) space?
For one, you should personally consider being an ally all the time. An ally is someone who stands up for others and who takes action to proactively build diversity. To get to where you want to be--genuine inclusion--your allyship needs to be all the time, even when there's not a person around who needs defending. What does this mean in practice? Let's say you're in a meeting when someone says an off-color joke. Even though there isn't anyone around to be directly offended, you speak up to state that you are offended.
As Sheree Atcheson writes in Allyship - The Key to Unlocking The Power of Diversity, "Everyone has the ability to be an ally as privilege is intersectional - white women can be actionable allies to people of color, men can be allies to women, cis people can be allies to members of the LGBTQI+ community, able-bodied people can be allies to those with different abilities, economically privileged people can be allies to those who are not and so on."
When you speak up to state that you are offended, that's when your allyship is authentic. That's when you start to change your culture so it is one where diversity, equity, and inclusion can thrive. That's one thing--among many things--you can do to transform your workplace into a space where "diverse" candidates want to work and want to stay working.
If your company is thinking about how to leverage Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to transform your workplace and you're not sure where or how to begin, consider attending our course, Diversity Every Day for Everyday People.
Andrea J. Applegate is the founder and president of Applegate Talent Strategies.