Patricia Blasquez, Director, Regional Marketing & Talent Attraction
For many companies, developing a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) plan that is well-incorporated into their business strategy has been a priority for some time. However, recent social unrest and calls for change have resulted in a renewed focus in workplace DEI efforts.
At a recent Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC) Talent Attraction Talk, presented by BGSF, notable Dallas Region companies including AT&T, Goldman Sachs, and Hilti North America shared strategies in building more diverse workforces – from candidate sourcing all the way through the hiring process.
In 2020, 62% of talent acquisition teams created new diversity initiatives and goals, and more than 40% of talent leaders plan to invest in technologies for diversity hiring in 2021. Increasing diversity isn’t just the right thing to do, it makes business sense. Teams that are gender, age and ethnically diverse make better decisions up to 87% of the time. Companies that invest in DEI policies and programs are linked to lower levels of employee turnover, as well as increased productivity, innovation, and job satisfaction among employees.
A more intentional approach to diversity
Increasing diversity is more than just a checkbox for the most successful organizations. For those companies, diversity is at the core of business rather than simply being a temporary initiative. Thus, in determining a company’s diversity strategy, intentionality is key.
For AT&T, integration of diversity into their employment brand is fundamental.
“We make diversity the focal point,” said Kaleb Pask, Associate Director of Talent Acquisition at AT&T. “While we have a larger team that leads our overarching DEI strategy, if you were to ask my peers, diversity is also at the top of their set of responsibilities.”
AT&T is intentional on all communications they are sharing – even on job descriptions.
“Based on research that we’ve seen, women won’t apply to a job unless they are meeting 80 to 100% of the requirements, whereas men will often apply for a job where they only meet 50% of the requirements,” Pask added.
As AT&T works to recruit more women in technology, Pask recommends that companies include only the necessary requirements in job descriptions, so they are not unintentionally excluding specific groups of people.
Leveraging employee voice and experience
In addition to the talent acquisition team, employees play a major role in increasing diversity for companies. From serving as ambassadors during hiring events to sharing their experiences on social media, employees can be great messengers for an organization’s brand and voice.
“We ensure that our employees’ voices are lifted up… [and that candidates] are hearing from people who look like them and sound like them” said Pask.
AT&T utilizes augmented reality to give candidates an inside look at the company, allowing applicants to envision themselves working for the company. Hilti also leverages social media to showcase employee experiences that helps with their recruitment efforts.
“We do a lot of storytelling and offer candidates a look behind the scenes,” said Andrew Schick, Director of Talent Acquisition at Hilti North America. “We are having our people tell their stories and their life at Hilti and act as employee advocates.”
At Goldman Sachs, having a diverse mix of employees involved in the hiring process is just as important as having a diverse slate of candidates. Conversations with hiring managers are conducted during the entire process. They intentionally involve as many team members as possible, not only so that candidates gain insight on day-to-day operation but also to remove bias.
“If you’ve interviewed with Goldman, you’d know that we tend to have a collaborative process,” said Brian Watson, VP of Experienced Hire Recruiting at Goldman Sachs. “You’ll meet with lots of people, and that is intentional… This also limits the weight an individual bias would have on the hiring.”
Goldman Sachs employees are also invited to mentor new hires to ensure a more seamless transition and onboarding.
Using data, AT&T has also identified that hiring managers, knowingly or unknowingly, tend to exhibit the most amount of bias – whether that is partiality to people who look like them, went to same schools or other reasons. Training for hiring managers, standardized screenings and interview guides, and using the same people throughout the evaluation process are a few ways to mitigate this.
Higher education and local organization partnerships
Partnerships with universities, local chambers, and professional associations are imperative to a company’s sourcing and recruiting tactics.
Hilti North America shared a long list of partnerships to achieve various goals – from the DRC to local schools and colleges to nonprofit and civic organizations like United Way and Dallas Thrives.
“Do not underestimate the university approach,” said Schick. “Be very intentional about the organizations you’re involved with within those universities…one of the things that we’re proud of in our organization is that over the past five years, we’ve been able to increase female representation overall by 1% a year… and a big part of that is the university program.”
TEXO, The Construction Association is also an important relationship for Hilti as they seek to bring more diversity in the construction industry. Another partnership that Hilti has pursued is with America’s Job Exchange, recently purchased by Circa, allowing them to push job openings to diverse target audiences through community-based organizations, including those that serve veterans, LGBTQ+ populations or others.
AT&T works closely with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic serving institutions (HSIs), as well as other workforce development programs to make sure AT&T’s brand and voice are there.
Goldman Sachs is heavily focused on campus recruiting, partnering with 12 schools throughout Texas and Oklahoma including, locally, UT Dallas (UTD), Southern Methodist University (SMU) and Texas Christian University (TCU). Goldman also works with the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), Society of Black engineers, local women in business clubs and many others.
“The idea really when we look at recruiting is how do we find people where they are,” said Watson. “Find organizations within schools and particular schools to really understand inclusion groups to partner with…Be in the same area as the people we are looking for.”
The DRC’s Talent Attraction Talk on Diversity in Recruiting was sponsored by BGSF and moderated by Ebony Butler, Director of Diversity, Learning & Development. BGSF, headquartered in Plano, is a national leader in workforce solutions. For more information, visit bgsf.com.