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EP 03: How can I get more diversity in my organization?

Dec 17, 2020

In this session, we answer the question: How can I get more diversity in my organization?

Join us at the Inclusion 1st Project as we explore inclusion via the questions and discourse created by allyship in the Anti-racist Movement.



  • How job descriptions play a role in diversity. 
  • How the hiring process in your organization may be the root of the lack of diversity within the company. 
  • Ways you can change your hiring process.









Session Topic: How can I get more diversity in my organization?

Kyle: How do companies, organizations, nonprofits become more diverse both at the board level and the working level?

Carrie: OK, great. We definitely got this question. I've had some conversations since our first workshop about this. And I think that the first thing that anyone can do, no matter where they are in your organization, is find out more about your hiring process, because the hiring process is actually the culprit, a lot of times, in why your organization isn't diverse.

Carrie: Now, there's biases built into your hiring process. That's another part. But it's the hiring process, it's a system that you're using to find people. Ultimately there are biases in interviews, but the process that they're using is the first place that you can look. And so oftentimes you'll find that companies are looking in places that just aren't diverse because they're not aware of where diverse people are. And so you have to actually do the work to find out where diverse people are, whether that is women, whether that is people of color. We, diverse people, exist in both spaces that are designed for us, like an African American Association of Medicine, for example. You'll find a lot of African-Americans there. But then all of those African-American doctors will likely exist in diverse and white spaces, too, as well.

Carrie And so being sure to source the jobs in these different spaces, we start talking about the job, also thinking about job descriptions and how you're writing those. There are lots of biases that come up in job descriptions so that people who are different than kind of your archetype of your company are turned off by that, whether it's because you're using bro language and women or like, no, or you're work hard, play hard or alcohol, these are the stereotypes. But I'm sure we've also worked with those places and I've read those job descriptions.

Carrie: And so coming up with nice neutral job descriptions and in the process, we've also heard a lot about names and how different names will be perceived differently. And based on that, not giving callbacks have biases coming into the interviews. And so being able to create a process where you're actually potentially able to source resumes and the content of your resumes blind, so that those names aren't causing you to make a pass on someone who is a completely qualified candidate. I mean, the list here goes on and on, but it really is all about the hiring process and also about where you're looking, how you're preparing people to do interviews. Are you doing fair interviews or are your interviews just kind of willy nilly? Everyone gets to ask whatever they want. Everyone's judging people on different criteria. Nobody knows what those are. And then you're making your call based on who knows what or why. And that's like super common in companies that are tiny to companies that are like tens of thousands of people. And so that's why I'm saying it is the hiring process and really drilling into that and figuring out all the different places where bias can exist in that process and then figuring out how to work that bias out.


Kyle: Because those are things that I would not begin to think through as thoroughly, because, again, it's going to be things that take time to change. And that's hard work involved in finding and sourcing these things and then just discovering them. And I feel like a lot of that probably plays into approaching board members. Would you agree?

Carrie: Yes, especially like where you're looking at, and it's difficult for some boards because they're all white and sometimes these people don't know anyone of color, but I honestly find it. I mean, I guess there are people who don't know any person who is diverse, but that just blows my mind as a diverse person. But where can you find people who can help make your board diverse? Where can you look? Because they exist in spaces of color, minority spaces, female spaces, and then also exists again in minority spaces. And I think one of the best things to do looking from the board standpoint is to source each of your individual networks, because, you know, some people you're a parent or you volunteer here, you know, people who might also know people. And in this case, it's also really important to be transparent. I've been approached by several boards who wanted to add diversity to their board. And I think that it's good for you to know and say those things upfront so that me, as a potential board member, I can know kind of like not what my role is exactly, but like what is going on, because I feel it can be awkward. If you're like Carrie, you really love you for these reasons. Be on our board and then I walk in and it's a bunch of like old white people. I'm like, oh, OK. Now I know. Versus like one of the reasons why we want you is because bringing a diverse perspective and it's important for us to get diverse people on the board for these reasons. So being upfront about that.

Carrie: Another thing that you can do as far as board recruitment goes is to talk to your local chambers of commerce. There's typically an Asian Chamber of Commerce, an African-American one, a Latino one, and beyond. So you can go to those places, find those leaders, and brainstorm with them and other places that you can look in addition to reaching out to their membership. I just coached an executive director recently on engaging with our chambers here, our minority chambers here in San Diego, and potentially getting in front of one of the membership meetings where they can actually talk about the organization and help to source that way. So pulling in new people, new places, figuring out where aren't you going that you could be going and again, giving yourself the time in your process to do that. One of the things with hiring and with board recruitment, we have to get this done right now. So then you start to look where, you know when you make a fast decision. And yes, the board seat is filled, the position is filled. But did you really do your due diligence? In not only looking for diverse candidates so that you can reap the wealth of that, but also in finding giving this opportunity to different types of people, to making sure that you're opening and creating a wide breadth, a wide swath, of individuals, that potentially this that you can then find the best candidate, not just from the people that look like you, but from a rainbow of people with different experiences that can really enrich your board, enrich the company, et cetera.

Carrie: What do you think, Kyle?

Kyle: No, I think that's a great answer. I don't have time to add because I think you're exactly right. And I love that you gave permission almost right, to ask people, you know, in your network, be OK asking.

Kyle: But to be really upfront, like use the word diverse. And remember that diversity doesn't always just mean skin color and ethnicity, it means gender, sexual orientation, it means age, all the things. Right? So just putting that in your language upfront, I think is a really great piece of advice. And stop being so afraid and hypersensitive that people are going to be nervous. Give yourself the permission to go, OK, this is what we're looking for. You want to learn and be more open-minded, and we want diversity to be included so that a campaign can be changed for your company and organization when you incorporate a diverse set of thinking based on those that you're included in. So thank you for giving people that permission to be upfront about that. I think that's great.



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