Posted September 11, 2015 by

Defining Diversity in the Workplace

Employers often discuss the importance of diversity in the workplace. Beyond race, gender, and sexual orientation, how should employers define diversity? Diversity encompasses many factors, and narrowly defining diversity may lead employers to make poor hiring decisions.

To help explore these issues, College Recruiter is hosting a College Recruiting Bootcamp on LGBT and other diversity hiring issues on Tuesday, September 29th at the Twilio headquarters in San Francisco. Join us.

Prior to that event, we’ll publish the opinions from a number of talent acquisition and recruiting leaders about why and how employers should diversify their workforces. In today’s article, Majja Dennis of Allen and Gerritsen shares her thoughts on the importance of recruiting diverse candidates.

majja dennis

Majja Dennis, EVP Talent & Development at Allen & Gerritsen

As an advertising agency, we are in the business of creativity, especially creativity that is driven by a breadth of ideas. We have to have people from different experiences and backgrounds. We try to define diversity not just by the traditional sense (race, gender, ethnicity, etc.) but by subtle differences as well, such as economic background, urban vs. suburban, life stage, etc.

We want to create an environment with as many differences as we can find. It’s not only a business advantage but it’s a thought and creative advantage.

It makes me nervous when companies talk about finding the “right fit.” We want to challenge the idea of what “fit” means. If a recruiter comes back from an interview saying the candidate wasn’t a right fit, we want to dig into that deeper. Did the candidate display rude or negative behaviors? Fair. Did the candidate perhaps have a different sense of humor or thought process? We want those types of differences.

Majja Dennis, EVP Talent & Development, is responsible for recruiting, developing and retaining the people that drive the bold thinking at Allen & Gerritsen. Majja’s career path started in account management, moved to strategy and, last year, shifted again to lead the talent and HR functions at Allen & Gerritsen. Her long career in the advertising business brings her a unique perspective in the talent management role.

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