Posted June 12, 2019 by

If Your C-Suite Is Not Supporting Your Diversity Efforts, Ask Them How Many Left-Handed Employees They Have

Numerous studies show that the more diverse an organization’s workforce is, the more productive they are. In fact, research from McKinsey found that companies that are diverse by gender and ethnicity, outperform their peers financially by 35%!

And yet, it can still be a challenge for some talent acquisition teams to get buy-in for their diversity efforts from CEOs and other leaders. Without this support from the top, it’s virtually impossible to create a diversified workforce.

“Organizations must see diversity as an essential element of their strategy, rather than a trend or an accessory,” notes Kimberly Jones, Global Talent Acquisition Specialist and Founder of Kelton Legend, a multi-dimensional talent acquisition strategy organization. “If your leadership team doesn’t see the value of diversity, you can make a strong business case – there is plenty of research that supports the fact that diverse businesses are more competitive.”

Jones suggests an interesting twist to the diversity conversation: Start by asking talent acquisition leaders how many left-handed employees they have. Think about it: If you’re a consumer goods company, designing instruments such as scissors, and you don’t have left-handed engineers or designers, how can you produce a product that is effective for everyone? You’re probably not producing products that are as functional as they could be. And, since approximately 30% of the population is left handed, you’re only marketing to 70% of the people. Why would you intentionally lose out on market share?

This principle applies to gender, ethnicity, age and people who are differently-abled. Without a diverse team, you’re missing out on the valuable perspectives and distinctive contributions that come from a blend of people.

Jones adds: “Forget the assumption that there is ‘norm’ – we are all different. And we should all have an opportunity to contribute our unique talents.”

Using Diversity to Attract Diversity

The other hurdle that companies must get over is creating a diverse talent acquisition team. Having diversity on your talent acquisition team accomplishes two things:

  • It shows that your company values diversity and provides an accurate representation of your workforce (if you have a diverse workforce).
  • It helps a wide variety of potential candidates relate better to your team and your company.

Jones recommends thinking beyond just gender or ethnicity and include different personalities, such as introverts and extroverts. Most companies think that recruiters should be naturally extroverted but imagine a highly-qualified candidate who is an introvert and feels uncomfortable trying to communicate with these outgoing, gregarious people, especially in a crowded career fair or other recruiting event. Some positions, such as engineers or accountants may not require an extroverted person. Companies that fail to relate to all candidates may miss out on some extraordinary talent.

The bottom line: Organizations that fail to embrace diversity may be less productive and less financially successful. They risk losing opportunities due to bias, even if those biases are unconscious.

“Unfortunately, you can’t teach someone to be unbiased,” said Jones. “It’s a result of a lifetime of teaching and experiences. However, you can make people more aware of their biases and teach empathy. That should be our goal.”

To hear more from Kimberly Jones, check out our video interview HERE.

Or visit www.keltonlegend.com to learn more about Kimberly and her talent acquisition strategies.

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Posted in Advice for Employers, Diversity, Employers, recruitment, Recruitment Strategies, Workplace Culture | Tagged