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Talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships. Welcome to eight players. But guess what? We'll tell you how to target, hire, retain and train top performers for your team.


Again, those are, I think, the five top things that people need to think about when they're hiring diverse players. And I'm happy to delve into each one a little bit if that helps Robin. I am Robin shows you at our suites and we are sourcing automation software that helps the tech companies hire the best talent at me and for me now on LinkedIn Qwant to keep an eye on this.


OK, so I was just looking at my LinkedIn connections, I looked for chief diversity officers, second degree connections, I saw seven to eight matches. I looked for chief executive officer, twenty five thousand matches. So this chief diversity role is pretty new, very, very proud and happy to have you here today. Iraqi special as you worked at recruiters. So modern talent acquisition suites. You'll tell us more about the software itself. And that's probably the place we can have the most leverage when you work in diversity working in our industry.


So very happy to have you here today. Can you tell us more about you and then we'll mention the focus for today's visit?


Yeah. Robin, thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here. Like you said, my name is Rocky Howard and chief diversity officer for Smart Recruiters. I'm also the host of the Grown Woman Life podcast and creator of the Grown Woman Life Power Players List, which recognizes bold, brilliant, badass career women and entrepreneurs over 40. A little bit about myself is I'm a 10 year talent acquisition strategist with more than 20 years of experience working in recruitment and talent acquisition.


I possess H.R. Lean and project management certifications and those really kind of inform my perspective and approach. I've been acknowledged and honored to be acknowledged as one of the top one hundred minority executives by Yahoo! Finance and involved. And personally, I'm on a mission to disrupt the intersection of diversity and recruitment, to create simple and sustainable diversity solutions that allow organizations of all sizes to hire diverse players. Let me just mention, if people aren't familiar with smart recruiters, we are a modern talent acquisition suite.


And in fact, according to IDC, we're a primary leader in the modern suite market and our customers vary from companies like Square Wish, Etsy, PayPal, all the way to organizations like Nielsen, Mattel, McDonald's, Deloitte and Bosch, and maybe even as someone we all know as LinkedIn. So that tells you a little bit about me and a little bit about smart recruiters and smart recruiters. We believe you are who you hire. So when you are in startup or scale up mode, it is especially important to be deliberate about hiring diverse players.




Right. And so we took some time to prepare that episode and to see the focus that we are. So we knew we wanted to do something on diversity in recruiting. And the access that we decided on was what all the five things that may be preventing agents from hiring diverse eight players and try and find very reasonable advice. So maybe let's start with what's in a player to you and then we'll dig into these and then we'll complete with these five things that may be preventing people from hiring diverse players.


Yeah, it's a really good question because I think we all have a different definition potentially about what a players are from my perspective and my point of view. A players really understand your business and they are passionate about making a contribution. They're clear on how they add value. And I think a players understand that there is their job role and they add value in doing their job role exceptionally well. But most players recognize that there's additional roles that they take on within the culture of your organization.


I think when you're looking at a players in a startup or scaleup environment, you'll find that most of them are utility players and certainly they bring diverse perspective that will help you drive innovation and a competitive advantage and ultimately more profit.


And do you believe and we heard both on this podcast, you believe that the players, all eight players say they have some kind of intrinsic layering skills, or do you think their players in a specific team and they would be key players in another team and it's told about the team what you believe?


Yes, I do think that a players are intrinsically motivated and it's something with inside them. However, I think that if you put any player in the wrong environment, they're not going to play their best game. Right. So I think it's a fair question. I think any a player in the wrong culture will not play their best. So I do think that making sure that you're hiring the right a player for your particular business goals, your objectives and your culture is very important and that you're not excluding people based on your culture, but you're looking for a players who can actually be cultural adds to your organization.


OK, obviously A players come in all shapes and sizes. Why is that important to your mind to think about diversity when you're hiring a players and maybe especially from the startup scale perspective?


Yeah, I'm so glad you asked that question. And I think I'll come at this from a couple of ways from. So first of all, I think one of the reasons it's important to think of it in terms of start up and scale up is it's so much easier to do something right right from the start than to have to go back and correct it. Right. And my grandmother used to say, start with the end in mind. Right. Start the way you want to finish.


And I think if you're thinking about building diverse teams right from the beginning, then it's not something you have to go and build all these programs and these corrective actions for in the future. You started with the end in mind, right? I also think that there is a new movement that I'm a big fan of that's called stakeholder capitalism. That could be a whole episode in and of itself. But if people aren't familiar, they can check out just capital for more details.


But Just Capital has surveyed over one hundred and ten thousand Americans since 2015, and they're the stakeholder capitalism. Eighty nine percent of Americans believe that now, especially with the year that we've been through this moment, represents an opportunity for companies to hit, reset and focus on doing right by their workers, customers, communities and environment. And diversity and inclusion is one of their top five agendas in terms of how people can do right. And then I think finally, there's a business case for diversity.


You, the most diverse companies are likely to outperform their less diverse peers in terms of profitability. So according to McKinsey, companies who have more gender diversity on their executive teams or twenty five percent more likely to have above average profitability and companies that have ethnic and cultural diversity are thirty six percent more likely to outperform their peers. And so who doesn't want to be more financially competitive than their peers?


All right. That's a very compelling case indeed. OK, so very important. More and more people are realizing this. It's indeed much easier to start with the end in Myna to build your team from the start of diversity. Nine, because if you only have a team of female engineers, then it gets harder and harder to hire female engineers. So and it's the same for all kind of diversity. So let's maybe start with a company that's starting today.


You are talking to a new funder or starting a company. What's the main advice you give to that person? So they have the end in mind and they start on the right foot. What's the advice that you give? And then maybe you will look at the companies that's already built and have to rethink their diversity processes in hiring processes, etc., etc. So they start with a brand new, fresh company. What's the advice that you give to them?


Yeah, I think it is all about what? Your commitment. Right. So I think you need to take time to build a culture right from the beginning where you're thinking about inclusion and inclusion and equity is the expectation. Right. And I think you need to include diversity as you start to carve out your company values. So if it's part of what you value, it's something that you will always look for in terms of the future and how you do business and what your culture is driven like should be aligned to your company values.


I think you've got to leave from the top. Right. And a lot of us that are in startup or scale up mode are forming. Our boards are advisory boards and you can make conscious decisions as you build those boards and you build your team that it reflects your customer base and your world demographics. Right. And should be diverse. You want to hire leaders and hold them accountable for building diverse teams and take politics and have a culture that encourages debate and mistakes and courageous conversations with positive intent and respect.


OK, and let's look right now at a larger company. They didn't build a company with diversity in mind, so they know how to adapt. And often times they have different things, preventing them from having a more diverse workforce. And you think there are five main things that these companies should look at and try to fix now. Can you tell us more about that thesis and what those mean things are, these five things that prevents and probably your audience will be very interested because a lot of people are asking this question, what's the five things I should look at now and solve now to improve my diversity in the team?


Exactly. So we just talked about one of them, which is your commitment. Right. And what is your organization's commitment to diversity? What does it look like for you? What dimensions of diversity do you want to focus on? It really is about making conscious decisions about what diversity looks like within your organization. So I'd say number one is commitment. Number two is really all about your brand. Right. And we can delve into numbers two through five as we get there.


But how does your. And show up and what does your diversity brand equity look like? Number three is your sourcing strategy and how are you sourcing diverse talent? How are you not going to kind of the same well, that you go to recruit every other candidate? And what's your commitment around your sourcing strategy? I would say number four is what kind of hiring experience does your organization have? Right. And so if you're going to hire diverse talent, they should have a good hiring experience as they go through the process.


And then finally, I think there's a lot of conversation about conscious and unconscious bias. And so I just wonder if people really understand what your biases are, especially as they relate to the hiring process. So I think number five is is really all about your biases. So, again, those are, I think, the five top things that people need to think about when they're hiring diverse a players. And I'm happy to delve into each one a little bit, if that helps.


Robyn Troxel. So for those of you taking notes, there's commitments, number one. Number two is the brand, the employee brand. The number three, the one that we previously mentioned is the sourcing strategy. Number four is what happens during the interview process, the hiring experience, and then the fifth one is the biases and biases. So if we look at the first one commencements, would you want to focus on how would you implement that in the company?


Should you write this down? What's your advice on that?


Yeah, so that's what I was referring to earlier, right. Where it really needs to be thoughtful about what kind of culture you're building, how you integrate that into your brands, how you're leading from the top and demonstrating that commitment to diversity, what type of leaders you're hiring as you're forming your boards or advisory boards or leadership teams. What does that look like in terms of your organization and being realistic about where you are today and where you want to go?


Actually taking time to take pulse checks with your employees, whether it's two employees or two thousand, and see how they feel. And certainly having a culture where inclusion and equity are prevalent and that you're able to have courageous conversations in a respectful way and with positive intent.


OK, so what's the kind of commitments that you see companies take? Because diversity is very broad, right? You could say, of course, commitment should be like we want to have a 50 percent mix of male female people in the company and even across all teams. Is that some these kind of commitments? And can you give us actual examples? Yeah, sure.


So I think commitment number one is really about taking a step back to say what do I want diversity to look like in our organization and what dimensions of diversity do we want to focus on? Is it gender or is it race? Is it veteran status? Is it something a little bit more intrinsic and driving diverse perspectives within the organization? And once you decide what it's going to look like in your organization, then I think it's time to put some goals behind it.


Right. And some accountability behind it. And I think the best organizations, you certainly see lots of organizations taking pledges, making their commitments public and being transparent when they get it right and when they get it wrong. I think people don't want organizations to be perfect. They just want organizations to be proud of the progress they're making.


OK, so you see race, gender, veteran status, probably there's a lot of things like you can't even look at schools or backgrounds. We want to hire people with diverse backgrounds working in different industries before. And you write this down and you commit to it in front of your team and in front of your customers and in front of the world. That's a very good first step.


Yeah. And if you want to see a great example, certainly smart recruiters did that earlier this year. And if you go to the Smart Recruiters website, you'll see that our CEO, Jarome, made a commitment that smart recruiters was going to be an anti-racist force in the industry and he put a plan behind it. So if you want to see a good example, we certainly have one for you.


Cool. I'll take this one. And then the second one is to run. So this one is very interesting because we don't think about the brand as segregating people. But I guess that sometimes you don't even realize this. You can have a very male oriented brand and you're segregating away from female. So this was very interesting because I wouldn't have thought about this one. Can you tell us what's behind it?


Sure. And let me just share something with you. According to Glassdoor, 78 percent of employees expect their employers to be inclusive and treat everyone equally. And so if your brand does not demonstrate that you're doing that, you're going to lose people before you ever actually have an. Opportunity to engage with them. So I guess the questions I would ask myself are, what is your brand doing to showcase your true commitment to diversity? Right. When you come into the brand, when you look on the website and the career pages, do all types of individuals look at that content and see themselves reflected back?


Are your job descriptions and your content free from gender and culturally biased language? You know, are you transparent about your goals and how you're going to get there? Do you talk about your commitment to diversity in your job ads? And so it's really interesting. I think if you asked most companies, they would say yes. But my friends over at Calero and I have been tracking some key industry leaders in just one specific job brand. Right. So we've been looking at marketing managers.


And if you were to look right now, there's about nine thousand marketing manager positions posted, and that's a pretty popular job. Interestingly enough, only thirteen point six percent of those job ads talk about diversity and not significantly better. Only thirty one percent mention or have an EEOC statement. So I would really encourage you to make sure that you're talking about what your diversity statement is and what your commitment is as you advertise and ask yourself who is your application process and interview process excluding?


If I'm blind, is it easy for me to apply if I ask for reasonable accommodation? Do you know how to make it? Am I feeling like I am imposing or is it easy to do? Right. So have you thought about reasonable accommodations with respect? Because a players come in all types of packages and they may need an accommodation.


All right. That's one interesting language. Where do you see the most errors being made in the language? Because oftentimes companies don't even think about the language making the hours they want to do well, but just don't realize it's not appropriate.


Absolutely. What I would absolutely suggest, as you look at a tech that helps you take out biased language, text is a great resource to be able to do that and text. You can actually scrub the language in your job ads to make sure that you have gender and cultural neutrality in your job. So a perfect example is that you might be saying I'm looking for a sales ninja. Right. And you think you're not trying to exclude people, but that is a language that is heavily weighted towards men.


Women don't respond to I want to be a ninja. That's what the studies show. So there's lots of language that can exclude populations of people and you just don't want to do that.


OK, so Quicksilver's good one. Do you have any other tools that you'd recommend?


Yeah, I think Texte is top on my list. There's a ton of competitors, but Tuxedo is the one that I'm probably most familiar with and have the most experience with.


OK, so the brand and then we can eventually talk about the sourcing strategy number three. Yeah.


So look, sourcing is time consuming and it can be expensive. Right. And I find that you don't often recognize that you need a specific and tailored sourcing strategy to recruit diverse talent. Right. And let's admit it, start up in scale often want to take a bit of a cost savings route when it comes to sourcing. So that goes back to that point you made earlier about what we tend to do is ask for referrals. And if all the people who are working with us or we're networked with already look like us, it goes to follow that the people that they're going to refer to like us.


And then you're not getting the type of diversity that you need. And great talent can perform 10, 20, 30 x more than average talent. And so it is worth it to invest in a tailored sourcing strategy to recruit diverse talent. And there are some creative ways to do this, right? It's smart recruiters. We believe in reverse mentoring days where we will bring in underrepresented candidates and meet with them and talk to them or have them. We've done it at our conferences where we've had them meet with other employers.


You could host a hackathon, you could recruit from nontraditional universities like BCUZ. You can drive partnerships with organizations like Jobs for a cause, which actually has communities of diverse individuals that are looking for employment. Right. As you grow, I would certainly encourage you to use your CRM to develop diverse talent communities and have a communication plan with those individuals in your COMMUN. And the one thing that I would also encourage you not to forget is your internal processes and making sure that your internal promotional processes aren't political, it's not a wink, wink, nudge, nudge who you know, but that they're fair and they're equitable.


And you're monitoring your high potential, diverse talent internally with the same kind of vigor that you would recruit externally.


And that's actually the number four. Right, having experienced the internal processes.


Yeah, it does lead really well into number four, Robyn. And so I think when I think about hiring experience, there's the piece that's the internal and the external. And here's what I would ask people to think about. Can your team, the people who are interviewing, the people who are sourcing, can they recognize and a player if they look differently than they do? Right. So twenty five point five percent of resumes received callbacks. If African-American candidates made their names sound white.


We're only 10 percent receive callbacks if they didn't alter their names. That's an experience that people are having. And that's according to McKinsey. According to Ability Works, only thirty two percent of private sector employees have been able to change co-workers or supervisors attitudes when it comes to someone with a disability. Right. And so if you are not thinking about these things and you're not aware it's going to impact your hiring experience. So the best ways to kind of get ahead of that is diversify your hiring team.


When you're interviewing, when you're hiring, is that team diverse? Has your team been trained in bias and unconscious bias, which is going to be number five? We'll talk about that in a sec. Have you ensured that your screening process mitigates bias? Right. And maybe it's something like having blind resumes or you're scrubbing language outside of what may come through on a resume. So there are certainly companies and partners that that can do that. Just Riegle is one blind for Smart is one.


And it takes kind of the bias out of the screening process. And do you have a structured interview process with a scorecard that focuses on outcomes and deliverables and what that person can contribute to your organization? So when you think about the hiring process, you want to have a hiring process where people aren't screened out based on biased reasons. OK, OK.


And then I know that's the fifth item, but that would have been the question anyway. So how would you train your team? So you start with this commitment to try and Forsys, this new communication, if you can, you make a public pledge so everybody's aware of this fights you're leading and the commitment that you have. But no, the problem with this is, especially in cancer cases, is they are here. And if you don't fight them and if you don't know about them, they're here anyway.


So you want to be doing good, but you still have those biases. How do you train your team on these biases?


Robyn, that's a great question. And I think, first of all, let's take the guilt away. I think so many times people get caught up in the guilt of, oh, my gosh, I have a bias. We're human beings. We all have biases. Biases are there to protect us and say, oh, this is different. And so we need to be aware. But I think the most important part about biases is recognizing that you have the bias and being conscious, ironically enough, about your biases, whether they're conscious or unconscious and being willing to work past them.


So let me give you a few biases that certainly are prevalent in the interview process. Right. Affinity bias is one, and it's our tendency to gravitate towards people who are similar to ourselves. So, oh, I graduated from IU and I was part of this frat and you are too. Therefore, you're going to be great in this job. One has nothing to do with the other, but it is our bias towards affinity, right. It's confirmation bias.


Right. So I think that women are less committed because their moms. Right. And so when I have a woman come through the interview process and ask, what are your typical working hours or do you have flexible work, then I automatically go see she's not as committed. I use information to confirm my bias. Right. So we need to be aware of that. There's conformity, bias. Right. So when you're going through the interview process and you've had three interviewers, let's say our panel interview and the boss leads and says, I don't like this person, then everybody else in the room is swayed or influenced like that's you need to create cultures and processes so that you're really getting the best outcomes.


The honest feedback and not conformity bias and then the last one, I would say people really need to be aware of, I'm going to call it appearance bias. It comes in a lot of different ways that comes in beauty weight. It can come in here. I'll give you a perfect example. I was in a situation where I used to wear dreadlocks and I was interviewed for promotion, asked if I would change my hair, said no. And I wasn't given the promotion because the perception was that my appearance wasn't professional one.


That's right. And so I think when it comes to biases, you're not going to stop being biased overnight. But it's about being conscious of your unconscious biases. Right.


You can start by being conscious and then you can even leverage those biases in some ways. And what I mean is if you have the commitment, if you commit to improve the diversity in your team, then you'll start thinking, OK, she's a woman, she will be less committed. But you start thinking, OK, she's a woman and we need more women in our team. So you leverage those biases. You still have biases because you think this person is more likely to do the job because you just need to hire more women.


But that's a good way to improve diversity in your team, right?


It is. And, you know, at the end of the day, Robyn, it's about doing we talk a lot about diversity. Right? And we talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. We're in a place now where we have an opportunity to just do. Yeah, right.


Right. It's a good final word. Thanks a lot, Rocky. Thanks for these very actionable recipe, those five items. And I'm sure a lot of people will use that really happy working for US recruiters and really happy to have people in this role in the H.R. companies. And I hope you are more and more people working on these and making sure that this commitment is reflected on the organization and in places where we can have most leverage. So thanks to that rookie, is there anything else, any less advice that you'd like to share?


Yeah, I would just say this, Robin, thank you so much for opening up this conversation. It's really important. And Ed, Smart recruiters, we are currently working on a diversity hiring maturity model and blueprint. So if you guys follow me on LinkedIn when it's launched, we'll let you know. And it will certainly give you some actionable items and continue in more depth on this topic. Cool.


So we'll definitely follow you on LinkedIn if they don't already. Thanks for a great day.


Thanks, Robin. Take care. Thanks for listing that. But still the end. If you're still with us, it's probably that you enjoy the players pay players is brought to you by myself and higher suites. Well, building a sourcing automation software. And we already helped nine tech companies hire the best science.


To know more about us, go to W-W the hire suites dot com or you can add me on LinkedIn. I'm pretty responsive and always happy to check the more subscribers the best. Guess what you want to help. You can do a lot in less than ten seconds. Please subscribe to the podcast. Leave us a nice rating on review and share the podcast around you. That really, really helps. Thanks a lot and talk to you soon.