Diversity - Strategic Recruiting and Outreach

Rich Peterson's Ten Up and Down Sides for Diversity in the Workplace:

1.)        Upsides

a.)          Organizations that continue to hire, develop, and promote minorities consistently outperform their competitors in good economic times as well as bad.

b.)          Diverse workforces are better equipped to problem-solve and handle change.

c.)     Promoting diversity creates happier employees. Diverse teams are more creative and innovative.

d.)         If companies want employees to develop, excel, and move up in the ranks, the employee then develops high morale, positive attitudes, and remarkable loyalty.

e.)Investing in minority employees produces high achievers.

f.)     Employees from different cultures, belief systems and socioeconomic backgrounds have access to a wider customer base and give their company an edge in marketing and sales.

g.)          When people who have routinely heard ‘no’ start to hear ‘yes, and believe they will be rewarded for trying, they will work harder and more diligently.

h.)         Multicultural workforces are more competitive globally. The majority of people in the marketplace who are your potential customers are not white men.

i.)     Diverse backgrounds can take advantage of a wider range of experience, perspectives, skills, and ideas.  

j.)            Diversity-minded companies have a better public image.

k.)           Earning a name for equality, diversity, and acceptance improves your appearance among customers, prospective employees, clients, and competitors.

1.)        Downsides

a.)          Where there is a lack of quantifiable measurements and payoffs, anecdotal evidence flourishes.

b.)          Workplace discrimination actually increases in an economic downturn. It often pushes minority groups out of sight. (When times are challenging, people tend to look out for their own group and disengage outsiders).

c.)     Companies often fall back on "head counts" in calculating diversity efforts because the issues surrounding measurement and surveying of other aspects can be too complicated.

d.)          Diversity has been promoted on the foundation of social justice, but to be successful, programs must be built on hard evidence.

e.)There is a great deal of defensiveness amongst diversity program providers.

f.)       Many companies track the success of their diversity efforts in terms of what they, “DO,” not necessarily what leads to a, “Payoff.”

g.)          Companies do not approach diversity in terms of a dollar return on investment. This makes CEO’s frown and disinterested.

h.)         Success is usually reported, but often only in shadowy generalities rather than compelling, quantifiable, or incontrovertible results.

i.)  There are no strong positive or negative effects of gender or racial diversity on business performance.

j.)     Since there is a distinct lack of reported evidence on the success or failure of diversity programs, most often what is presented is simply anecdotal evidence.

k.)          Typecasts change very slowly and placing people of contrary groups together does little or nothing to lower narrow-mindedness.

The challenge with Diversity Programs in general is that it is so hard to find companies willing to participate in diversity studies, the research is minimal.

Implementing strategies, programs and procedures to attract and retain talent including special emphasis on the attracting a minority workforce can be challenging. Knowing what works, what doesn’t and why is imperative! 

Establishing compelling employer brands and advertising campaigns that motivate and capture a diverse minority pool, is necessary when designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating strategic recruitment plans that play a key role in attracting and retaining the best talent possible.

As for strategies, increasing the client’s access to minority professionals, services generally falls into the following categories:

• Strategy development (developing a strategic diversity staffing plan)

• Image/Web site campaign development and placement (developing an external communications message that created national/worldwide awareness)

• Public relations (increasing the company's exposure with minority media, associations  and the local community)

• Diversity ResumeEvent (job fair in print and on the Internet)

• DiversityDirect (announcing current job openings to minority and community organizations via direct mail)

• Open house/event coordination (customized hiring and PR events)

• Direct sourcing of minority candidates (targeted candidate search services for all levels of minority professionals)

Recruiting on the Internet is just one of many sources to use to attract wide spectrum of diverse talent. Rich Peterson firmly believes that one theory is that minority job seekers view the Internet as a “colorblind environment, where their resumes will be judged based on skill sets, as opposed to their race, creed or nationality.  The Internet maximizes recruitment initiatives by reaching multiple, coveted, audiences—while simultaneously sending out essential diversity messages. Companies and federal agencies that enable the Internet audience to easily view and apply for open jobs are reaching one of the fastest growing and most diverse audiences available.  Since the Internet is primarily a ‘pull’ environment, its visitors have total control of where they go and what they see. This freedom of choice naturally encourages the growth of a diverse audience.  Organizations that offer a view into a diverse corporate culture through their Web site can show potential candidates that there is a commitment to providing the right mix of people and ideas. Organizations that can show potential candidates that there is a commitment to providing the right mix of people and ideas will achieve a greater sense of success.

There is no single source that can be used to meet all diversity hiring goals.  Successful diversity recruiting requires utilizing a number of inside and outside sources as well as knowledge of federal, state and local equal opportunity employment regulations.

Two key components in all diversity recruitment are:

1.) Culture--Define a culture and they will come.

2.) Look for ways for employees to identify themselves with company. 

The market research process is everything.  This helps the company make educated media decisions.  Some sample market research included:

    Area Labor Force Studies

    Cost of Living Surveys

    Compensation Studies

    Industry Trends and Information

    Demographic Studies

    Geographic Studies

    Layoff Statistics

    Relocation Policies and Procedures

    Media Analysis

    Cost-per-Hire Analysis

Rich Peterson says advancing discussion and participating in making your Diversity and Talent Acquisition programs tangibly different and unique is paramount.

For More Information:



Views: 643

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on October 1, 2013 at 6:17pm

Thanks, Richard.

What's the definition of a diverse startup? 1/10 of the non-founders are over 30.



Comment by Richard Peterson on October 1, 2013 at 6:34pm


Diversity is a hindrance in very small teams. Nothing gets done.

Nothing gets done.

It's becoming an antiquated notion.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on October 1, 2013 at 6:46pm

If that is so, it doesn't scale well. When I worked at Google, diversity basically meant: "We hire all kinds of upper middle-class, mainly white people just like us!"

Comment by Richard Peterson on October 1, 2013 at 8:04pm

When I pitched the Microsoft account and met with Mr. Gates himself, the meeting was full of his senior Directors. They all looked the same.

Lovely looking Blond Hair/Blue Eyed Ladies. (Actually, "Girls!"." Like on a "Good Day", maybe 35 years old.) )

Not a person of color at all.

Hard Pressed to Find the White Men, too.

Funny story about spending tine with Mr. Bill.

Fortunately, they bought my "Diversity" program. :)

Comment by Paul Alfred on October 2, 2013 at 4:25am

Great post Richard ...It's funny some folks still have their heads in the sand with respect to the power of a diversified workforce.

Comment by Valentino Martinez on October 2, 2013 at 11:47am

The lack of diversity in large or small teams is the foundation for competitive vulnerability in markets where customer diversity is growing.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on October 2, 2013 at 11:58am

Last I looked at it a survey of CEOs of the Fortune 500- I believe they were about 93% white men.

IMHO most of the people involved in the implementation of corporate diversity programs are very sincere in their commitment to creating a truly diverse workforce. On the other hand, I feel that many of their superiors are looking for their company to be "caught pretending to do something good"-while leaving the existing power structure as it is- for want of a better term: "diversity-washing," like "green-washing" or "vet-washing".



Comment by Valentino Martinez on October 2, 2013 at 12:20pm

True, Keith.  And I'm guessing 93% is a number to be proud of by corporate boards considering a tradition that long hovered at 99.5%

Glass Ceilings are maintained by decision makers at the top.  While "diversity" may exist in the lower levels in a majority of organizations...diversity that is lacking tends to rarely make it into top-tier management roles...prompting frustration and high attrition rates of very qualified and capable diverse talent.



Comment by Keith D. Halperin on October 2, 2013 at 12:57pm

@ Valentino: Well-said. "...prompting frustration and high attrition rates of very qualified and capable diverse talent." Funny how that works... as far as I  can tell as a layman, you can't sue a company for a high voluntary attritionrate among particular groups- don't think "disparate impact" goes that far....

Comment by Richard Peterson on October 2, 2013 at 1:49pm

Paul: Couldn't be more right!

Valentino: Dead-On. The Employee Base Must Look, Feel, Taste, Smell, etc, Like the Customer Base.

Keith: You Got in About Corp CEO's.Yes, Corp America Wants to BE Politically Correct, Which is Why Diversity is on Board. However, as i said, Hard-Based Research is at a Minimum. Except for "Public Interest Groups" that Track the Success of the Company. For Example, The HRC (Gay Community's POWERFUL and LARGEST Lobby Group) Scores Companies with Their Corporate EQUALITY Index RANKING those Companies on "Fairness to GLBT Employees.

Valentino: "Frustration and High Attrition" is high. It's all in the MESSAGING! "Disparate Impact" Has to Be, "Inadvertent."

Hope This Helps!


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