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Feb 27, 201810:49 AMMosaic Marketplace

with Deborah Biddle — A blog for diverse business enterprises in and around Madison.

What can we do to hire a more diverse workforce?

(page 1 of 2)

“What can we do to hire more diversity?”

“We’ve tried. We just can’t find diverse candidates who ‘fit’ our culture.”

“We post the jobs but diverse candidates don’t apply. So what are we supposed to do?”

“There aren’t enough qualified diverse candidates.”

I often hear these questions and statements made in relation to hiring diverse candidates in the Greater Madison region of Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Rock, and Sauk counties.

The region’s workforce is 15.1% people of color, with 6.4% and 6.3% being Latino and African-American respectively, as well as a gender split of 46.7% female and 53.3% male. Based on this, it would seem that there might be some truth to the notion that it is difficult to find diversity.

So, how can employers increase diversity?

  1. Create a strategic diversity recruiting plan — The days of “if you post it, they will come” or the “post-and-pray” method are over (if they were ever in effect to begin with).
  2. Budget and plan for strategic recruiting — Don’t get caught saying, “We’d like to recruit beyond the Madison area, but we don’t have enough in our budget.” If you are serious, include dollars for strategic recruiting in your organizational budget.
  3. Get creative — Offer incentives — relocation assistance, signing bonuses, graduate school or college tuition reimbursement, cover their mortgage or rent for six months, retention bonus, hire the spouse/partner, provide immediate health insurance, or offer immediate access to vacation or an additional week of vacation. Recruit promising high school students, and pay their college tuition if they agree to work for your organization for four years after graduation (put it in a contract). Offer up those creative solutions you normally reserve for your high-potential hires.
  4. Extend recruiting timeframes — Knowing the market for diverse candidates is competitive, be prepared to extend your timelines to find candidates. It is a bit unrealistic to post a job you need filled immediately, or within a month or two, and expect to have a large pool of people of color to choose from — at least not without a lot of networking, which leads to my next point.
  5. Network — We all know that 85% of people find their jobs through networking, so if you are seeking to hire diverse candidates, start networking. Get yourself and your teams into diverse spaces. Volunteer, attend social events, and get to know the diverse people who are already in your sphere of influence and ask them for referrals. Do this because it’s good for hiring, and also good for your personal growth and development as a person aspiring to establish a good community and cultural competence, as well as developing D&IQ (diversity and inclusion intelligence).


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