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Diversity recruiting: part 3 "World cup soccer"

Diversity recruiting: part 3 "World cup soccer"

By H. Martin de'Campo, managing principal and founder of professional human capital firm Humanatek, Inc. who can be contacted at mailto:martin@humanatek.com

1. Introduction

It's three o'clock in the morning, and my doorbell rings...loudly! I can barely lift my head off my pillow; it feels like I've only slept five minutes.

That doorbell is my cousin picking me up so we can join friends and family to watch the final soccer match of the World Cup between Brazil and Germany at our favorite San Francisco sports bar. I've been waking up at crazy hours for a month to catch the games, which were held in Asia this year. Am I crazy or what? Many would think I am, but soccer is a big tradition in my family and I've never missed a World Cup final game in my entire life.

Besides, the World Cup soccer matches have always been a rare and perfect opportunity for people to witness the power, magic, and "electricity" of diversity.

2. How are soccer and diversity staffing related?

For one thing, FIFA, the worldwide governing body of the World Cup Soccer Tournaments has obtained organisational strength, depth, and congruous demographic representation from diversity staffing.

But even as a child I was intrigued by the human dynamics of the World Cup. It's always been an amazing experience to see so many different cultures, colors, people, foods, languages, clothing, national flags, etc. The FIFA league has taken huge strides to assure that their human capital (referees, medical workers, coaches, commentators, administrators, etc.) reflect the hundreds or races, languages, and cultures represented in the sport of soccer.

Although FIFA was founded in France over 100 years ago, the current worldwide administration that sponsors and sanctions the playoffs around the world is made up of Arabic sheikhs, African tribesmen, Asians, Latin Americans, Europeans, men, women, and people from just about every industry practice in existence.

Truly, from an analytical standpoint, FIFA and the World Cup events have successfully created a veritable "mish-mash" with just about every nationality represented. The World Cup clearly illustrates that, given the opportunity, people prefer, embrace, and desire diversity. They enjoy it! They love it! Diverse environments are a psychologically intriguing and socially energetic phenomenon. Diverse peoples ultimately not only choose to interact with one another, they prefer it!

But the question for today is, how do you harness that successful diverse World Cup synergy into your company as a recruiter? What strategies and protocols will practically and effectively inculcate that culturally diverse synergy into the workplace?

In this article, I'll answer those question by taking a closer look at the final two of the four key strategies and "ingredients" I introduced in this series a few weeks back. In fact, before we move on, let's recap the four necessary ingredients to a successful diversity staffing strategy:

>> Secure your company's leadership commitment.

>> Be prepared to educate and train all employees and managers who will participate in the initiative.

>> Design and solidify the diversity processes and protocols necessary in your diversity initiative.

>> Spend the necessary time to plan out an effective diverse candidate sourcing strategy.

3. Solidifying and constructing a new diversity process

Presuming you've already successfully executed the first two steps of a successful diversity staffing campaign (as described in Part 2 of this series), you can now begin to solidify and construct your newly established strategies and corporate practices for the diversity plan. By this point, it's also important for your hiring managers and any other participants to be appropriately trained and knowledgeable in the protocols that will be deployed to diversify your company.

To start with, invest a lot of attention in the interview process. If the interviewing process is not expedited appropriately and effectively within the plan, then the diversity strategy will fail. Not only will you as the recruiter have to redefine how to interview and what to interview for, but by necessity you will also have to assure that your hiring managers and participants are perfectly versed and capable of executing all the diversity mandates (not just the interviewing aspects of the plan). Everyone involved in the diversity strategy must completely understand what their role is and how to execute it.

4. Reconfiguring hiring documentation

These new definitions and procedures in the hiring process will also require the reconfiguration of many hiring documents. My experience has been that job descriptions will have to be completely rewritten to reflect your company's new diversity effort.

Make sure that the job descriptions not only contain the simple qualifications, but also the new definitions of diversity that by this point you should have already articulated and integrated into the staffing process. Make sure your job descriptions sell your company's diversity; don't be afraid to publicise the fact that your company seeks creative people, outside-the-box thinkers, people who are "colorful" in their approach to work and life. Be careful, of course, not to get yourself into legal trouble with documentation. I don't need to remind you that any verbiage that even slightly insinuates the possibility of preferential treatment is illegal.

You'll also need to review all of your interview documentation. If your hiring managers use a particular interviewing document during interviews, make sure that those documents also reflect your company's diversity strategy. The same can be said about checking references. Any candidate can walk in the door of a company and really talk up their cosmopolitan nature or brag about their "I'm well traveled" and "colorful" side. Make sure you have some purposeful and well-thought-out reference questions prepared for when the time comes to check the character background of your candidates.

If your company has decided to utilize affinity groups or business resource groups, make certain those participants are ready to socially engage and embrace any of the diversity candidates that may require interaction. It's like having your house in order. You must make sure that everyone does their part in the strategy and that they're rehearsed seamlessly to project an effective and congruent diversity message.

5. Effective diversity candidate sourcing

Once you're confident that your diversity strategy's infrastructure is effectively in place you can begin your sourcing for strongly qualified diversity candidates.

Your sourcing campaign should be a dual-pronged effort both online and offline. I will not bore you with the many diversity-oriented resume database sites that are out there in cyberspace. If you're reading this article, you're probably sophisticated enough to know of the many diversity-focused resume sites already in existence. What will surprise you is that many of these sites are NOT that effective in helping you source the diversity candidates you may be seeking. Many studies have produced results that indicate that the vast majority of diversity candidates prefer posting their resumes on general sites. So to be frank, I personally have not found these various diversity sites too useful.

The online tools that have really helped me in sourcing great diversity candidates have been corporate websites, email campaigns, and online marketing efforts.

6. Corporate websites and diversity

One of the first places candidates visit in regards to working for your company is, of course, your corporate website. An effectively planned diversity staffing strategy will always include the shrewd utilization of the corporate website towards diversity staffing goals.

There are so many things you could do with your corporate website to promote diversity staffing that I could probably devote an entire article just to that subject. However, some of the most effective uses of the corporate website for diversity staffing have included the following:

>> Posting pictures of your diverse staff having fun together. With almost everyone "talking" about diversity, pictures can indeed say a lot!

>> Bragging about how your company reaches out to the community. You can point out initiatives your company has been involved with to help senior citizens, children, or the disabled, or perhaps how your company has provided scholarships for at risk youth, for example.

>> Providing information about work/life programmes. Programmes like free onsite child care, subsidized senior care, flexible work schedules can go along way in attracting (and retaining) a diverse group of employees.

>> Adding a list of business resource groups. Some creative companies have even added features that invite visitors to "push the button" and communicate with a peer from their demographic group (like Asians, Hispanics, and African Americans, for example).

Pretty ingenious, and interactive if you ask me! The possibilities here are clearly endless and only limited by your own strategic and "colorful" imagination.

7. Marketing and publicity ads

Perhaps the most misused and misunderstood diversity-sourcing tactic is the marketing and publicity ad campaigns. But in fact, one of the best responses for diversity candidates I have ever witnessed was from an advertisement one of our clients had us develop and publish in Spanish newspapers to take advantage of the Cinco de Mayo holiday.

"Cinco de Mayo" is a big, big deal in California, and in most of the southern U.S. We leveraged the holiday as an opportunity to deliberately attract potential Spanish-speaking Latin candidates for my client's marketing department, which was in dire need of expanding into the southern areas of the U.S. The ad was a total success! We managed to successfully integrate the humor and fun of Cinco de Mayo into the ad and capture the audience we were trying to "fish-out" (in this case, bilingual marketing executives).

This kind of tactic could easily be applied and customized for any demographic community you may be trying to source from. Newspapers and magazines are not the only venue either. Magical results have been achieved with the radio airwaves, television, press releases, public-service announcements, etc. Again, the sky is the limit!

8. Sponsorships

Finally, another very creative and unique way for your company to source diverse candidates is through corporate sponsorships of ethnic and cultural events in your community.

How about sponsoring a Filipino festival? How about showing your corporate colors at an ethnic concert or local soccer game? One client asked us for some ideas on how to diversify their company. After a lot of strategizing and brainstorming, we simply opened up the local newspaper and found a story about a local high school Chinese performing arts troop that was in need of funding to perform in the local San Francisco Chinese New Year parade. Bingo! The high school troop found their sponsors in our client, and our client found a venue to recruit from.

During the course of the parade we suggested to our client that they aggressively distribute marketing cards in both Chinese and English playing up the company's successes, diversity, benefits, and, of course, job openings. From that one sponsorship effort our client ultimately hired three technical professionals for their development department, as well as a new receptionist. Of course they promptly posted up the photos of their involvement in the parade on their corporate website. Not bad for an afternoon of fun, camaraderie, and great food!

9. Conclusion

Deploying a diversity staffing campaign is not for the faint of heart. But all the strategies I've described here can be, and absolutely should be, cultivated and led by the staffing and HR function of any given organisation.

As a recruiter, understand that recruiting is a business imperative, and not just matching people to qualifications. Diversity staffing represents the perfect opportunity for ALL recruiters to legitimize their importance in today's global economy.

If you're still not convinced of the power of diversity in business or people relations, just check out the World Cup soccer games in the future. You'll know what I mean about that electricity that a novel blend of peoples from around the world can create!

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Gary Watkins

Gary Watkins

Managing Director


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T: +27 (0)10 035 4185 (Office)

F: +27 (0)86 689 7862

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