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How Your Company Can Improve Diversity and Inclusion in The Workplace

Over the last several months I have met with countless agencies, firms, corporations and companies to discuss the lack of racial diversity in the media, marketing and pr industries and while most have been pretty enthusiastic about fixing the problem many of my encounters have all sang the same song, “ We know this is a problem, but there just isn’t enough pipeline to find the good people that we need’. Now if you’re reading this and not sure what pipeline means it is a pool of qualified people interested in learning about job opportunities as they become available at your company. You “pipeline” candidates because their skills, experience, and traits match a particular role for which there is no immediate hiring need. While I do agree that the pipeline MAY be an issue(depending on how you look at the issue), it is often an excuse.

  • As an African American women in Marketing/PR who also attended an HBCU(Historically Black College and University)I happen to know that there are plenty of smart and capable candidates out there who just so happen to be diverse. In fact, if we look at statistical data alone 50% of our population identifies as female and nearly 50% in the U.S. (often overlapping) identify as being racially diverse and believe it or not, numbers never lie.
  • As an expert on diversity and inclusion specifically as it relates to African American women in creative industries I have compiled a short list of things you can incorporate into your hiring strategy that could help you build a more diverse full time and freelance team:
  • Make inclusion and diversity aa part of your corporate culture and not just pretty words that you put at the end of a job description. When most companies hire they typically hire individuals based on them being a ‘culture fit’ (aka people who seem like they can fit in with us) and unfortunately that often creates an opportunity for individuals to hire based on unconscious biases. You can do this by making sure your executive team is diverse. Often times, employers make the mistake to believe that they are the only ones in the hiring process and fail to realize that their potential employers are also interviewing them too. If the home page of your website has no diversity on it’s home page that could be an indication that your entire team reflects that same make up.
  • Determine what SKILLS(notice I emphasize skills and not job requirements because ultimately a job has to be taught but you must determine if they have the initial skills first) you are looking for before you interview any candidates. This will not only help you evaluate the candidates but it will also make sure that you are fairly evaluating candidates who may have different experiences but yet the same level of experience.
  • Ignore unnecessary requirements. Many times candidates won’t even apply for a position if a requirement is listed that they know they do not have. This could in turn cause you to miss out on incredible talent simply because they don’t know what skills you are prioritizing.
  • Remove unconscious biases from the hiring process. Make sure your job description doesn’t only appeal to one group of people.
  • Look for talent in unlikely or overlooked places such as gas stations, day cares, spas, barber shops, hair etc. while these may seem like unconventional places these are also places that all types of people frequent.
  • Use data and facts to evaluate candidates the same way. Some companies remove names, photos and universities before reviewing them so they are not aware of race or gender.

While this list does not include all of the things needed to improve diversity in your workplace this is just a short list of things you should consider implementing. This is why we created Black Girl Group, we are an online freelance platform that connects African American women freelance creatives to companies seeking to market and advertise to African American consumers. To learn more shoot me a message and learn how we may can collaborate.

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