but lots of folks have never tried them. Trust me, to this day I am still meeting with organizations that have never taken these basic steps forward.
“Our search firms didn’t bring us a diverse slate.” OK, so fire them. What would you do if you were trying to recruit a new CFO, and your recruiting firm brought you nothing but marketing people? There are many excellent recruiting firms out there today that can provide you with more diversity talent than you’ll know what to do with. You just have to hire them. Again, this is about business logic. Your search firm didn’t find any because they didn’t really look; they are paralyzed by the same excuses that you are. The reality is, like most organizations, traditional search firms rely on their formal and informal networks to source candidates — and these networks have historically been bereft of diversity professionals. … Find a recruiting firm with strong connections to diverse communities, and you will have all the talent you need.
“Diversity candidates just don’t make it through the hiring process.” This excuse is a corollary to “We can’t find any.” If your diversity candidates aren’t competitive, it is likely because whoever selected your candidates has “settled” in terms of fit and job qualifications rather than spend the extra time to find highly qualified diversity candidates. But they’re out there, and it’s your job to find them. You’ve got to get rid of the idea that to hire a diversity professional is to lower your standards or to somehow “settle.” If candidates aren’t making it through the process, go find better ones. That’s what you would do with majority candidates, right? Of course, there’s always the chance that the issue is with your hiring managers, whose biases are preventing diversity candidates from making it through. If this is the case, get real about it. By putting a greater number of highly qualified diversity candidates through your process, you will either move your numbers, or very quickly discover that you have hiring managers with active biases. Either way, you’ll have the solution to moving your numbers.
“Diversity doesn’t affect us.” … With people of color currently numbering 100 million and growing exponentially, it is only a matter of time before this explosion impacts every organization’s customers and workforce. (Jon Meacham, The New Face of Race, NEWSWEEK, Sept. 18, 2000.) For some organizations — hospitality firms or consumer goods manufacturers, for example — the wave has already hit. For others — such as financial services and technology firms — the wave is further offshore but still approaching like a tidal wave. No matter which category you are in, you must have a plan and act aggressively. If you don’t, you will lose customers, talent, money, and market share. If this sounds like a breach of fiduciary duty, well, it just might be.
“Diverse professionals don’t want to work here — there is no one here like them.” … The majority of diverse professionals I’ve worked with will work anywhere for the right