Wanted: African American Professional for Hire - Page 4 of 4

Wanted: African American Professional for Hire

backfire, because you could be telegraphing the idea that your commitment to diversity stops at window dressing.

“Our hiring managers won’t cooperate.” Does the word insubordination mean anything to you? The only reason managers “don’t do anything” is because there is no consequence if they don’t. Make their compensation depend on achievements in diversity hiring, and you’ll see changes. Make promotions turn on hitting diversity numbers, and you’ll get results. This is not new stuff. You’ve got to motivate your people to achieve results, as with any other strategic initiative.

“We only promote from within.” To say that you are committed to building diversity but only hire from within is a joke. These two priorities are directly at odds. It’s like saying you are committed to growing flowers, but have a policy against planting things. It can’t be both ways. So decide which priority is most important, and move on. Once this decision is made, the rest can be sorted out.

“We made a mistake by promoting a lot of minorities too soon, before they were ready.” Since when does a successful organization quit after stumbling? If it didn’t work, figure out why, address the legacy issues, and try again and again until you succeed. Minorities are successfully promoted every day. So you’ve got to look at who you promoted and why it didn’t work. Were there cultural issues? Address them through training. Was there a mismatch between job and skills? A problem with fit? Maybe the problem lies at the roots of your diversity program — maybe you are not trying hard enough to find the right candidates, and are “settling” because you have bought the excuse that “you just can’t find any.”

“We did diversity training and nothing happened.” Diversity training will help create an environment that is welcoming to diversity, but it won’t drive numbers. You must give your hiring managers the tools to effect change. The key to driving diversity numbers is to recruit large numbers of highly qualified diversity candidates. Training without a strong recruiting program is like buying a great new lawn mower without gas — it goes nowhere.

“We don’t have the time or resources to train a bunch of new people.” There is a myth out there that diversity candidates are less educated and less experienced than majority candidates, and so will require costly training. This is complete nonsense, and goes back again to that weak “I can’t find any” excuse. If you take the time to hire qualified diversity candidates, you will spend no more resources training them than on anyone else.

Once you’ve stripped away your disabling excuses, you’ll be ready to move on to building a productive, successful diversity recruiting program, and growing your business.

From the book Without Excuses: Unleash the Power of Diversity to Build Your Business by Joe Watson. © 2006 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.