Leadership for Life – Balance

By on February 15, 2013
Diversifying Your Workforce

Our Leadership experts will be sharing tips and insights for everyone, at any station in life, at both home and work. Leadership for Life – the skills you embrace represent who you really are at all times.

Great leaders understand that balance is a key element of nearly every organizational initiative or function. Balance helps us ensure that we are covering all our bases, and that we have contingency plans in place for when things don’t go as planned.

When a leader puts together a workplace team, balance is a necessary part of the selection process. Do we have the right mix of skills and experience? Have we included people from the relevant parts of the organization? Do we have the right mix of backgrounds and cultures in the group? In other words, have we learned anything in that diversity workshop everyone had to participate in last year?

At last count there were 2,209* reasons why executive committees and boards in the U.S were comprised primarily (more than 80%) of white men. One of the reasons (excuses) for this is that there aren’t enough (name a minority) with the necessary skills to fill the position. Really? Where are we looking? If we keep looking in the same places, we’re going to find the same people.

Let’s say you wanted to hire more African-American people to work in your bank, but your recruiters tell you that only 3 out of 112 applicants were both African-American and qualified for the job. Do you say, “Oh well, at least we tried?” Great leaders say, “Where have you been looking?” In St. Louis, for instance, we have the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (www.stltoday.com) as our main newspaper. But if you want to reach more African American readers, what about advertising in the St. Louis American (www.stlamerican.com), the St. Louis Argus (argusstl.com), or the St. Louis Sentinel – which are read by a largely African American audience?

Looking for more Latinos? Try getting in touch with your local Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (In St. Louis: www.hccstl.com) or a Spanish language newspaper (In St. Louis: Red Latina; www.redlatinastl.com).

There are organizations, websites and publications that cater to nearly every minority group in your area, and many of them carry employment ads. In the St. Louis area, in addition to the publications already mentioned, we have the Korean-American Journal, Sabah (Bosnian: www.sabausa.com), and the St. Louis Chinese American News (www.scanews.com). With a little research, you could probably find other ethnic publications and organizations that would be interested in collaborating with your recruiting efforts.

The bottom line is that if you’re serious about diversifying your workforce and your leadership pipeline, using the same old tired recruiting methods won’t help. You need to recruit in places where the minorities congregate, and you need to be prepared to make a case for why they should be interested in working for you.

Want more help in developing a minority recruiting plan? Call me at 314-539-5329.

* Well of course I made that up. What’s the difference? If there were some way of actually counting the excuses, and the number was “only” 23, or 12, or 7, would that make it better?

About Barry Schapiro

Barry is the Workforce Solutions Group Practice Leader for Leadership and Professional Development. His experience includes delivery and management of business training in a variety of industries, with specialties in leadership, team development, generational diversity, and customer service. Twitter

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