In response to the death of George Floyd and the continued demand for change in the U.S., many companies have shared plans to address systemic racism within their organizations. In a Trust Barometer Special Report, Edelman discovered that trust in government, media, and NGOs, to drive positive change has waned, leaving heightened expectations on the business community to bring solutions. One of the most complex of these challenges is workforce representation.

Is there really a diverse talent pipeline issue?

While some purport that there are difficulties in identifying and recruiting a qualified slate of diverse candidates, data tells us that there is a supply of good talent which traditional search methods are clearly missing. In addition, U.S. demographics prove there is a strong talent pipeline in development:

  • “Top universities turn out black and Hispanic computer science and computer engineering graduates at twice the rate that leading technology companies hire them," a USA TODAY analysis shows.
  • “Black high schoolers are not the demographic being discriminated against but Black post-secondary graduates are." According to a Kauffman report, "Black professionals who hold master’s degrees has increased by 133 percent and Latinx with master’s degrees has increased to 400 percent from 1980-2016. Although the number of Black and Latinx students are growing, the number of tech jobs held by both demographics are not keeping pace.”
  • “Black Americans comprise 10 percent of U.S. graduates but hold only 4 percent of senior-executive positions, Hispanics and Latinos comprise 8 percent of graduates versus 4 percent of executives, and for Asian Americans, the numbers are 7 percent of graduates versus 5 percent of executives. In the United Kingdom, the disparity is even greater: 22 percent of university students identify as black and minority ethnic, yet only 8 percent of UK executives in our sample do.”

Therefore, forward-thinking organizations recognize the need to rethink antiquated models that prevent them from tapping into top talent from all backgrounds. Because pressure is mounting for business to lead and model inclusivity, it is now a mandate for companies to innovate by adopting new recruiting methods to eliminate racial disparities in the workforce.

Evolve your approach to recruitment, or be left behind

Instead of broadly marketing an organization as an employer of choice, a new way forward is to adopt digital analytics tools and strategies historically reserved for consumer marketing and apply them to your company’s employer brand.

The first step on this path is to use CommsTech—marketing research methods—and apply them to actioning your talent strategy. We’ve identified five areas that drive maximum impact:

  1. Deepen your understanding of today’s talent: Previously viewed as a “nice-to-have,” candidate personas are now integral in providing deep psychographic insights into talent motivators. Personas are powerful, actionable tools that allow you to target diverse talent in a more laser-focused manner.
  2. Ensure your value proposition is inclusive by aligning it to what diverse talent cares about: Including images of multicultural talent on your career website does not a diverse employer brand make. An effective employer brand and employee value proposition (EVP) should not only capture your organization’s unique DNA, it must also resonate deeply with candidates and employees. Today employees and recruits care more than ever about what employers stand for. It’s essential to understand how your employer brand is perceived in order to make it resonate with diverse talent segments. Our performance marketing tools provide foundational employer brand analysis to determine your reputation as an employer including whether you’re known for the right (or wrong) things, how your competitors are attracting diverse talent, and what image you’re currently projecting as a talent brand. Your EVP should help candidates understand the opportunity and the contribution they will be empowered to make within your ranks. Once your employer brand is launched into the marketplace it can be continuously optimized via message and channel testing, just as consumer brands are optimized for efficacy and economy.
  3. Fish in new ponds: A core tenant of consumer-grade marketing is following your target audiences where they engage most often. With limited resources, a reluctance to embrace new channels is understandable, but increasingly we have seen an openness among leaders to explore new methods. A few tactics that can expand your reach and allow you to forge meaningful, authentic relationships with active and passive candidates include:
    • Analyzing paid media programs to identify cost-efficiencies and areas for expansion such as programmatic job ads and “lookalike” audience targeting through social media.
    • Identifying synergies with communications counterparts to secure employer of choice placements in relevant publications.
    • Exploring paid content partnerships through news outlets frequented by your target audiences such as Blavity, The Root or USA Today.
    • Furthering a culture of recruitment by launching an employee advocacy program that empowers your most valuable asset—your people—to share their experiences with prospective talent.
  4. Embrace your inner data nerd: Being an effective recruiter today means being part artist/part scientist. You must marry the magic of storytelling with the power of data. By reconciling your first-party data (channel performance, recruitment metrics, company ratings, etc.), your team can identify areas for improvement, as well as opportunities to supplement third-party labor market data. Before investing, confirm data is “empathetic” in that it is both inclusive of, and analyzed by, a diverse group of individuals.
  5. Tell the stories that matter: What innovative products has your company developed? How are you making a difference in the world? What programs do you have in place to support various communities? Are you discussing the impact of your executives, especially those from underrepresented groups? Storytelling can be a powerful tool that allows candidates of all intersectionalities to see the impact they can make—from day one. Be sure to tailor content for each channel, as context can be as important as the content itself.