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Diversity Recruitment: ’Many TA leaders just don’t know where to start’

As 2020 comes to a close, diversity recruitment is increasingly a top priority among CEO’s. To help teams on their way, SmartRecruiters has launched an initial list with diversity specialists. “Despite all the efforts currently being made everywhere, there is still quite a bit of terrain to be won”, says Rocki Howard, the company’s newly-appointed Chief Diversity Officer.

Jasper Spanjaart on December 14, 2020 Average reading time: 3 min
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Diversity Recruitment: ’Many TA leaders just don’t know where to start’

For a few years now, SmartRecruiters has had categories for companies to use in their quest to track down recruitment apps and services most applicable to them. Whether it’s job boards, sourcing or onboarding — with the click of a button, organisations could find the app or service they required. As of December 2020, a new category has been added to that list — and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Now, ‘diversity’ is among its categories. 

“95% indicate that diversity recruitment is a top priority for their CEO as we head into 2021.”

“We recently polled a group of our clients and 95% indicate that diversity recruitment is a top priority for their CEO as we head into 2021”, Howard, who was named SmartRecruiters’ Chief Diversity Officer in November, comments via e-mail. While statements were made aplenty in lieu of the Black Lives Matters movement, real action often takes longer. But even if it takes a few weeks, months, or years — the important part lies in that action is indeed taken. 

A first step

To be a part of the solution, SmartRecruiters accumulated an initial list of diversity experts. “I wish I could take credit for it”, Howard says. “The great news is that Diversity and the intersection of Diversity and Recruiting has been a top priority for SmartRecruiters, prior to me joining the team. These are longstanding relationships we’ve had and we were excited to highlight their contributions to our customer’s diversity recruiter efforts.”

“The great news is that Diversity and the intersection of Diversity and Recruiting has been a top priority for SmartRecruiters, prior to me joining the team.

Currently the company, led by Howard, is meeting with more organisations as they look to enhance their initial list with diversity specialists in Europe, as well as more US-based organisations. “I am researching their value proposition, referencing their outcomes and client satisfaction levels and in some cases, testing their products”, Howard says. “More recommendations will be coming.” 

‘The voice for the underrepresented’

In November, SmartRecruiters hired Howard to serve as the company’s diversity evangelist to transform the recruitment industry. With 20+ years working various roles in the recruitment industry, Howard is a leading voice on all things diversity, equity and inclusion. Through her podcast Grown Woman Life, she is the voice for those who are underrepresented.

“We’re working on the creation of a Diversity Hiring Blueprint: a maturity map and set of tools to support our client’s diversity recruitment initiatives.

“I am so excited to be in my new role”, Howard says. “Aligned with our CEO’s commitment to become an anti racist force in the market, I am currently prioritising four main things. Firstly, the creation of a Diversity Hiring Blueprint: a maturity map and set of tools to support our client’s diversity recruitment initiatives. Secondly, working with our Product Design team to implement diversity related product enhancements. I’ll also be partnering with our Head of People to drive our own diversity hiring goal. And finally: creating a diversity engagement and education plan for our team.”

The 4 main diversity recruitment challenges 

Even though diversity recruitment may rank at or near the very top of CEO’s and executives, Howard reckons there’s still quite a bit of terrain to be won. In all, she sees four challenges that require work. “The first is a lack of awareness and training for managers at all levels on how they impact diversity recruitment initiatives. Then there’s leadership accountability, and committing the resources to actually recruit diversity talent: resource, financial and temporal. And finally: just helping TA leaders to create actionable plans. Many just don’t know where to start.”

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Jasper Spanjaart

Jasper Spanjaart

Writer and editor at ToTalent

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