Diversity and Inclusion was not my intended path. It was something that I knew very well at the ground-level being most often the only black woman in the companies, departments, and teams I worked for. Nonetheless, it wasn’t my focus to be a diversity and inclusion professional in the way that some may choose it as a field now. My work in HR brought us together. Whether it was the first D&I training I had in my first job where I spent three hours picking stereotypes out of a hat and affixing them under posterboards labeled “Black” “Hispanic” “Asian” or my long-stretch working for federal contractors who saw diversity as a burden rather than an opportunity; it is safe to say that I should have seen that the course was being set for me to have an impact in this arena.
I had an impact ( and the journey continues). I saw the wayward relationship Talent Acquisition and HR as a whole had with Diversity. The annoyance of bosses of mine when asked about their hiring practices. They never had logical justifications for why they didn’t have a more diverse slate of candidates for jobs and I learned in the long run that they simply didn’t care. Watching the awkwardness of these relations and the contention at meetings, I often offered myself as the lone soldier that would either solely champion diversity efforts inside and out of the company or I became the one ally that Diversity had from Talent Acquisition. I went on to do some good work (never enough in my opinion). I became a regular face with local organizations that served the differently-abled population. I helped to train their people and even created some unique opportunities for internships and regularly paid positions for a few. I spent hours and hours for years combing through curriculum and tailoring it to what the market demanded to help my community organizations best empower their students. I fought for At-Risk Youth and got some of the most diligent and bright young men to work in fields they could never have dreamed of. It was good. I was doing good. That was until I realized that very few cared as much as I did about these people. I saw people. My employers saw these people as “good faith efforts”. Do you see the disconnect?
The Struggle is Real
You know you are in bad shape when you are working for a differently-abled person who doesn’t see the necessity in making a way for other differently-abled people. Add the red-tape of getting budget to move some of my programs ahead, even when I identified state funds that wouldn’t need to put a dent in anyone’s operational budget; the times that white people with no qualifications for the jobs they were being recommended for were dropped on my desk to execute an interview process and sometimes a hire. Perhaps you can start to get a glimpse of where my relationship with diversity went wrong. For whatever reason, there are companies that believe that putting a person of color or a differently-abled person in a diversity role means instantaneous success. Judging by the comments of Apple’s VP of Diversity (who has since apologized for said commentary), that is simply not true. In fact, it has been my experience that often times being a woman of color in diversity is a struggle. I remember being extremely excited to work with the African-American women who held diversity roles at two of my last jobs. In every instance, they all disappointed me and on some level, it wasn’t their fault.
You see, you can’t be a Black person or Latino person and start closing the gap for your own people in a substantial way. This is the trickery and illusion of diversity. Let me be clear, you cannot intentionally and substantially close the gap of employment, upward mobility and all of the other socio-economic factors where Blacks, Latinos, and even Asians are adversely-impacted. Even if all of the numbers around hiring, workforce census, metrics around people of color ascending to leadership or the lack thereof all align and express that there is a problem; in many companies, this will be regarded as you are hiring more Blacks, Latinos or Asians because they are your people. Instead, you have to speak about “diversity for all” white, blue-eyed men included with specific “initiatives” earmarked to attract more diverse groups.
Keep in mind we had a biracial, (but regarded as a black mostly) in President Barack Obama. If he articulated the disparities faced by diverse groups of people — supported by data and then went forward with closing those gaps ( and he did this to the best of his ability), he would be seen as being a president for serving individual interests. In other words, he would be somehow pegged as being discriminatory for eliminating barriers for people who really need it. This was the real and actual reality of his presidency. The same rings true for people of color in diversity and inclusion. Unless we are addressing the whole we can’t have programs for the select few who truly need our efforts and our help.
You may be wondering: Why is it like this? I have an answer for you. Diversity & Inclusion is the American Red Cross of Racism and all other “isms”. Companies have decided that it looks good to be taking an action or actions towards diversity and inclusion except many of us know that there is no real change to the plight of people of color or any other marginalized group being made. It looks nice. It makes the company look attractive to say “they value diversity and inclusion”, but in practice, many do not practice what they preach. It is the reason why Unilever who is the parent company of Dove can be a part of a myriad of diversity-related coalitions and alliances and still have Dove be tone deaf enough to release their recent ad that simulates a white woman removing dirt from her body as a result of using their product that really ends up being a black woman.
Diversity & Inclusion is like getting a band-aid after you get bruised or wounded and suddenly someone says you have healed no need for that band-aid anymore and they rip it off without concern for your pain. So, I have asked myself what does it all matter in the end? If we are going to continue the diversity & inclusion dialogue, conferences and summits all highlighting the star-students of the bunch while being thoroughly-oblivious to how that doesn’t nearly speak to the other 80-90% of companies who couldn’t care less or care, but play helpless, or do just enough to ensure that they don’t jeopardize contracts or possible litigation — ask yourself what good is it all doing?
This my friends is the truth about diversity and inclusion. It stinks. It needs an overhaul and/or dismantling and it is virtually useless if the practitioners who touch it on a day-to-day basis don’t care about the only thing that matters in all of this and that is humans.
I will keep up the good fight, but I prefer to fight for people over lofty concepts like diversity and inclusion.
I have been doing deeper dives on this topic on my weekly livestream show “Ask Czarina Live” if you are interested, feel free to watch the replays here.
Yesterday was my 6th year blogiversary for this here blog. I am eternally thankful for the ride I have had to date with this blog. After 10+years of living HR day-to-day (6 of which I have spent writing about it too) — you have many a-ha moments.
This blog has spawned a business, speaking engagements, brand partnerships and more. I created this blog as a safe space for me to reconcile the things I was experiencing as an HR practitioner who struggled between being human and being in HR. I’ll explain more about that later. Ultimately, the more opportunities I garner to step outside of the traditional HR box the more I see both the potential and disarray of HR as a discipline. Both warrant our attention separately and collectively.
As such, I have decided to share 6 HR or more specifically business epiphanies with the lens of HR for my fellow practitioners to sink their teeth into.
Here we go…
1) One of the reasons that I struggled to find sustained success in my HR positions was I was always striving to be more “human” in Human Resources. That should not be an oxymoron, but judging by discussions I have had with friends who are practitioners as well as attendees of my workshops — there is almost always a moment or moments in which we all as practitioners need to yield more heart than head; less policy and more practicality. No HR practitioner should be working in HR feeling like they are at constant odds between their HR duties within their respective organizations and their own morals, values, and well-being. This needs to stop.
2) Change is happening quickly. Innovation is the new buzzword we all love to hate. That aside, I’m not sure that we are moving quite as quickly towards innovation in our own discipline as we should. If we are the core or the heart of the organization, how well can the rest of the moving parts operate with a slow or non-existent “heartbeat”? Ponder that for a moment.
3) On innovation, we can not afford to have change happen to us, we must initiate and lead from where we sit. Forget “seats at tables” and our usual bouts of being “strategic”. When was the last time we shifted or pivoted for the sake of being a better industry without first being beat down in some doom and gloom article or being coerced by other elements outside of our sphere of influence? Don’t get me wrong, we are very much guided by what happens in our individual organizations and must keep an eye to that, but it is safe to say that we should have many ideas about how HR can be done better and be actively seeking to implement or experiment with them.
4) The truth hurts. That is if you are brave and bold enough you have to realize that speaking truths outside of the normal realms of compliance, strategy, and protocol will rub people the wrong way or they will pretend to not understand. I’d like to believe we have gotten smarter as a species, so it is a little hard for me to believe that people can’t or won’t admit to some of the harder truths working against us like: Why does Diversity & Inclusion exist? Is it because it is necessary for having a sustainable business or is it because there are systems beyond the scope of business and HR designed to marginalize groups of people who are now being “managed” and given “opportunities” under the guise of D&I? I’ll let that marinate.
5) For HR practitioners and HR Influencers alike, if you don’t have a zeal for improving lives, society, businesses — get out! There is a space for you in this world. You owe it to yourself to find it as there is a vast labor market of opportunity calling you to find your true passion and purpose and/or a tiki torch, but I’ll save that discussion for a different day. I have had my fill of HR practitioners who have fallen and bumped their heads on HR and do it with hate and disdain for the industry. As for the “influencers”, many are great, just as many exist to blow hot air about how terrible we are as a discipline while collecting checks from said discipline. There’s a difference between “tough love” and “snark for snarks-sake”. Know the difference. Evaluate yourself and if all outlined here is applicable– get out! As the saying goes, we can do bad all by ourselves.
6) Lastly, there is still hope for our discipline despite the calls for its obliteration. It’s called imagination, creativity, and humility. These three things are the foundation for what HR needs to be in the present and in the foreseeable future. These three approaches to HR and business are not to be seen as scary but are meant to excite, inspire and galvanize those of you who are ready and willing to face societal ills, digital transformation, and rapid growth head-on. The future is exciting and so is the work we have ahead of us.
So there you have it, my epiphanies on HR 6 years into blogging. I hope it sparks conversation, makes you think, and promotes change. After all, the initial intention of The Aristocracy of HR was to raise the standard of HR while always asking ourselves the hard questions about how and why we do what we do.
Thank you for reading, supporting and inspiring me through the years.
Janine a.k.a. Your “CzarinaofHR”
Image courtesy of Assess Hub.
In an increasingly mobile world, many businesses are beginning to shift towards more effective execution within their HR departments. Implementing video into the process of recruitment not only provides an integral solution for businesses, it expands their reach when it comes to attracting the best talent.
Make full use of available resources
In 2016, 63% of organizations were using video in their recruitment processes and the use of such a tool facilitates the process of hiring new talent as well as largely affects the way companies engage with the most talented candidates and potentially even tapping into new global markets and an unlimited talent pool that may have previously been inaccessible.
This effectively means companies achieve global reach while cutting down recruitment costs, particularly beneficial for start-ups and smaller institutions.
- Using video for interviews
Using video as an interview tool allows international businesses and start-ups alike, to connect with candidates conveniently, even regardless of location, assessing their abilities efficiently and cutting down the time required to schedule and conduct interviews in person in half. With video interview technology comes the great freedom of connecting with new candidates and getting them excited about your company through the use of video resources.
- Use Video to Leverage Communication
Numbers show that recruiters who use video as a one-way or two-way interview tool can screen candidates rapidly, thus elevating their rate of success over the span of the recruiting process as opposed to the hours HR departments spend screening candidates’ resumes and conducting initial phone interviews. Specifically, with live video interviews, you can enable the candidates to connect with you in real time and most importantly, at a time that suits your busy schedule while benefiting from the crucial aspect of face-to-face interaction with each participant. Many applicants apply on their mobile devices which shows that more and more job seekers search beyond traditional websites. Thus, video is where your company can gain a mobile edge and proves an innovative add-on in the recruiting process for the best available talent even if you attract them on the go.
- Market Your Business more effectively
Digital advances have made for a generation of young professionals who were bred to respond to visuals. Many companies are already using video to attract the right candidates with the advantage that videos are a shareable tool that can be creatively integrated within various social media platforms. Recruiting-focused videos are increasingly popular and can benefit your business or start-up greatly if you feature existing employees’ testimonials, reflect aspects and put across your unique message about the working culture within your company. You can go as far as enhancing job advertisements on your career website with targeted videos, showcasing the specific job function advertised to add a personalized touch and ultimately enhance the way candidates engage with your organization.
- Showcase Opportunities
Use video to advertise new openings within your company but do not limit the use of this versatile tool to just that; – rather, showcase the human aspect and culture of your organization, even go as far as creating interactive office tour video, to inspire candidates and take the hiring process to the next level.
- Stay Current During and After the Hiring Process
You can use video to replace automated response emails that will reach applicants and make you stand out from the rest or use this tool throughout the hiring process to highlight important aspects of the candidate, such as what to expect in the different stages of recruitment or elaborate on your company’s processes and values. This is a proactive way to continue communication even after you have hired a candidate by creating customized videos and greatly speeding up the process of training for each individual new employee.
Can you think of any other options to use video in your recruitment process? Please share with us in the comments.
Image courtesy of Assess Hub.
Vishal has over 12 years’ experience working across industries, planning and implementing business growth strategies in the digital space. Equipped with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Department of Management Studies (Pune University), his present association with AssessHub is about contributing to thoughts and sharing key insights on improving the Human Resources function and sharing ideas about the same which he shares through the AssessHub Blog.
Campaign/FTC disclosure: This is a sponsored guest post. I will receive compensation for this post. I only work with companies I feel have great products, services, and offerings. In accordance with my blog disclosure statement, I will only work with and showcase products, thought leadership, events and/or companies I believe my readers will benefit from. I am not formally employed by Recruitee. All thoughts and viewpoints are created and written by Perry Oostdam of Recruitee. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Image courtesy of Recruitee
What works for one company may not work for another. This goes for the budget, policies, and recruitment software! With the abundance of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) available, it’s worth it to shop around and get the best fit for your specific needs. There are comparison tools that are handy, like Capterra’s list of the best ATS. Side-by-side features and ratings are a great research tool! However, it may seem like a daunting task to sift through the options if you don’t know what you are looking for. Read on to find out the questions you need to be answering in order to determine the right ATS.
1—Is it user-friendly?
Collaboration in the hiring process is crucial. Decide with your whole team if an ATS will work for your particular situation. You must find one that even the least tech-savvy of employees can use and interact with! This will increase the level of inclusion and employee engagement, as well as the quality of hires. It’s a win-win situation.
How to find the answer:
Pin down what it means to your team to be user-friendly. A great place to start is a resource or article that explains how and why recruitment software can benefit teams when it’s easy to navigate and use. When listing these requirements out, remember to include criteria that benefit both a) the users and b) the potential applicants. Here are some quick ideas to give you and your team some inspiration:
- Simple application process with no redundancy
- Application form can be completed on mobile
- Sourcing extension for auto-fill of candidate data
- Email inbox right in the platform
- Live support
2—Is it mobile optimized? (Bonus if it has an associated mobile app!)
In the first question’s details, I mentioned mobile application forms as a possible must-have. This isn’t something to take lightly! Even if you don’t tangibly see the results of your mobile-optimized application form, candidates and your hiring results will thank you for it. A whopping 78% of job seekers reported that they would apply for a position via a mobile device. This is a huge chunk of your talent pool! Some applicants will bypass applying for a job if it can’t be completed when they are viewing it on their mobile device. Why miss out on top talent this way?
Speaking of missing out, the hiring arena is fast-paced. You don’t want to lose a potentially great fit for your company because you are out of the office. I’m not saying stay connected 24/7. However, your team will benefit from an ATS app that allows custom notifications. This way, your ATS is essentially in your pocket, allowing you to pick up on important, time-sensitive opportunities. Candidates will appreciate the responsiveness, and your competitors will be left wondering how you nabbed top talent so quickly!
How to find the answer: Test it out on your phone! Does the application form hold up on a mobile device? Also, go to the app store and see if there is an associated app with the ATS at hand. Download it, and try it for yourself.
3—Is it customizable?
Not only should notifications from your ATS be customized, but the whole platform should be able to be tweaked to fit your exact needs. Extra features that aren’t necessary just waste space and junk up the interface. Find an ATS that is intuitive and allows for customization. This will not only benefit your hiring workflow, but it will improve the candidate experience.
For instance, mass emails can appear cold and impersonal. When you are already dealing with a sensitive situation such as rejection of a candidate, this can leave them feeling jaded, confused, and, worst of all, ready to retaliate. The candidate experience can have a large impact on employer brand and the way your company is perceived. Tweaking bits of the hiring process to show candidates that you care will work wonders.
How to find the answer: Look for options to customize your workflow, from interview setups to team management. Furthermore, look for the ability to personalize candidate interaction, such as emails with placeholders.
4—Does it track recruitment data?
With the pressures of recruitment to-do lists, analysis sometimes gets pushed to the backburner. However, constant optimizations can result in a genius hiring process! It’s worth it to track the right data and analyze your findings. Practical application throughout different stages of your company’s lifetime will get you better hires in less time. Not only do companies differ in their hiring needs, but hiring needs change and fluctuate as an individual organization ebbs and flows.
How to find the answer: If you think you don’t have time to track data and/or don’t know what metrics to include, find an ATS that offers data tracking and automated reports!
5—Is your data secure on the platform?
Recruitment software is making the right move: to the cloud. ATS, in particular, are best when cloud-based. This keeps sensitive candidate and user information safe and secure from hackers, viruses, and the like. Think of the cloud as an intangible file cabinet that doesn’t run the risk of catching fire, losing documents, or being broken into! Pick an ATS that has proper security procedures in place.
How to find the answer: Make sure your ATS is outside of the jurisdiction of the Patriot Act. Cloud-based software can be used globally. Additionally, in the terms and conditions, look for adherence to security protocols.
Ask these questions, but play around with them to ensure that they are right for your company. What works for a similar company may be way off when it comes to your needs! Sit down with your team and decide the make-or-break features that will fill in the gaps where your recruitment is lacking. Try out the free trials of a few ATS and use your experiences to make an informed decision. Your hires will be better for it.
Image courtesy of Recruitee
Perry Oostdam is the co-founder and CEO of Recruitee, a collaborative hiring platform for teams of all sizes. Recruitee helps optimize the entire hiring process, from candidate relationship management, employer branding, and job posting to candidate sourcing and applicant tracking. The company has offices in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Poznań, Poland and works with companies around the world.
For more information on Recruitee and its features email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image courtesy of Flickr.
A little over a month ago, I traveled to Queens to go pick up my 10th wedding anniversary cake from a family friend. To give you some context, I live in Long Island, NY (the forgotten borough, unless you talk The Hamptons) so anytime I want food or goods related to my West-Indian culture (and this cake was a West-Indian cake) I go to Queens or Brooklyn usually. Since I am approximately an hour and 15 minutes from Queens I try to maximize my trips by ensuring I get all the West-Indian goodies I want before returning home. This day, I did just that and went to my favorite Singh’s Roti Shop in Ozone Park to get my roti, doubles, pholourie and the like. The line in Singh’s on a Saturday is usually long but is made more pleasant by the people watching, aromatic scents and beautiful Soca and Calypso music playing while you wait.
I found something more at Singh’s this day and it involved a woman standing behind me on line. I remember turning and smiling at her and she asked me: “If the line here is always this long?” I replied: “Yes, always!” She then went on to ask me if I was a Trinidadian and I said: “Yes, with a mix of Guyanese too”. She proceeded to tell me that she was so hungry as she has been working as a live-in aide to an elderly woman in Upstate New York and the family does not so much as grant her but 15 minutes to go and procure food for herself.
She went on to share with me the deplorable way in which the family treated her patient. She also shared that she told them she had some affairs to take care of so she got two days off. She took two trains and a bus by memory to get to Singh’s as it was the only place she remembered having food that would nourish her and make her feel a little like she was back in Trinidad.
I asked her why she stays if she doesn’t like the way she is being treated? She mentioned that she was working to put her kids through school. On the brighter side, she was going on an interview for a new patient the next day with a family she felt more aligned with. I told her I would pray for her that her interview went well.
I was then called up to place my order, so I said a quick goodbye. As I waited for them to package my order, I watched her with sadness thinking she was carrying the weight of her space in the world on her shoulders (and it showed). She reminded me of any number of my aunts. As I paid for my food, I went over to her and told her she is a strong woman and I wished her well with a parting hug.
As much as our encounter uplifted me –it also made me angry that she was being used and abused for cheap labor by an American family because they can and more importantly, because her labor and toil are convenient for their lifestyles.
In a time where the discussion of undocumented immigrants is so contentious, it is unfathomable to me that we have such hypocrisy at play where this issue is concerned. Essentially, our position is we don’t want you illegal and undocumented people here; except for in instances where you present a cheaper option that makes our lives simpler. I wonder if it has ever occurred to the lower half of the economic scale that their prized 1% white male and women counterparts are to blame for the undocumented numbers in the U.S.? I am here to shed some light.
Your prized 1 percenters are the ones who actively seek out women like this woman I spoke with to be wet nurses, doulas, companions and live-in nannies at a much lower margin than what any U.S.-based nanny would charge. I know because some of my own family members have had flights, housing, cell phones, wages and expenses paid for them to come here from abroad and do this work.
To further back what I already know to be true, I dug up some statistics from Pew Research Center. Here are some things you should know about undocumented immigrants and their impact on our workforce:
- In 2015, there were 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. This number has been mostly unchanged given estimates made for 2009 – 2016 since there was a smaller sample size and a large margin of error in the numbers. According to this same study, unauthorized immigrants peaked in 2007 at 12.2 million a whopping 4% of the U.S. population. So much for undocumented immigrants taking over the U.S. and all of the “good” jobs.
- Surprise…surprise! Mexicans are not among the majority of undocumented immigrants. Statistics from the same Pew Research Center study, suggest that from 2009 – 2016, the bulk of undocumented immigrants are coming from Asia and Central America countries outside of Mexico. I guess an Asian influx isn’t a problem, but let us also not forget their particular knowledge, skills, and abilities also facilitate our culture of convenience.
- The U.S. Civilian Workforce includes 8 million undocumented immigrants accounting for 5% of those who were either working, unemployed or looking for work. How can undocumented immigrants be so unwanted and at the same time so assimilated into our workforce? More convenience and hypocrisy.
There are many moving parts to this discussion. My annoyance with it all is that our economy, businesses, and lives run on immigration. Yet, we dehumanize these people, throw around propaganda about banishing them and still when it suits us we hire them to do the work that no one else is willing to do. As HR professionals, we have to be just as willing to talk about how we improve societal conditions as we are to talk about the latest best practices to improve company culture. We also have to recognize that while our obligations are to the organizations we serve, we are on some level tied back to the overall perverted web of labor that exists here in the U.S.
We must seek the truth. Protect the truth and recognize when our ideals and practices are dissonant. I hope this helps.
To read the full article with statistics from The Pew Research Center study click here.