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How To Showcase Your Expertise In Diversity & Inclusion For Executive Search

Thaddeus Andres - November 7, 2019
Diversity has been a topic of discussion for nearly 30 years. In the 1980s, Diversity became a popular theme and focus in movies and TV storylines, and perhaps this theme is why there has been a new-found resurgence for 80’s popular culture. Up until the last five years Diversity had taken a relatively passive role in the workplace for building a corporate culture of inclusion, trust and respect. However as new generations of talent begin to rise up from managerial roles and into Director level positions and above, Diversity and Inclusion has become a pivotal business best practice and focal point for attracting and retaining key talent.

As awareness, support, and achievements surrounding Diversity and Inclusion initiatives continue to grow and become a more standard practice across industries, organizations will be looking to drastically transform their senior leadership teams, boards, and corporate cultures. To do this, companies are seeking out and onboarding new leadership dedicated to addressing and managing Diversity and Inclusion as its own strategic initiative. The roles of Chief Diversity Officer and Head Of Diversity & Inclusion have traditionally fallen under the HR function but, over the last several years, have risen to new heights for cultivating and encouraging diverse thinking, championing awareness and driving collaboration across the entire organization. The Chief Diversity Officer and Head Of Diversity & Inclusion are responsible for curtailing unconscious bias, advocating for diversity and offering more support to historically underrepresented talent groups within an organization.

Showing Diversity & Inclusion Experience Through Data And Reporting

Diversity and Inclusion are key drivers for innovation and are quickly encroaching upon every aspect of a business when it comes to the decision making process. In particular, Diversity and inclusion is impacting a company’s decision to select and partner with external vendors and professional services firms, and there is no exception when it comes to executive search firms that advise and bridge the talent gap between a company and its human capital strategy. In order to remain competitive, executive search firms must be prepared to meet this growing demand for Diversity and Inclusion by demonstrating their experience with diversity placements, talent pools, candidate engagement and leading by example with their own internal cultural and diversity initiatives.

Search firms can demonstrate their experience with diversity appointments and talent pools in several ways. By leveraging search data surrounding diversity placements and candidates, executive search firms can track, analyze, and report on all completed searches that resulted in a diversity placement or specific diversity functions they have worked on in the past. While diversity is a relative term when considering a candidate’s profile, the search mandate, and company demographics, diversity can still be qualified through many different categories beyond the baseline benchmarks of gender and ethnicity. Diversity categories can include any of the following:
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity / Race
  • Nationality
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Veteran Status
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Socioeconomic Background
  • Religion
  • International Experience
Executive search firms can leverage all of these categories when analyzing search data to determine whether a placed candidate qualifies as diverse and share these high-level statistics and insights with prospects, clients and candidates. For example, if a search firm analyzes every successful placement made within the last two years they may discover that 38% of candidates placed were in fact diversity appointments.

Search firms track an enormous amount of data on a candidate and diverse categories should be included in this practice as well. Having this data will enable search firms to better use their executive search software and search deeper within internal candidate pools. In order to do this, Diversity categories must be tracked and recorded at the individual level, since diversity is unique to each person and search. By tracking this data, search firms will be able to quickly identify diversity candidates at the beginning of any search based upon these qualifications in just a few clicks. As diversity becomes even more prevalent and permeates the C-Suite, search firms will need the flexibility to update, change, and continue to add to these diversity categories.

Tracking diversity at the individual level also allows for search firms to share key diversity metrics for pitches and winning new business. Search firms should present diversity front and center and incorporate graphs and statistics showing gender, age, or race across their entire talent pool and candidate populations. For example, when a prospective client mentions diversity in a pre-search meeting, a search firm can quickly show that 30% of their candidate pool is under the age of 45; 53% of their candidate pool is female; 12% identify as LGBTQIA+ and 7% are veterans. This data, when properly cataloged at the individual level, can quickly and easily be showcased to prospective clients and position a search firm as an advocate for Diversity and Inclusion.

Diversity And Inclusion Impacts Business Decisions

In addition for companies and clients demanding a more diverse slate of candidates, some clients have begun implementing their own Diversity and Inclusion requirements on the search firms they partner with. For example, some clients are requesting to exclusively work with a female search consultant within a search firm to lead their CEO search, or are interested in working with search firms that specialize in diversity candidates and placements. As stewards of talent acquisition and leadership pipelines, executive search firms must seriously consider and implement initiatives within their own organizations to reflect their commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Search firms that currently lack internal diversity can accommodate for this by implementing their own diversity quotas when presenting candidate slates and challenge their internal teams to diversify their networks, relationships, and perspectives. Search firms can also partner with national diversity organizations, associations, and mentorship programs through speaking engagements, sponsoring events, and hosting workshops. Mentorship, education, and leadership coaching is critical for continuing to drive diversity and inclusion forward. Search firms can easily share their knowledge of talent development, succession, and more with these organizations and associations to groom emerging leaders and build relationships with future diversity candidates.

Diversity and Inclusion will continue to evolve and impact every aspect of a business, especially within the C-suite, and executive search firms must be prepared to meet this demand. By tracking diversity data at the deeper individual level, advocating for diversity and inclusion throughout the entire search process, and proactively engaging with emerging diversity candidates and leaders, search firms will be well equipped to build diverse and inclusive teams and transform organizations.

Clockwork recently launched its Custom Fields module for executive search firms to track, search, and visualize Diversity and Inclusion data for candidates within talent pools. Create, edit, and modify custom diversity fields using single select lists, multi-select lists, or text fields unique to your search firm’s needs. Highlight key Diversity and Inclusion statistics directly with Clients by sharing charts and graphs during a search.

In addition, here are some organizations and associations that advocate and champion Diversity and Inclusion at the senior executive and Board levels:

Topics: Executive Search- Executive Search Software- Product Features

Thaddeus Andres

Thaddeus Andres

With nearly 10 years of experience within executive search and recruitment, Thaddeus has held several marketing roles at various industry associations, networks and companies where he was responsible for implementing, leading and driving key marketing strategies and initiatives.

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