What Should Companies Stop Doing In 2022?
When it comes to recruiting, it's important to learn what your organization should do, but it's also crucial to understand what your organization shouldn't do.Download Full Guide
1. Expecting It All
When it comes to diversity recruiting, you need to rethink your expectations. Where should you start first? Kira Lee Hutson, Strategist at Collective DEI Lab, shares that companies should stop expecting diversity while demanding urgency. She explains, "It's not that your DEI solutions can’t be nimble, but expediency at all costs leaves little room for embracing the nuance that comes with this work. Biases exist to help our brain make mental shortcuts, so to mitigate those biases you need time to build a thoughtful process. A well-paced timeline and proactive planning are always going to be better for DEI than a "we need it yesterday" approach."
Kellie Wagner, Founder & CEO at Collective DEI Lab, also suggests that companies should stop expecting that an infusion of diversity into their workforces will solve all of their problems.
2. Thinking Diversity Hiring Means Lowering The Hiring Bar
Anyone who thinks that diversity hiring means lowering the hiring bar needs a true wake-up call. And Torin Ellis, diversity strategist, and podcast host couldn’t agree more.
He shares that we should stop "accepting the position from hiring managers that diversity is lowering the bar or that the pipeline is lacking." He explains that we need to "force these important people to bring solutions to the problem rather than excuses. This brainstorming and participation will bode well in achieving better outcomes in 2022."
Emily Cardner, Head of People at Viam, brought up the same topic with us on our podcast, Untapped. She explains how frustrated she gets when she hears people say "We would like a more diverse workforce, but we don’t want to lower the hiring bar." She says, "When I hear that, I’m offended." She goes on, "Does hiring more women mean you’re lowering the hiring bar? Because that’s just rude."
Emily offers another way to look at this—extending the bar. She explains, "Let's extend the bar to include more people. It’s not lowering the bar, it's changing what that bar and that landscape is."
3. Tokenizing Your Employees
Employers need to consider how they use their employees for external media content. Sophia Dozier, DEI Consultant, offers her advice, "Stop leveraging your few underrepresented employees to be the spokespeople for your external media content." And if you must, she says these companies should find a way to give back to their employees. She explains, "Being a token employee is not a pleasant experience and oftentimes employees selected will not speak up. It is our job as DEI professionals to be blockers and help marketing and brand think up creative solutions to attract untapped talent, like building out actual inclusive programs."
4. Trying To Go Back To "Normal"
What we once thought was "normal" has gone out of the window. According to DEI consultant, Torin Perez, "The only thing for certain is that we have a new normal." And for good reason. He explains, "The pandemic and racial reckoning over the past two years exposed everything wrong with what "normal" was. Companies and leaders need to embrace the change required to deal with all of the inequities and true people needs that have been brought into the light."
He discusses, "Did working from home throughout the pandemic hurt productivity? No. Did Corporate America have the same openness to addressing systemic racism prior to the murder of George Floyd? No."
What does this mean for organizations? Torin predicts, "Companies that continue to push for the ways things were before will get left behind because today’s talent doesn’t want to go back to that."
5. Being Silent And Not Pushing Back
One thing that 2021 taught us is that being silent and not pushing back didn't do us any good. In fact, it caused more harm. Carta’s Head of Inclusion, Equity, and Impact, Mita Mallick shares the devastating impact this pandemic has had on women. She explains, "In 2021, we have seen women’s participation in the workforce plummet to levels we haven’t seen since the 1980s. We all have a responsibility to help women get back into the workforce."
What does this mean exactly? Mita explains, "This means pushing back when hiring managers are reluctant to interview a woman because she has been out of the workforce for 20 months. This means offering benefits to support working mothers. This means continuing to ensure all women are paid fairly and equitably in our organizations. The fight for gender equality in our workplaces in many ways is restarting; getting women back to work should be a top priority for all of us in 2022."
6. Searching For A 100% Match
There is no such thing as a 100% match when it comes to recruiting. And Zynga Inc's Vice President and Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, Dr. Vijay Pendakur says it’s time to stop searching for that. He reveals, "The data on the future of work indicates that we will all need to reskill frequently going forward, so learning agility is more important than historic mastery of a fixed skill. By expanding the lens to include highly agile, driven learners, companies can potentially recruit people that were excluded historically because they lacked really niche experience that was challenging to get for marginalized group members."
What does he suggest doing instead? He shares, "Rather than asking, 'Have they done this specific thing?', let’s ask, 'What evidence is there that they can learn fast and enjoy learning new things?'"
7. Thinking You Can Out-Hire A Bad Culture
While organizations should be focusing on their diversity hiring initiatives, it’s important to remember that hiring won’t solve everything. Companies need to be intentional with inclusion practices in order to retain their talent. John Graham Jr., VP, Employer Brand, Diversity & Culture at Shaker Recruitment Marketing, explains this in detail stating, "Stop inviting bodies into burning buildings." He discusses the foolish practice of rushing to increase representation at the cost of your attrition numbers and the impact on employer branding, adding, "It does more harm now than ever before because of the hits you're going to take to your employer brand."
The last thing an organization wants is for its employees to feel as if they have been sold something untrue. And that’s exactly what John helps his clients with — making sure their marketing matches the reality of their culture. He says it’s critical to "not sell champagne and roses because once they get there, they're like, wait, this is brown tap water. This isn't champagne."
Instead, he suggests fixing the culture within. He shares, "If we fix the culture, then we could have more brand ambassadors who will then tap their own networks, which we haven’t had access to."
8. Not Budgeting Time and Money For DEI Programming And Support
With any business initiative, there needs to be a budget behind it to excel. The same goes for DEI programming and support. Sophia Dozier shares how important it is to budget for DEI initiatives. She reveals, “Stop going into each business year without a clear line in your budget for DEI programming and support. I have connected with so many DEI professionals over the past few months, who are struggling with obtaining a budget.”
If you are a company that is just starting your DEI journey, she also recommends, “Setting aside a programming budget.” She explains many DEI professionals are experiencing a lack of budget when they enter new roles, stating, “They are taking roles at companies that are getting started with DEI, but then don’t have the budget to support key programs. What ends up happening is your DEI leader becomes a sitting duck.”
And beyond that, Lakuan Smith, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager at Justworks, hopes that companies will stop not paying their ERG leaders. He shares at his organization, “We compensate our ERG Leads because we acknowledge the work that goes into being a leader and moving the needles to make our organization a more inclusive place to work.”
9. Performative or Paternalist Initiatives
When it comes to diversity hiring initiatives, you want to make sure your organization doesn’t fall under two types: performative or paternalist. Khalil Smith, Vice President, Inclusion, Diversity, and Engagement at Akamai Technologies, explains that various companies (some unintentionally) have fallen into these categories.
What does performative and paternalist mean? Khalil explains, "Performative initiatives are those that we’re moderately certain won’t have a long-term impact, but they look good at the moment. It’s donating a sum of money that is big enough to grab headlines but doesn’t have institutional support or a plan behind it. Performative initiatives are those that look good, but are relatively certain to achieve very little."
"Paternalistic initiatives are those that suppose that underrepresented groups are that way because they need the help of others, as opposed to viewing those groups as full of talented and motivated individuals who have in many instances been subject to systems that are optimized to minimize their opportunities, voices, and impact. What those groups benefit from are partners who will help rebuild biased systems into better systems."
What should companies do about this? He reveals, "Both should stop. If companies can move away from those two types of initiatives in 2022 and beyond, we are much more likely to see sustained change, in ways that lift the weight of institutionalized bias, instead of simply trading one type of marginalization for another."