“Have you ever gotten a good paying job or a promotion because of a friend or family member?”  That’s one of the questions we ask at some VCIC programs to explore advantages participants may have had based on social and demographic identities.  But it also speaks to a larger challenge for organizations hoping to recruit and retain a diverse workforce.
A recent post in Harvard Business Reviewdetailed the ways in which relationships are used to help people obtain jobs.  The study found that these relationships mostly benefit candidates who are white.  Whether they are based on social network, family, college affiliation, or some other means of connection, relationship-based hiring most often stayed within racial groupings.  And since the majority of leaders within US corporations are white, so too were the candidates hired based on relationships.
That is not to say that the executives doing the hiring were actively malicious.  Many self-reported great appreciation for diversity and support for equal opportunity hiring.  However, if they were narrowing their applicant pool and selecting candidates based on such subjective categories as fit, personality, and association, they were potentially limiting their hiring by race, class, and other identities.
There are a number of interventions that can prevent such limiting decisions, ranging from intentional relationship building with diverse communities (even when there are no openings), having search committees with a designated person advocating diversity, and having clearly-defined public processes for all searches.
On February 24, VCIC will explore these and other strategies when we teach “Recruiting & Retaining a Diverse Workforce” through Nonprofit Learning Point, an organization that provides high quality, affordable professional and leadership development for the nonprofit community of the greater Richmond region.  Courses are not restricted to nonprofit employees, and varying registration rates are offered based on industry.  Space is still available, so register today!

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