Spotlight: The Importance of Having a Diverse Workforce

November 15, 2022 – Founded in 1998 by Tom and Paula Christopher (former HR executives with GE, Pepsi, Progressive
Insurance, and Citigroup), The Christopher Group is a leading boutique HR executive search
and staffing solutions firms. The firm is staffed by former HR professionals and trained search practitioners who use proprietary, scientific, and industry-leading systems, tools, and processes. The firm has offices in Willoughby, OH; Sarasota, FL; and Kansas City, MO.

Ms. Noble is president of the HR consulting services division unit as well as practice leader for the firm’s expanding diversity, equity, inclusion, and engagement practice. She joined The Christopher Group leadership team as chief human resources officer and managing partner last year. She has over 25 years of comprehensive
human resources leadership to the firm. “I have had the privilege of knowing Pam for over 20 years,” said Mr. Christopher. “She is one of the finest and most capable HR executives nationwide. Additionally, her expertise in the areas of culture, change management, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and executive coaching is truly outstanding. Finally, she is a true servant leader.”

Ms. Noble recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss how companies can go about diversifying their staffs and how search consultants can help.

Have companies been living up to their promises about diversity hiring from the summer of 2020?
I would have to say both yes and no. The companies living up to their promises are intentionally focused on building a talent acquisition pipeline that is strategic and intentional. By intentional, I mean they look for candidates where they are. By broadening the pool they fish from, they are purposefully looking beyond where they typically find candidates. Further, companies that do this will ensure their culture is inclusive and intentional about diverse employee development.

What kind of challenges do you face in finding diverse talent?
I wouldn’t call it a challenge. It is about broadening our lens to find candidates outside our current recruiting channels. It means being intentional with building relationships and understanding the diverse needs as people grow in their careers. The companies that identify diverse talent, develop, and provide them with broader opportunities, by extension, decrease their recruitment challenges. Everyone wants to belong when you see others that look like you – it reassures candidates.

What can businesses do to better retain women and people of color?
Businesses that retain women and people of color listen to them once they enter their doors. They create a welcoming environment, listen to their needs, and meet them where they are, not where the company is.

How important is top leadership in driving diversity and inclusion?
It is essential. Leadership needs to model the behavior and be comfortable with being uncomfortable. They need to talk about differences and be culturally and interculturally agile. Senior leaders also need to be strong allies, making space to allow people to thrive and be inclusive of other thoughts, ideas, and ways of doing things.

Is AI a help – some say it can be a hindrance – in diversity hiring?
AI could be helpful if appropriately designed and targeted. For example, as AI develops, they emphasize an individual’s similar experience and competencies, not job titles.

Any final thoughts on the importance of diversity?
“We believe companies are recognizing the importance of HR and the thought leadership that HR brings in dealing with complex issues around safety, engaging in a remote workplace, and creating an environment where diversity can thrive. Creating a sense of belonging and engagement is becoming more challenging in a distributed work environment.

Are there any searches you are currently involved with that you would like to share?
We are at the end stages of the director of talent and inclusion for SRAM, one of the world’s largest suppliers of components to the bike industry. This is the perfect opportunity to work for a rapidly growing, privately held company that is working to round out their human resource leadership team. SRAM is not only very employee focused, but they are concerned about the environment and are also striving to broaden the biking industry to people from all spectrums of life.

Any completed ones that you would like to share?
Earlier this year, I assisted in the recruitment of Don Carter as the new executive vice president of people and places at Kiva, an online lending platform. They wanted their stakeholders to really play a leading role in the selection of their next EVP of people and places, and they placed a meaningful premium on DE&I capabilities, global experience and empathy. Given their highly global composition empathy was at the forefront of their needs, they wanted someone who truly connected with the Kiva mission and values.

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