The Importance of Setting Proper Diversity Targets

Companies need sound strategies in place to boost diversity. According to a new report from Prais+Barnette, one of the best approaches for companies is to improve the diversity of their leaders’ networks. This means a strategic and measured long-term effort. Let’s take a closer look.

October 19, 2021 – Ask 100 business leaders if they’re comfortable achieving critical goals without a sound strategy in place and you’ll get 100 resounding answers “no.” Yet too often companies and their leaders fail to have proper targets in place when it comes to increasing diversity, according to a report by Prais+Barnette. “It’s an important initiative that, so far, has gotten more in the way of analyzing where we are at the moment vs. thoughtful, creative strategies to do better in the future,” said managing partner David Barnette. “While measuring where we are in terms of diversity in our workforce is an important first step to see how far we need to go, it is not a strategy for how we get there.”

So, the report asks, what will help us get there? Understanding that the diversity-lacking make-up of today’s management teams are largely the result of the fact that 85 percent of roles are filled from within the hiring executive’s personal network (even more for higher level roles). “Even when executives go outside to search firms where they have long-established relationships, the networks of the executive and the search firm can overlap significantly and not be diverse enough to make meaningful progress,” said Mr. Barnette. “Acknowledging that is one of the best actions that we can take to improve diversity. This means a strategic and measured long-term effort to identify, reach out and get to know more diverse people that are either qualified today or on a career track to be qualified in the future for leadership roles in your organization.”

2021 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Recruiting Report:
Building a Balanced and Diverse Workforce

Hunt Scanlon Media’s latest market intelligence recruiting report – this time focused on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – will be available later this fall! The nation’s top executive recruiters are resetting expectations and looking for new ways forward to build balanced and diverse workforce teams for their clients.

According to executive recruiters, DE&I should not just be a priority, but an integrated part of every company’s leadership goals. Some companies have even tied DE&I metrics to executive compensation. But it’s more than that.

Part of building strong, diverse hiring teams means asking yourself: “Who is my company culture going to attract – and how will it engage people who are here?” This question can be very difficult to answer if you assume everyone feels welcome already just because you do. Fostering diversity, equity and inclusion within organizations is more than just the right ethical decision. “It is one of the best business decisions a company can make,” said Keri Gavin, a partner with Hanold Associates and leader of the search firm’s Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion practice. Hanold Associates is a proud sponsor of this year’s report. This report will help organizations prioritize DE&I as a business imperative that drives greater competitiveness, innovation and business results. Get it now! 

“The key takeaway here is that this effort should be initiated today in order to have a more diverse network of qualified candidates in the pipeline for key leadership roles a few months or more in the future,” Mr. Barnette said. There are numerous ways to diversify your business network, according to Mr. Barnette, including connecting and starting conversations on LinkedIn that lead to calls or meetings and even finding people who have more diverse circles than you and leveraging them for introductions and referrals in the future.

As history has shown, every organization is reflective and as diverse as the networks of the executives within them. “And while there are numerous areas to work to address lack of diversity, the most organic, authentic one is simply taking the time to get to know a more diverse range of people doing the type of work your company does,” he said. “Our goal as executive recruiters is to plan and execute thoughtful diversity networking initiatives for our clients to increase their chances of success in achieving diversity targets.”

Related: Recruiters Up Their Game in Diversity

Veteran Consultants

Prais+Barnette works proactively with diverse executives, leaders and influencers who are passionate about increasing workplace diversity to help the firm build broad referral networks across functions and industries. Top diverse prospects can be introduced to key company leaders for networking 30 to 60 days in advance of an opportunity posting.

Mr. Barnette is a managing partner of Prais+Barnette and has over 20 years of experience as an operating executive focusing on omnichannel sales and marketing, digital transformation, and product development. Since making the shift to talent acquisition in 2017, he has led technology practices at Korn Ferry and August Leadership.

Sonia Prais is a managing partner of Prais+Barnette and has spent more than 30 years in executive search. She works globally with start-ups, iconic heritage brands, and pure-plays in fashion, retail, beauty, and lifestyle. She works with her clients across functions and levels within their business, consulting on internal organizational structure, succession planning, global relocation of best-in-class talent, and capital raises.

Related: To Improve Diversity, Recruiting Sector Must Set a New Course

 Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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