The New Business Imperative: Diversity & Inclusion

Glocap Search recently launched a DE&I practice. The firms says it differentiates itself in this growing area by leveraging its pipeline of talent. CEO Annette Krassner discusses why DEI is such an expanding business imperative.

April 29, 2021 – With research proving that companies with more ethnically and culturally diverse teams increase their productivity, reduce turnover and inch up profits, Glocap Search, in response, recently created a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) practice. The recruiting firm joins a chorus of rivals eyeing the DE&I space. “Since 1997, we have been a trusted advisor to many of the best investment management firms and multi-industry partners with our hands-on approach,” said Annette Krassner, CEO of Glocap Search. Six months ago, the firm search created a diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) practice, with a focus on research and data. “In order to be a better partner to our clients, and looking inward at our own firm, we felt it was the right time to launch this important initiative.”

“What sets us apart from other firms who provide diversity, equity and inclusion strategy is that we can also provide the pipeline of talent,” said Adam Zoia, founder of Glocap. “Given that many industries we cover have not yet made great strides with DE&I.”

“If in the future we can look back and say that Glocap played a role in helping our industry become a DE&I leader we will consider it a major milestone,” Mr. Zoia added.

Ms. Krassner joined Glocap as CEO in 2018. She brings over 25 years of experience within the financial services industry working with both small and large organizations. Ms. Krassner  was one of Hedge Fund Journal’s ‘50 Leading Women in Hedge Funds.’ She is also named a Global Angel for 100 Women in Finance.

Ms. Krassner recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss why diversity now matters more than ever in workplaces around the globe. She also shares her perspectives on why diverse talent benefits organizations of every stripe.

Annette Krassner

Annette, why did Glocap decide to start a DE&I practice and how is your approach different?

The biggest difference is that we are not prescriptive in our approach with our clients and so we meet our clients where they are. Glocap has been a boutique recruiting firm in the financial services space for over two decades, and we have always aimed to help our clients recruit top talent. This newly established DE&I practice will take that same approach of meeting our clients where they are, working to truly understand their needs, and helping them to attain sustainable change within their organizations—even if those changes are one step at a time. I think most companies try to apply a very structured plan, or a one-size-fits-all approach that is often impractical at the point of implementation or engagement. This can unfortunately result in premature execution and failure due to lack of readiness.

Why is it important for companies to have a DE&I strategy?

Research has proven that a diverse team results in better performance, growth and profits – it is good for business. The dilemma for companies is always, ‘How can we do this ‘diversity thing’ without negatively affecting our performance?’ The answer is in the data – your company will be more successful with a diverse workforce.

What’s the driver?

Both internal and external pressures are currently driving many organizations to action, if not for social reasons, at a minimum for economic reasons. Many organizations have committed to the advancement of diversity, equity and inclusion within their respective organizations. There is now an expectation that tangible actions will be taken to move the needle and deliver strategies to improve diversity, specifically pertaining to ethnic representation.

And the result?

The good news is that more companies are beginning to see the benefits of having a diverse workforce as good for business and are officially recognizing it as a business imperative. Diverse people bring different perspectives and experiences, they debate and they discuss, and they optimize investment and business decisions because of this diversity. The correlation between diverse teams and profitability is not circumstantial.

Share some of the limitations you see when recruiting diverse talent?

Talent is worldwide. It exists everywhere. But our networks tend to be homogeneous, and therefore if you are simply looking for talent within your own network, you cannot expect to find a lot of diversity. If your recruitment team does not have diversity, it’s very likely your diverse talent selection will be limited within that network. Diverse talent exists if you fish in all the ponds – not just the ones with which you are most comfortable or familiar. Intention and forward thinking are essential to be committed to finding, attracting, and hiring diverse talent.

“Research has proven that a diverse team results in better performance, growth and profits – it is good for business.”

What are some of the hurdles?

Many companies set restrictive qualifications, often out of habit or ease, that typically result in teams who look and think alike, travel in similar social circles and have similar life experiences. As human beings, we instinctively lean towards our ‘tribe,’ and our default is to surround ourselves with people who have relatable life experiences. Some default behaviors include requiring that candidates only attended specific schools, mandating work experience within specific industries, automatically disqualifying many potential candidates who may bring fresh views and perspectives because of a condition for the job that we believe is necessary but is not actually a skill that the job requires.

And the problem?

The problem is, relying on dated job descriptions or hiring requirements that have that level of specificity, we continue to propagate the issues of inequity that a diversity initiative is trying to solve. If you expand your network, you will attract a wider, more diverse pool of candidates. If you really drill down into what the job requires from a skill set point of view, you will open up a world of excellent candidates that will bring a diversity of experience and perspective to your firm.

What about retention?

Yes, there is also another aspect to the diverse talent pool that is often overlooked – retention of diverse talent. Many companies do not have the data, or fail to track retention data points, to identify reasons that diverse talent leaves their organizations. Taking the time to survey your diverse employees and understand why they exit can make the difference in how to identify and address what change is needed to improve retention.

What are some of the reasons diverse talent exits?

Common reasons that firms lose their diverse hires are a lack of support, a lack of commitment within the organization to grow their diverse employees into leaders, and even the company’s performance management process or the way high potential is identified and encouraged. I have been in many rooms where top talent is discussed. Manager upon manager will discuss their top talent and there is often no consistency in how top talent is defined or evaluated – it is usually a feeling or a set of qualitative observations. This leaves way too much room for interpretation and often becomes subjective, and this subjectivity will allow personal biases to creep into what should be an unbiased decision. This subjectivity almost always adversely impacts executives of color. I’ve seen it happen time and time again, and if it is left unchecked you will always end up with teams that look like the manager or leader.

And so there’s a missed opportunity.

Yes, firms miss out on the opportunity to build an inclusive team with fresh perspectives and advance innovation when quantitative metrics and consistent structured review processes are not the basis for talent recognition and promotion. Training, mentoring, and having sponsors who advocate for diverse employees when they are in rooms of influence make a huge difference in advancing emerging leaders. Sponsorship is critical to an executive’s career – this kind of advocacy happens every day within companies, when considering promotions and deciding who is assigned a special project in preparation for advancing careers. Creating these support systems will help to ensure your company has an inclusive environment and tools to succeed. Lack of diversity has been a much talked about issue, yet so little progress has been made over the years.

Related: Improving Diversity Starts with a Culture Check

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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