5 ways to prioritize DEIB in recruiting & beyond

Ash Alexander

Ash Alexander,

Head of People at Front

6 December 20210 min read

A lot of organizations have made renewed DEIB commitments in the past 18 months but few have shared an inside look into the tactical ways they are actually moving the needle.

A lot of organizations have made renewed DEIB commitments in the past 18 months but few have shared an inside look into the tactical ways they are actually moving the needle.

The reality is: change is hard. In my job as the Head of People at Front, I’m working diligently to implement ways to ensure current and prospective employees at my organization have an equitable experience at work, regardless of their background. I am grateful to have an awesome people team at Front to support me in this work and an incredible bench of mentors and peers in the HR space who have shared their knowledge and insights with me from their own organization’s DEIB journeys.

I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned this year as we’ve changed the way we hire at Front to focus more on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

Widening the funnel

We aim to cast as wide of a net as possible at the top of our talent pool in order to capture more qualified, diverse candidates throughout the entire recruiting process. Recruiting sets specific goals for reaching out to diverse candidates at the beginning of every search for evergreen and high-volume roles. Many companies aim to source more diverse candidates, but traditional tooling can fall short to equip recruiting teams to easily search and find diverse, qualified talent (for example, you cannot search by diversity filters in LinkedIn). To help move the needle on top-of-funnel pipeline and set the recruiting team up for success, Front has invested in Seekout.com to equip recruiters with the appropriate tooling to tackle this.

Implementing the Rooney Rule

If you aren’t familiar, the Rooney Rule originally comes from the NFL. It’s a policy that requires teams to interview at least one woman and one underrepresented ethnic-minority candidate for either every open position or every open senior position.

For us at Front, this looks like:

  • Having at least two onsite interviews with Black and LatinX candidates for all manager and leadership positions.

  • Having top-of-funnel metrics to hit for evergreen and high-volume hiring roles to help widen our pool.

ERGs and support groups

It can be difficult to nail the ‘I’ in DEI. Inclusion deals with culture—meaning corporate culture, ethnic culture, and beyond—and that goes beyond any metric you can measure. I believe the best way to make people feel connected is to make them feel like they are included in a community. HR can only do so much; sometimes connection and support must come from within.

Employee Resource Groups have made welcoming new hires a much more personal process, as opposed to your typical onboarding process. Now, people can simply opt-in and actively reach out to new hires and make them feel welcome. Currently, at Front we have:

  • OutFront, dedicated to our LGBTQIA Fronteers

  • Front Ladies Circle, for our female-identifying Fronteers

  • Front Parents, for Fronteers with children

  • FrontAsia, for our AAPI Fronteers

  • Womxn in Tech, specifically dedicated to womxn in technical roles

  • Black @ Front, for our African-American Fronteers

For Fronteers who are passionate about starting a specific ERG, we’ve made it easy for them to get started with an internal directory and suggested steps to spread the word. What I’m working on now to help elevate our ERGs further is to secure additional budgets so these groups can really feel empowered to host events and take up space within Front.

Constantly assessing our success 

My goal is to proactively address the moments where we may fall short as a company during the hiring process, onboarding, and beyond. Looking specifically at management roles, I try to address why people with diverse backgrounds might be falling out of the funnel, what’s not working, and applying the training in areas where we’re not seeing the conversions we want.

Focusing on employee growth

We use something called the Lego program, our ongoing training for employee growth and development, to allow for more fairness and clarity on top of the distributed workforce. To sum it up, our employees have:

  • One weekly 1:1 meeting with their manager

  • One monthly 1:1 meeting with their manager to assess feedback, growth, and career development

  • An annual performance reflection review

This entire process gives our managers twelve months of conversations to reflect on in order to make the best and most fair decision regarding any promotions or compensation raises.

Now, these steps are just the beginning. I know that there’s so much more work to be done (and we’re not always going to get it right) and I am so excited for the future of recruiting at Front. DEIB should not be thought of as just another mandatory HR process. Instead, we should be working on strategies to embed this into the foundation of our businesses and ensure that we can carry through the support and momentum of these initiatives even after we get someone through the door. I’d love to hear what you all are doing at your organizations, what’s working and what’s not, and how we could improve for the future.

If you’d like to hear first-hand accounts of how our Fronteers navigated the past year—through a pandemic and beyond—as well as my podcasting voice, check out our Heart of Business podcast episode: How to work happier when you can’t work happier.

Written by Ash Alexander

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