Finding a diverse job candidate set, making sure the process is as inclusive as possible, then getting the best person for the job to sign a contract isn’t where talent acquisition begins and ends.
The DIAL Global Virtual Summit on 24 and 25 September was supported by Yahoo Finance’s parent company Verizon Media. The virtual conference, entitled ‘A Call to Action & Moving the DIAL for Meaningful and Sustainable Change through Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging,’ speaks to senior directors and C-suite executives at the largest organisations in the world to discuss how companies can foster a truly diverse and inclusive workplace.
Sandy Gould, VP, talent acquisition, learning and diversity & inclusion at Verizon Media, Stella Smith, founder and CEO at Pirkx, and Nancy Kelley, CEO at Stonewall were on a panel entitled ‘LGBTQ-being welcomed and accepted as you are,’ chaired by Collette King, HRD, Studio Retail.
Gould laid out how some of the most crucial points in talent acquisition and fostering an environment of diversity and inclusivity can start in the window between a person agreeing to take the role and starting at the company.
He explained that before one candidate started a role, the company informed the manager and team that they were transitioning. After speaking with the candidate and supporting the person, the company fully laid the groundwork ahead of their arrival in order to make sure the environment was as mindful and inclusive as possible so when they arrived they “had an amazing experience and were proud of the company with its support.”
He also stressed the importance of expressing the message of inclusivity “at the doorway.”
“It’s defining the identity of the company and the impression the employee has when they join. As a new hire we make sure that they know that they are here to change things, they are here to bring their authentic difference and create and innovate and they hear that message from senior executives and from the CEO regularly,” said Gould.
“[Sending that message] is very important to connect to the mission, and it’s just as important as goals and revenue. It’s important at the doorway that they realise they all have superpowers and that comes with their differences to help shape our product, services, and people. It’s the success of different ideas and it makes a difference knowing the company [and executives’ have their back.”
The session explored how the panellists’ respective companies has been a welcoming place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and non-binary employees. The panelists discussed the actions that have had the biggest impact on their organisation’s inclusion of diverse sexuality as well as reflections on what they got right and what they got wrong.
Gould said one of the most impactful moments came from Verizon Media’s partnership with the LGBTQ+ employee resource group PRISM. In 2018, the White House administration was floating the idea of “refining” the legal classification of gender. However, within a few days of speaking with PRISM Verizon Media communicated to its 10,000 employees that the company would protect them and give them the right to gender classification.
“Everyone has a different idea of how diversity should be run and part of what it means, we want to make sure we are listening, comfort and make sure we are continuously listening and learning, which what helps us all grow and shape the workplace,” said Gould.
A personal moment for an employee that really highlighted the culture for inclusivity was when one employee told their manager that they were transitioning and the manager asked Gould if it was OK to throw the colleague a party.
“I said, it’s not OK... it’s amazing!,” said Gould. “I said you made [the company] a greater place and sense of community and the employee felt fully supported. All these things are super important.”