Hey Diversity Programs, It's Time for a Change

“Diversity and inclusion” is one of the hot phrases you’ll hear throughout tech and HR conferences in 2017. Given the astonishing lack of diversity in tech powerhouses including Facebook and Twitter, companies are starting to take notice of their own diversity hiring initiatives and working to change them. Unfortunately, most diversity programs out there haven’t caught up with the fresh-faced future of tech. These are some of the area’s diversity programs can make progress to change diversity from a buzzword, to better business.

When it comes to building a thriving, inclusive company culture, it’s a marathon full of dedicated effort, not a quick race to snag as many women and people of color you can in a short time span.

No clear end goal other than “to hire more minorities”. Congratulations on recognizing that you should hire more diversely. You’re on your way to a stronger company. Studies show that increasing your diverse hiring can reduce turnover rates by 22%. Add on the fact that increasing employee engagement can increase profits by $2,400 per employee per year, and using a diversity program becomes a no-brainer. But have you thought, really thought, about why you want to start a program in the first place? If you don’t have a clear understanding of how, why, and for how long you want to keep up your diverse hiring initiative, the likelihood of it lasting long enough to render results are slim to none. Additional goals that help lead to a successful diversity program include: increasing employee engagement, meeting more qualified candidates for open positions, creating an inclusive company culture, and increasing company productivity.

Expecting overnight outcomes without the effort. Without dedicated time and resources focusing only on helping your company increasing their diverse hiring pipeline, seeing real results can take up to two years. Using a diverse hiring Web App like The Mentor Method allows your team to spend less time creating and implementing a program, while receiving the rewards of fast access to the most impressive minority tech stars. When it comes to building a thriving, inclusive company culture, it’s a marathon full of dedicated effort, not a quick race to snag as many women and people of color you can in a short time span. Focus on the quality of your diverse hiring efforts, not the speed.

Unrealistic budget while expecting real results. As a founder and CEO of a disruptive company, I understand the need to stretch every dollar. However, if you’re expecting a $500 investment into your company’s diversity hiring future to be the trick to see results, you’re going to be disappointed. On average, mentoring and diversity programs cost $50,000 — $120,000 per year. Depending on the role and size of the company, that’s easily an annual salary of an employee for a program that may not get you what you’re looking for. If your company wants to be smart about investing in a diversity hiring program that will give you real results, you do have options. For 1/3 the price of current solutions, you can use a fully customizable, easy to use, web app that enables your company to be at the forefront of connecting with the badass future of tech without breaking the bank.

Uninspired team that’s already overworked. Your HR team is working hard as a core part of your company. They make the hires, deal with office drama, and so much more that they probably can’t or won’t tell you about. Making diverse hiring initiatives the sole responsibility of your HR department is one of the worst decisions you can make. Not because the team can’t pull it off, but because they’re already working in multiple directions to keep your employees happy and productive. Use a program that allows your HR team to share the ownership of meeting rising tech stars to can make a direct impact on your team. This allows the diversity mindset to take hold of the company faster than keeping all of the fun of molding your diverse future for the HR cubicles in the office.

Don’t leave a lasting impact on the company or your employees. The end of legacy diversity and mentoring programs are like that awkward end to a date that had subpar chemistry. You both know that you won’t be speaking again, but you pretend and be cordial without ever following up. Diversity programs shouldn’t have an expiration date, and shouldn’t leave your team, or their new employees, feeling lost. They should continuously include seasoned company veterans and your latest top performers to make sure you’re building a culture that’s focused on designing the future. Starting and stopping your diversity efforts will hurt you in the long run. You’re wasting time and energy each time you pull the plug only to revamp it the following year. Whether it’s due to budgeting issues, or your team being overworked as it is, finding a program that allows for a continuous cycle of diversity and inclusion efforts without a heavy effort, will remind your team that they should also be thinking about this well after their involvement in the program.

Article Originally Appeared Medium.

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