Today’s expectations have motivated nonprofit, philanthropic, and community organizations to build teams to mirror the populations they serve. Diversity in voices, experiences, and perspectives broadens possibilities for growth, visibility, and donations. These four mistakes keep organizations stuck without a diverse group of people under their employment or supervision, therefore limiting them from having the multifaceted views and optics public trust requires.
Omitting Calls for Diverse Candidates in Job Postings
High-level job candidates are bound to research organizations and companies they apply to work for. If diverse or diversity-conscious people do not see it on staff and boards, they may not apply. Explicit calls for diverse candidates in job postings remedy the problem temporarily, so diverse candidates are at least aware the organization seeks to change.
Judging Test Scores
By the time diverse candidates reach veteran career stages, they have hurdled over a lifetime of biased judgment systems like IQ tests and psychological exams. Elite university admissions have begun to nix ACT and SAT scores in recognition that wealthy students have advantages of coaching or private tutoring. Hiring managers should join them and rely on personal communication, reference letters, and interviews to get to know candidates.
Failing to Start at the Top
Too many organizations scan employees at low-paying, least influential levels, and see diversity. Meanwhile, top leadership and board members are a homogeneous palette. A few make the most money and retain the most decision-making power. Nonprofit and foundation boards remain low on women and black or brown people. When white male leaders leave, organizations should aim their searches for diverse candidates. Maintain competitive salaries to attract them.
Pretending There’s No Issue
These days, one would have to live under a rock not to notice natural diversification throughout society. Only an outdated mindset would see nothing wrong with a monolithic office portrait and not want to change. Nonprofits must understand the viewpoint of potential employees, partners, and donors who arrive only to find no diversity among staff and volunteers. Current staff should open up to diverse candidates, share the organization is aware of issues, and encourage them to join to help.
Hiring managers have the power to create versatile, dynamic organizations. The efforts and bravery to build diverse organizations start with their actions, in small and large steps.