ETB Blogs

Lessons Learned: A Diverse Workforce

This ETB Team member Blog was written by ETB Co-Director, Rachele Espiritu

What We’ve Learned About Hiring and Retaining a Diverse Team

One of the challenges we often hear from leaders in evaluation firms is that it is hard to attract racially and ethnically diverse candidates to their organizations. When learning more about the strategies they have tried, we get a glimpse into the why. Many organizations, not just evaluation firms, still lean on traditional ways of thinking about human resources and where responsibility lies for marketing and recruitment. In a time when (finally!) more widespread public conversations about race, equity, and justice are happening, organizations need to engage in sometimes difficult conversations about diversity, inclusion, and equity, and clearly commit to and boldly act on new strategies.

At Change Matrix (CM), we think of the diversity, inclusion, and equity work as adapting to a new way of being, acquiring new awareness and knowledge, changing attitudes, and developing new skills in a lifelong journey. Equity has been at the center of CM work since our inception. We are constantly challenging ourselves to apply our value or equity in our policies, practices, and who we choose to be as a company. Equity is not only a CM value – it is a lens, a process through which we approach our work, and an outcome that we hope to achieve.

As such, we recognize that building a culture and climate that seeks and supports diversity, creates an inclusive workplace, and drives towards equity, is an adaptive challenge. There is not a technical solution or a checklist to creating and supporting diverse teams, but there are certainly reflective questions and strategies that organizations can explore.

Here are a few things we’ve learned along the way about equitable recruitment strategies:

1. Commit the time and resources needed for equitable recruitment. At CM, we have had to change our practices over time to invest in the process. Gone are the days when you could just post a job announcement on Indeed or Linked In and expect “qualified candidates” to apply. We recently held a successful virtual job fair that involved many of the CM team members sharing their own experiences — two of our three most recent hires attended the fair.

Some investment strategies include:
Create a diverse search and/or review committee.
Discuss equity with the search and/or review committee; increase awareness about the impact of implicit bias on the review and interviewing process.
Disseminate job postings through a variety of paid and unpaid media formats and modalities: we expanded our contact lists to go beyond our typical outreach contacts to include ethnic minority-specific networks, historically black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions, community-based organizations, and population or topic-specific Linked In groups.

2. Engage in a process of examining and sharing your organization’s values of diversity, inclusion, and equity. Why are diversity, inclusion, and equity important to your organization? How do these values show up in your organization? What does your organization do to support these values? At CM, we have chosen to be a company that values, includes, and celebrates diverse experiences and perspectives, including lived experiences. This goes beyond words on a paper. Candidates can see this on our website, via our team, in our job announcements, and in the work that we choose to do.

Some strategies to consider for job postings:
Lead with your organization’s values of diversity, inclusion, and equity. Most job postings have the obligatory Equal Opportunity Statement at the end of the announcement. Why not lead with these values to emphasize the importance of this to a diverse candidate pool?
Include job responsibilities that align with your organization’s equity commitments (e.g., “utilize culturally responsive and equitable evaluation approaches,” “knowledge of and experience working with [cultural groups],” “develop a variety of accessible evaluation products”).

3. Accept equivalent experience for degrees. We know that there are systemic, deeply rooted challenges and barriers that prevent students of color from accessing and completing formal education programs. Examine why a formal degree is or is not necessary for the job requirements. Requiring a master’s degree or other advanced credentials can exclude diverse candidates with important lived experiences and skills who lack a formal degree.

4. Disclose salary range and do not ask for salary history or salary requirements. Nationally, women, people of color, and indigenous people receive lower pay than their white male counterparts. Research other evaluation organization job postings, use industry data or salary aggregation tools to identify appropriate compensation ranges. By being transparent, applicants and your organization can save time by not engaging in a process with candidates who will not accept a job within the planned pay range.

These are a few of our diversity, inclusion, and equity learnings for equitable recruitment. Visit us again for more strategies in a couple of months!