Chief diversity officers at three leading companies shared their strategies to mold recruitment and retention philosophies at a panel moderated by DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti. The panel occurred during DiversityInc’s learning event in Washington, D.C.
Emilio Egea, chief diversity officer, Prudential: “We want to create an environment where it’s safe to say what’s on your mind, safe to be who you are so you can bring your whole self to do the work of the firm. We integrate diversity and inclusion into key business and HR processes, and the approach we take involves three things: What we know, how we act and how we feel. The head, the hand and the heart. Our philosophy is diversity change begins in the head, as we learn more about how people are different from us; the hand, as we learn how to be more effective with those differences, and the third, true diversity change involves emotional growth, and that is when we develop authentic relationships with people who are different [from us].
“Our long-term goal is to brand Prudential as an employer of choice and develop a talent pipeline. Relationships are a key to success. In good times and in bad times you have to maintain those relationships, just like a marriage. When the economy is down, keep those relationships alive.”
Kathy Hannan, national managing partner, diversity and corporate social responsibility, KPMG: “With the issue we have in this country about workforce readiness, it is, for us, all about talent sustainability. We have a very layered approach when it comes to diversity. You have to look at the long-term pipeline issue. It’s not just about what we are doing today to recruit from the best schools. You have to have the mindset of ‘What are the long-term implications?’
“One of the things is the work that has been done by The PhD Project. We had a vision years ago that we needed to have much more diversity in the front of the classroom. That was the founding principle of The PhD Project, which has been widely successful, and we’ve more than tripled the amount of diversity in the front of the classroom today. Relationships with schools are very critical and not just the colleges and universities but also what we are doing in that deeper pipeline. We are also now partnering with the National Academies Foundation and helping them develop the curriculum to be used in high schools to get kids more interested in accounting and finance … Go even further and you look at the K–8 grade level, and we have a program called KPMG Families for Literacy that brings books into disadvantaged communities very early. These students won’t hit our doors for a number of years, but we understand that responsibility to act now to ensure the sustainability of the talent pipeline.”
Ed Gadsden, chief diversity officer, Pfizer: “At Pfizer, we are going to focus on demonstrating inclusive behavior and respect for the individual … around four specific strategic platforms. One is workforce composition and talent (not workforce representation). Workforce representation is just the number. Workforce composition talks about not only the number but [if] you have the right people, with the right skills and the breadth of what you need to be competitive in the marketplace. The next thing we talk about is workplace fairness. It is hard to tell folks in an organization that you are committed to diversity when there is a perception or feeling that they are not being treated fairly. The next thing is around engagement. I think there is a huge opportunity for us in getting our ERGs much more involved in actively referring people throughout the employee-referral program.
“The last thing is we all work with campuses … At the end of the day, it is about leadership. But it is also about the middle of the organization in terms of getting the change done.”