South-Western - Management  
The Art and Science of Recruiting a Diverse Workforce
Topic Managing Human Resource Systems
Key Words Recruitment, retention, diversity
News Story

Recruiting minorities is a crucial challenge for employers today. Collectively, African-Americans, Hispanics and other minority groups make up 30% of the overall population. Companies are striving to develop a workforce that more accurately reflects the U.S. population. Employers hope that having a more diverse workforce will help them to attract the business of some of these groups. For example, Hispanics alone have a purchasing power of almost $700 billion.

Yet, the challenges to building a diverse workforce are many. Minorities are under-represented in key positions in American corporations. In order to be successful at recruitment, companies have to embrace diversity as a way of life. Smart employers know that the best way to attract quality applicants is to have a strong corporate brand that can generate top-of-mind access among candidates. Sponsoring community events is one way to get a company's name out in front of potential hires. Another method is to become entrenched in the community. This can be done through hosting mixers for minorities at special locations, or lending conference space to key professional associations that are looking for after-hours meeting spaces. Employee referral programs can also be a good method to help attract minority candidates. Public relations campaigns can also do a lot to help a company create a brand within certain communities.

Recruitment is just part of the challenge, however. Retention is even more important. Communication training can help workers to draw out the talent and creativity from within a group. Mentoring programs can also be invaluable retention tools. Mentors can offer specific tips on navigating an organization. These programs can also give minorities an opportunity to be heard and to showcase their ideas, which can help when seeking a promotion. Lack of career advancement is a source of frustration for minorities and one of the key reasons cited for turnover. It takes minorities longer to be promoted when compared with white males. Affinity groups can be another tool for employers to bring employees of similar backgrounds together and to receive information on how the group is thinking and feeling.

Training and education at all levels of the organization needs to be valued in a diverse organization. Managers should be held accountable for how they develop talent. Managers should also be trained in handling any conflicts that arise.


List at least three reasons why recruiting a diverse workforce makes good business sense for companies.


What are some techniques that can be used to recruit a more diverse workforce?


The article mentions that retention of minority workers is often a problem. What are some reasons for this and what are some things companies can try to do to minimize turnover among minority employees?

Source "The Art and Science of Recruiting a Diverse Workforce, "Workforce Management, , May, 2006, p. NA.
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