We have seen a large uptick in diverse hires at executive and C-suite levels in the past couple of years. It’s encouraging, to be sure. But, taking a look at Odgers Berndtson’s deeper dive into diversity data, it’s clear we still have a long way to go.
Lower tenure numbers for diverse candidates are likely an indication that most companies (at least among the Fortune 250 set) are not retaining their diverse hires. In addition, organizations are not creating paths to promotion and succession for diverse hires in a systemic, sustainable way. Once hired into an organization, diverse talent may face barriers to leadership roles, or even tokenization at the highest levels of leadership.
For instance, 46% of diverse executives in the current Fortune 250 C-suite hold functional C-suite roles, like Chief Legal Officer or Chief Human Resources Officer, which are infrequently a springboard to the top job. In contrast, typical CEO feeder roles, like COO and CFO, are much less diverse, with 22% of white candidates (compared to 15% of nonwhite candidates) holding these positions in the current F250 C-Suite.
If we are to make progress when it comes to diversity in leadership, there is a clear need for organizations to more consistently use unbiased data in the hiring and promotions processes. One way to do this is to deploy assessments that are job-related, structured, and metrics-driven.
Here are three actions you can include in your talent strategy to improve retention and promotion of diverse talent:
Identify and assess against job-related competencies
Identify requisite competencies for all roles, especially those that are mission-critical, and develop/identify valid assessments to measure these competencies. This step ensures that interviewers are focusing on those competencies most critical to job success, which means that they are less likely to be distracted (or biased) by factors that are non-job-related.
Train your managers in assessments
An organization’s diversity plan is only as good as the data they are using to hire and promote. Organizations should train managers to use structured assessments as part of hiring and succession planning efforts, including how to ask questions, take notes, score candidates and, as necessary, calibrate across interviewers.
Use data to inform onboarding and development for diverse hires
So you’re collecting data during the interview process? Great! How are you using it after the hire? Often, particularly when it comes to diverse talent, high turnover is a result of poor onboarding. Organizations need to leverage data collected during the interview process to inform onboarding and early development for both external hires and promotions.
Research has consistently demonstrated that following this approach leads to new hires who are not only more qualified and more diverse, but also longer tenured and more engaged and committed to their new organization
If organizations want to reduce bias, achieve greater diversity and, most importantly, retain their diverse talent, data is key. And assessments are a consistent and impactful tool that will provide actionable information from the moment you hire a diverse candidate, to the day they step into the C-suite. If you need support using proven assessments for the hiring and retention of diverse talent, we’re here to help.