As a human resources leader for a municipality, are you directed to hire people of diversity? Have you given it much thought? Further, how would you use LinkedIn to accomplish this? In this post, I’ll address the challenges human resources might face using LinkedIn to achieve the goal of creating a diverse workplace, and suggestions to make this possible.
But first it’s worth looking at the definition of “diversity” from the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary:
Definition: : the condition of having or being composed of differing elements : variety; especially : the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization. Mirriam-Webster Dictionary
Just who make up groups of diversity and why is it important to create a workplace of diversity? People of color, different religious belief, disability, gender affiliation, younger and older worker, nationality, ethnicity, and more. A diverse workplace is important for a number of reasons, most namely employment opportunities, unique ideas, and community.
The major problem
As someone in human resources, you know that the best way to fill a position is through referrals. Many times there are no qualified people who can fill positions, so you need to advertise said position.
What you get are a ton of resumes you have to sift through or send directly to the directors of the departments in your municipalities. You’re being reactive. Wouldn’t it be better to be proactive by reaching out to people you find on LinkedIn? Wouldn’t you like to present a social media presence that attracts quality candidates? I’ll answer both of these questions.
1. Performing a direct search, but narrow with focus
The first thing you must realize is that no job seeker will type anywhere on their profile, “I’m a person of diversity.” Or, “I have a disability.” Or, “I’m a woman of color.” You’re going to have to do some sleuthing to find people of diversity.
You should narrow your search by applying certain criteria. If you’re looking for someone in Information Technology Services; using the Filter people by feature (to right) will make your search more manageable. Here are three ways to do it.
1. For example, I searched for IT and came up with more than 18 million people. Where as using Filter people by feature to specify: 2nd degree, Greater Boston Area, and Information technology and Services. This produced 19 results. Much more manageable.
2. In the Filter people by area, you can also select people who are/have been on boards or possess strong volunteer experience.
3. Yet another way to narrow the search is by typing in the Search field the title sought and “nonprofit” or “town” and “city” next to the title. A search for “IT manager, town, city” produces 12 results.
2. Rely on your network
Providing you have a strong network that consist not only of other HR professionals, but also people in other industries; you have an opportunity to uncover some great talent. Perhaps you’re in pursuit of a director of finance. You should develop connections with many of the larger companies in your local area.
It’s plausible that a finance manager in a fortune 100 company would be a cultural fit in your municipality’s Finance department. There are regulations and laws that candidates would need to learn, but someone who is talented and a quick learner, can get up to speed.
The challenge: Good ole networking will take awhile, but if you can build up a network of people who are a possible fit for the positions you need to fill immediately or down the road; you’ll be in better shape.
3. Every employee must have a strong profile
Neal Schaffer, the author of The Business of Influence and other books that address using social media for business and marketing, says everyone in an organization must have a strong profile, as each employee is the face to the organization.
Your executive team should also be the digital face for your organization. When your management engage socially, you build trust with the community. You also send a strong and encouraging message to your employees that it’s OK for them to be active on social media, which undoubtedly will bring about greater employee advocacy for your organization.
Essentially each person working for a town or city should have a statement on their profile that they are engaged in a workplace that encourages and is open to diversity. Job seekers who desire working for organizations that encourage diversity in the workplace will be encouraged to see individual profiles that support this message.
Another benefit of an individual profile that demonstrates a diversity-friendly workplace will strengthen their town’s or city’s LinkedIn company page search engine optimization (SEO). This is assuming that the municipality has a LinkedIn company page. Below is an example of an employee’s profile supporting the goal of supporting people of diversity:
One of the nice things about working for The Town of (name) is the diversity of its employees. I enjoy working alongside people who are divers in age, ethnicity, gender, disability, religion, and other diverse populations. In my role as municipal engineer, I…
4. Create a LinkedIn company page with a strong statement
The next step municipalities need to take is create a company page that delivers the message of supporting and hiring people of diversity. Below is a good start of a company page description:
(City Name) was first incorporated as a town in 1630, and later as a city in 1822. Although City Government played a major role in (city’s name) development, the real spirit lies in the diverse and vibrant neighborhoods of the City. Today, the City is governed by the Mayor and the City Council with the assistance of various departments, agencies and commissions.
The company descriptions claims to have “diverse and vibrant neighborhoods,” but we’d like to see stronger verbiage explicitly talking about how the city has a policy of hiring people of diversity.
Job descriptions on LinkedIn company pages need to deliver a strong message of support for a diverse workplace
If the city or town is hiring and posts its positions on LinkedIn’ company page, this would also be a great place to state their policy for hiring people of diversity. This should be stated at the beginning of the job descriptions. Below is a description for a Sr. Librarian position that fails to do this.
….library assistants working in the branch libraries whose duties involve the following: greeting and directing patrons, registration of borrowers, charging and discharging of books and other materials, maintaining the book and other materials collections, maintaining/troubleshooting equipment, typing/word processing and filing.
What if instead, the beginning of the job description were to read:
(Name of city) supports a diverse workplace and encourages people of different races, religions, ethnicity, age, and disability to apply for the following position?
This would make an immediate statement about the municipality’s policy of supporting diverse populations.
The final step is a link to the municipality’s website, which would repeat its policy of hiring people of diversity. This would send a strong message to people who are looking for a diverse workplace.
Photo: Flickr, mdennes