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I believe in Talent: Top Diversity and Inclusion leader Fields Jackson on today’s D&I Trends

Talenya is pleased to have had the privilege to sit down with Fields Jackson, CEO of Racing Toward Diversity Magazine and D&I influencer. Fields gave his key insights on the trends in Diversity and Inclusion, as well as his understanding of how businesses can improve recruiting and retention of diverse candidates. 

Mr. Jackson shares the three biggest trends in diversity right now: 1) an increased interest in the importance of diversity, 2) an understanding that it drives better business, and 3) the impact of technology in leveling the playing field so all talent can be found.

He explains that while companies knew their employees in a work setting, they had rarely realized the realities of the lives of many employees until recently. 

“I’ll go back to the George Floyd incident. I think that sort of crystallized what folks in my community have been talking about for years.” 

People are starting to understand and care more about what is going on in the communities of minority employees, they recognize that they are bright, smart, and helping their organizations grow. They are realizing that helping these communities will be better for everyone overall. 

Secondly, Mr. Jackson highlights the business case for diversity.

Diversity brings different perspectives to the discussion table. It helps organizations understand their consumers and fuels innovation. “I believe that a diverse board of directors is going to help us…if you keep talking to the same people, you’re going to get the same answer.” Fields wisely notes that if a company is selling products in Spain, they would obviously need to have someone on the team who speaks Spanish and understands that culture. Similarly, if a company were selling insurance in the historically black neighborhoods of the South Side of Chicago, they should want to hire someone who is from the area and understands that demographic. The upshot is that “Companies that believe in diversity tend to do better in business and better in a global environment.” 

This business advantage comes with a caveat: companies must set goals for diversity and hold managers accountable. Just as a salesperson is measured on his sales performance, so too human resource departments must be measured on meeting their diversity metrics. 

“If nothing happens when recruiters don’t meet their diversity goals, then you are essentially telling the entire corporation that you really didn’t mean this.”

"Whether a company really believes in diversity is the most significant factor in D&I," explains Fields. 

This belief is apparent in everything from the composition of the board members to whether a company takes its diversity recruiting goals seriously. Fields explains that no matter what a company tells us, it is easy to identify whether they truly believe in diversity. We can see a company’s values from looking at their board members and executives, as well as whether they hold HR accountable to diversity and inclusion. Consumers and talented candidates will see this reality and use it to evaluate their choices.

Finally, technology has become a driving force in the D&I space. With the recent events surrounding COVID, we see that technologies like Zoom and Teams are driving business more than ever, and changing the way that we interact and meet. “You start to do things with folks that aren’t in your inner circle…it opens up another dimension.” This quicker, wider communication has enabled us to speak with people from all different backgrounds and gain different perspectives to which we had never previously been exposed.

Mr. Jackson notes that technology’s influence goes beyond video calls and can have a real impact on diversity recruiting and inclusion. “Technology can allow us to track and measure things in real time, and I believe it all comes down to measurement. If something isn’t being measured, it’s not getting done."

"If the goal is to get better, I can only get better if I measure what I did yesterday.” 

This kind of measurement can help us identify a winning recruitment team that consistently meets their D&I goals. It helps us recruit and reward superstar diversity professionals, and it leads to more inclusive workplaces that attract the best talent.

Successful companies and leaders who believe in diversity follow through to meet their diversity goals. Talenya is one such company. We not only strive to achieve diversity in our own organization, but hope to change the world by providing leaders with tools designed to help D&I recruiters excel. This exclusive is the newest in our Diversity Series, in which we will speak with leaders in the field to help share their insights to inspire rising stars to make the world a more inclusive place.

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