Thoughts on Talent Management From DiversityInc’s Top 50 Event

In a world where more and more companies strive to find the best and brightest talent, company leaders have found that more innovation happens on the job when there’s a diverse workforce.

Thought leaders at DiversityInc’s Top 50 event on May 3 in New York City talked about finding the best talent, moving diverse talent up the leadership ladder and really honing in on DEI efforts when thinking about talent management during panel discussions and fireside chats at the event. 

Read through some of the most interesting quotes from the event below for more talent management insights. 

Mitch Toomey, Director of Sustainability, BASF (ranked No. 12 on the 2022 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) on teams with a better diversity profile within the company producing more innovation and bundling that with ESG: 

“We’re in the chemical business and we have exposure to plastic waste and carbon emissions and these big picture things. We are desperate for innovative solutions to find answers to those challenges and we’ve seen that it’s clear we’re not going to find innovative solutions looking at the same supplier base or within the same traditions we have at the company. 

“That’s the issue that we’re facing now is that middle ground. How do you move from really focusing on bringing in the right diverse talent pool to eventually getting them into those leadership positions? And that’s a journey that we’re all on.”

Jimmy Etheredge, CEO of North America, Accenture (ranked No. 1 on the 2022 Top 50 list) on the rising expectations talent has for employers and other trends: 

“We do a lot of work with the World Economic Forum, and some of the research that we’ve done I think is impactful … 65% of employees have an expectation that companies are making their employees net better off. When we say net better off, it means not just financially, not just the wages or the equitability, but their health is better, both mentally and physically, and that their skills are better. I think the expectation is being raised and it’s going to continue to be raised on what you’re doing to take care of your employees.

“I think the second trend, which we’re all feeling today, is the search for talent and looking for people for our organization. A lot of clients I talk with, the biggest [obstacle] for them is finding more talent, and in particular, more diverse talent.”

Dr. Damon Philips, Professor of Management, The Wharton School, on including returning citizens in DEI initiatives: 

Before jumping into Dr. Philips’ commentary, we wanted to give a little context into his presentation on hiring returning citizens. Each year, 650,000 people return to society after being incarcerated and 68% return to jail within three years, often as a result of unemployment. Of that 68%, 33% are formerly incarcerated Latinos and 40% are formerly incarcerated Blacks. 

To help these returning citizens find jobs and prevent them from being re-incarcerated, Dr. Philips said DEI work is necessary. 

“When you focus on them, you’re also focusing on other underrepresented and marginalized groups,” he said.

His research shows that returning citizens often have lower turnover than other employees and are often more likely to start a business than the rest of the population. This presents an opportunity for companies to engage in supplier diversity. 

“Some are in fitness. Some are in food services, some are in high tech. Don’t just assume that they’re only in certain types of industries,” Dr. Philips said. “Include returning citizens in our DEI work.”

Dr. Alveda Williams, Corporate Director of Inclusion at Dow (ranked No. 15 on the 2022 Top 50 list) on using employee resource groups (ERG) to encourage employees to help build culture and “win the talent war:”

“Our ERGs are really critical. They’ve been the most critical in the last two years as we tried to navigate the changes that we’ve all collectively experienced,” she said, adding that Dow wants to take care of its employees through ERGs while also using ERGs as a resource for the company. 

“I’ll share with you one example of the way we’re doing that this year. For the first time ever, we have launched what will be called an ERG agenda. It is not intended to dictate what our ERGs do to [create] a culture, it’s a bit of a north star, some direction to help them be a resource for the company. 

“It’s very simple for us. If you want to help us build culture, if you want to help be a resource for our company, here are a few things that you can help on. Help us promote well-being because that is so important in our company right now. Help us win the war for talent. Help us with our company’s strategy. Help us accelerate our progress around supplier diversity.”

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