“Our challenge at BASF… is how do we continue to reinvent ourselves for success? How do we take what had been a traditional company based in a traditional part of the economy and the value chain, and how do we take some very nontraditional approaches?”
Panelists: DiversityInc, Vice President and Editor of DiversityInc Best Practices; Patricia Rossman, Chief Diversity Officer and HR Communications at BASF; Heidi Gerhard, Director of Talent Acquisition and University Relations; Natalie Coache, Executive Recruiter, Leadership Pipeline
Patricia Rossman, Chief Diversity Officer and HR Communications at BASF, Heidi Gerhard, Director of Talent Acquisition and University Relations and Natalie Coache, Executive Recruiter, Leadership Pipeline discussed their company’s process in terms of diverse candidate slates and recruitment and how they’re able to be very successful with Shane Nelson, Vice President and Editor of DiversityInc Best Practices.
“We have an overall talent and diversity strategy at BASF [that is] fundamental to our core business. [Because] we are operating in an area where we are really driven by the power of innovation, we’re looking at how diversity impacts that,” Rossman said.
“Our commitment is, ‘How do we get stronger in making sure that we are leveraging different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives so that we can stay ahead of our customers’ challenges, in terms of the needs for innovation and growth?’”
- Reinvent themselves every generation to be successful.
- Do branding and outreach to connect with all parts of the talent market.
- Use funnels to stop points where diverse candidates drop off.
- Use more competency-based profiles to hire more younger people and women.
- Make job postings more inclusive and engage talent.
Take Nontraditional Approaches for Innovation
BASF has a “demographic challenge” because they have employees that have been with the company for 25 years or more that were hired during a time when there was far less unconscious bias training in the corporate world combined with less diversity in the employee marketplace.
“As we look to the transition and now we look to the talent market for those who will enter the company … that talent base is very different than it was even a few years ago. Our challenge at BASF and I’m sure it’s similar where you are, is how do we continue to reinvent ourselves for success. And how do we take what had been a traditional company based in a traditional part of the economy and the value chain, and how do we take some very nontraditional approaches?” Rossman said.
After increasing branding outreach to men and women in STEM fields, Rossman said their talent pool became younger and more diverse.
Use Funnels to Hire More Diverse Talent
Rossman discovered BASF’s employees were not really continuing to diversify, despite efforts with branding and outreach. She looked into their process and realized that diverse candidates were getting stopped at the point where recruiters chose them to interview.
She put up a funnel at that spot and immediately saw results.
“We realized we needed to change and make sure that without any sacrificing quality of the applicant, we were not screening out great talent right off the bat,” Rossman said.
When Rossman and her team looked deeper into the data, she realized unconscious bias was also taking a toll on hiring more diverse talent and they immediately worked to remove it by making sure that 50% of candidates for interviews and the hiring panel were diverse for all roles.
Since implementing that measure, there has been a 19% uptick in women selected and 24% uptick in people of color selected for roles.
Use Data and Technology to Increase Diversity
“We implemented a co-sourcing RPO, recruitment process outsourcing program, which essentially delivered two qualified prescreened diverse candidates per requisition. In addition, we upped our branding efforts and enhanced our targeted recruitment at our diversity conferences,” Gerhard explained.
But that alone is not enough. When BASF did not see enough women diversity in the manufacturing department, they rolled out a Woman in Manufacturing program, a Diverse Leaders Program and engaged with the Executive Leadership Council, to undergo a talent acquisition transformation using candidate funnels and data.
It worked. More women became interested in the manufacturing field after BASF launched community initiatives and outreach to change the misconceptions that “only men” could work in manufacturing.
A Company is Leader-Led but HR-Enabled
“Action plans that clearly outline the level of participation of our senior-most executives throughout the entire recruitment process. Giving them an opportunity to get involved sooner than usual if it’s warranted is one of the key 2018 accelerants,” Coache said. “Our motto that drives leadership commitment and this topic of diversity and inclusion has been and will continue to be: it is leader-led but HR-enabled.”
Coache used the example of the HR team using “coaching and influencing” when BASF was looking to hire for a key leadership pipeline role. From the diverse plate of candidates, two finalists were chosen – internally, a male, and externally, a minority female.
“Guess who we almost defaulted to? You guessed it, the familiar known entity who looked and sounded like his predecessors. Please note, I did say almost,” Coache said.
“With some rather strong coaching and influencing, we made the right choice and we landed the right individual for the role who just happened to be a diverse female.