Recruiting Minorities and women

Basically the same prescriptions that apply to recruiting older workers apply to recruiting minorities and women. If there is a basic guideline, it is this: take the goal of recruiting more minorities and women seriously and pursue that goal energetically. In practice, this requires a three part effort: Understand the recruitment barriers; formulate the required recruitment plans; and institute the specific day to day programs.

Understand: Understanding the barriers that prevent minorities and women from applying is the first step. For example, many minority applicants don’t meet the educational or experience standards for the job, so many companies offer remedial training in basic arithmetic and writing. For many, lack of role models is a problem. For example, among life insurers and other financial services firms, lacks of women role models makes many hesitate to accept jobs as sales agents. In one retail store chain, it was similarly a lack of role models plus what the HR manager called the rather macho culture that stopped women from applying. Sometimes (as we saw) it’s a lack of schedule flexibility, given the responsibility for caring and schooling of the children. Similarly, we saw that tolerant supervisors can be especially important size up for potential employers.

Plan: After recognizing what the potential impediments are, the employer, preferably with the assistance of a diversity employment executive, should turn to formulating plans for attracting and retaining minorities and women. This may include reevaluating personnel policies, developing flexible work options, redesigning jobs, and offering flexible benefits plans.

Implement: Finally, translate these personnel plans into specific minority and women recruitment programs. For example, many job seekers of Hispanic origin check with friends or relatives as a strategy for looking for jobs, so encouraging your Hispanic employees to assist in your recruitment efforts make sense. Other forms partner with professionals organizations such as the black MBA association, the national Society of Hispanic MBAs, and the Organization of Chinese Americans. Specialized job search Web sites like those discussed else where is another option. In sum, to paraphrase one successful female financial services executive, the employer who is really interested in recruiting and retaining female employees has to fully commit to supporting them, coaching them, and offering them positive reinforcement.

Reservations: In India, a certain percentage of jobs are reserved in the government and public sector for the economically and socially weaker sections. This percentage is fixed as 15, 7.5, and 27% for scheduled castes (SC), scheduled tribes (ST) and other backward castes(OBC) respectively. The list of communities to be included in the groups eligible for reservation is declared by the government. The government is also considering extending reservation to the private sector jobs.

Welfare to Work:

The Federal Personal Responsibility and Welfare Reconciliation Act of 1996 prompted many employers to implement welfare to work programs for attracting and assimilating former welfare recipients.

Some companies report difficulty in hiring and assimilating people previously on welfare. Applicants sometimes lack basic work skills such as reporting for work on time, working in teams, and taking orders without losing their temper. The key to a ‘welfare to work’ program’s success seems to be the employer’s pertaining program during which participants get counseling and basic skills training over several weeks. For example, Marriott International hired 600 welfare recipients under its Pathways to Independence program. The heart of the program is six weeks of pre-employment training focused on work and life skills and designed to rebuild self esteem and instill positive attitudes about work.

The Disabled:

The EEOC estimates that nearly 70% of the disabled are jobless, but it certainly doesn’t have to be that way.

Employers can do several things to better tap this huge potential workforce. The US Department of Labor’s Office of Disability employment Policy offers several programs, including one that helps link disabled college undergraduates who are looking for summer internships with potential employers.

Employers also must use common sense if they want their recruiting efforts to reach the disabled. For example, employers who only post job openings online may miss potential employees who are visually impaired. Beyond this, all states have local agencies (such as corporate connections in Tennessee) that provide placement services and other recruitment and training tools and information for employers seeking to hire the disabled.

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