As our next event UNLEASH World approaches, we rewind to late May as UNLEASH director of content labs Kate Graham talks to analyst Trish McFarlane Steed about diversity hiring, skills challenges, and plenty more. This was filmed at UNLEASH America 2022, in fabulous Las Vegas.
Watch the video or read an excerpt of the transcript beneath, which has been edited for clarity. We join the conversation as Kate details a morning panel session from UNLEASH America that features SAP and IBM, to name a few.
Kate Graham: …as we move forward, internal mobility increases, [and] we create these shorter term teams that need to come together. If you’re going to do that in a cohesive, effective, productive way, we have to take things like the neurodiversity piece into that because to your point around inclusion, but also in terms of performance, how do you bring people together? What’s the basis on which you’re bringing them together? Is it skills? Is it some kind of psychological profile?
Trish McFarlane Steed: Yeah, it’s interesting. You mentioned David [Ludlow, group VP of product strategy and reseach at SAP], because SAP and SuccessFactors have done – since at least back to 2015, maybe 2016, maybe even earlier than that – programs, specifically around autistic candidates that they hire and have whole teams of people who are on the spectrum, who are working very successfully.
And so again, it goes back to skills, but it’s also, how do they fit? How does that change your team? What opinions are they bringing to a team that maybe no one else is bringing to your team? So they’re actually living what they’re talking about.
KG: Yeah, I absolutely love that. And you’re the first person that’s spoken to that in an interview situation. So that’s really interesting, that really stands out.
TMS: You know, when the pandemic happened, on our podcast – the HR happy hour – we really started focusing very tightly on that. So interim, interviewing people who are in the Special Olympics, for example, some of the athletes and what they’re doing, we’ve done shows around people who are visually impaired, hearing impaired – how are they recruited? How is their experience going through that process? How are they onboarded?
So I think that it’s really important to consider and talk to people who are actually using all of these technologies that you’re seeing here today. And some of the technologies are very good for them. And they feel very included throughout the process. And then some are not. So it’s kind of a wake up call, I think, to vendors.
KG: And is the urgency around skills, and the impact of the ‘Great Resignation’, do you see or does it concern you that it might have an effect on diverse hiring?
TMS: Oh, 100%. I think that at this point, we’re all just trying to get back to some semblance of what we understand a workplace should look like. And you can say you have all these things to focus on. But it can be very overwhelming in the moment if you’re a CHRO and you’re trying to think about how am I hiring and what technology am I using and what am I doing to reward my people and recognize it’s very overwhelming, right?
So I do think that you just need to take a step, look back, slow down, and look at how you’re hiring people. And it might not be just people with neurodiversity issues, it might be people who have criminal backgrounds, right? They’re going to be very good workers. Or it might be former military personnel who are now into the workforce. So | feel like in this world, we are eliminating many good-skilled candidates from our searches because we’re not open to it. We’re just so focused on kind of the glossy high level.
TMS: So I would say just take a really hard look at yourself and what you’re doing as an organization, and dig in on some of those really, small niches of candidates. And you might be surprised at the quality of candidates you actually get.
KG: Yeah. And do you think the way that the tech is moving in, say, the talent acquisition space now, you can do much more proactive targeting and you can actively go after people who are neurodivergent, or are working across different diversity targets or goals that you have? Do you think that’s going to have a positive effect?
Watch the whole conversation in the video above.
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