He’s since issued an apology explaining his comments were influenced by his own unconscious bias. In a subsequent memo to employees he went on to say:
“There are many talented diverse individuals working at Wells Fargo and throughout the financial services industry and I never meant to imply otherwise. It’s clear to me that, across the industry, we have not done enough to improve diversity, especially at senior leadership levels. And there is no question Wells Fargo has to make meaningful progress to increase diverse representation.”
Wells Fargo isn’t the only company that has a representation problem when it comes to their teams reflecting the customers they want to serve. And Scharf isn’t the only business leader whose unconscious bias limits his ability to find diverse talent.
Having a diverse and representative team is a key lever in your ability to deliver inclusive marketing and customer experiences that attract diverse consumers and make them feel like they belong with you.
But far too many brands struggle to diversify their teams, with many thinking the challenge is the availability of the talent. Not so. The talent you need to diversify your team is out there, and they aren’t sub-standard by any means. You just have to know how to find them.
Here are four methods you can start implementing now to start building a diverse team.
Hire diversity recruiters
Their entire reason for being is to find high-quality diverse candidates to fill your roles. And they have a vested interest in helping you fill your positions with the talent they connect you to. As such, working with them makes to process of finding the diverse candidates you need at all levels of your organization a simpler process.
Go where the candidates are
I went to a Florida A&M University, a historically Black college and university, for both undergrad and graduate school. While there I got great internships and was recruited for my full-time job post graduation by companies that would come to the school specifically looking for Black talent. They would find an abundance of candidates, because they fished where the fish were, so to speak.
While working in corporate, when I started exploring options for other career opportunities, I would attend the Black MBA Conference, where there would be a large number of companies on site at the career fair looking for Black candidates.
There are universities, conferences, and professional organizations that serve and cater specifically to diverse talent, across a number of industries. Start partnering with them to find a large pool of diverse candidates to fill the roles you have available.
Expand your network
Many people leaders find talent for the positions they have by tapping into their own professional network for leads on candidates. This often proves effective in finding good candidates to fill their roles. But unless your network is diverse, and most people’s are homogenous, than you will often get recommendations for people who look like you, think like you, and have similar life experiences as you.
Be intentional about expanding your circle of influence. Start building relationships with a diverse group of talent, even when you aren’t looking to hire. That way, when you do have a need, you’ve already got a broad group of people to reach out to, who can offer up diverse candidates from their own networks.
Build your own pipeline
Don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to traditional channels as a way to find diverse talent. You can implement innovating programming that enables you to build your own pipeline of candidates that can fill roles you need within your company.
When Spotify wanted to see more diverse podcast creators, they created a training program specifically designed to encourage women, non-binary, and people of color to start their own shows.
Google and PRX did something similar when they created an incubator program which provided training and funding to teams in an effort to get more women and people of color into the world of podcasting.
You can create your own training, mentoring, or incubator program with the purpose of attracting and developing talent that will be poised to do the work your brand specializes in.
There is plenty of diverse talent out there. And if your team isn’t representative of the customers you want to serve, that just means you have to try harder to attract them. You’ve also got to work to create an environment within your company that makes them feel like they belong so they can bring their best selves to work everyday.
Prioritize building a diverse team. And watch how much more your customer base will become as a result.