Mind the Culture Gap? The Culture of a Diversity Program

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For companies that fall under the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) umbrella (companies that have 50+ employees and have $50,000 or more in government contracts) every detail is necessary in developing a diversity program, and some may feel overwhelmed. With new government regulations looming and HR tasked with managing programs such as search, attraction and retention, diversity can be a real problem to manage for some companies.

These companies are required by law to have an Affirmative Action Program (AAP) on file every year, which includes intended good faith efforts for the attraction/advertising, measuring and annual diversity hiring goals. While a good faith effort towards attracting diverse talent is a decent start, many companies don't realize that when a diversity programs fails, it’s not always due to a lack of good faith efforts. Often, failure to hit diversity goals can be the result of resistance or failure to change the company culture.

First Impressions Matter

First, we must determine what content may attract a candidate to an organization to begin with. According to the recent Career Xroads Candidate Experience Report, which asked candidates about their experience with a potential employers marketing content before they applied, the top content candidates were aware of, and used, included information on reasons why employees stay with the company, values, work culture & environment, and diversity culture.

Fig. 1: What is your experience with the company's marketing content available BEFORE you applied?

The data collected in the survey suggests that companies should take a hard look at the overall pitfalls of why diversity candidates are not considering their organization as a future employer. Generally speaking, qualified candidates within an industry will have a sense of which organizations value diversity. Potential candidates can develop an educated sense about your organization through visiting the website, speaking with colleagues, viewing advertising/marketing efforts, assessing current employee structure, etc.

First impressions are hard to break, however if your company has the reputation for being the old boys club or furnished with glass ceilings, there are a few things that a company can do to begin developing a diverse corporate image.

In this post we will be reviewing types of content that will assist or hinder a diverse candidate from beginning the apply process.

Focus Career Website Imagery to Reflect Inclusion Goals

According to the 2012 Career-X-Roads Annual Candidate Experience report, a company's main source of hire is its careers webpage. These pages are full of marketing material that often reflects a company's culture.

The report reveals that the career website was used 75 percent of the time when a candidate initiated a search through a job board, 62.5 percent of candidates were directed to the company’s career site from social media and 56.3 percent visited after being referred.

Fig. 2: Channels of Influence – Company Career Site

Think about what your career website says about your company. Do you currently have diverse employees? If so, make them visible! Potential candidates want to know why your current employees like to work at your company. By posting employee photos or videos on the company website, an organization can influence candidates to go through the application process. Along the same lines, make sure your careers page shows the company's mission for diversity. Candidates want to see that they are valued and including a statement on your company's diversity mission and vision you can show that the company values diversity.

Get Involved with Diverse Organizations

Many candidates look for community and sustainability initiatives within an organization. If your organization is involved, make sure that it’s highlighted in the careers section. Continue to seek organizations that are aligned with your diversity and business goals and use those relationships to network, share jobs and gain a better cultural understanding within the organization.


Does your company have cultural awareness? Candidates have expressed that they seek contact information for Affinity group leaders prior to the application process. These groups are typically started by employees of similar backgrounds to network and often evolve into official company diversity groups. Why not start one? Change is scary, but establishing cultural consciousness within a company is crucial. Start off by inviting a speaker or hosting a culture day to increase awareness and acceptance within the organization.

Cultural change is done in small doses, but when done correctly, can substantially impact your organization’s image and make it a desirable option for diverse candidates.


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