American society is going through an important reckoning as it examines how its institutions have systemically excluded people of color, women, LGBTQ people, and others, from positions of power and influence throughout American society. This examination is now happening in force within corporate America and Digimarc remains laser focused on hiring for diversity.
We sat down with Digimarc’s Sr. Human Resource Generalist, Allena Peters, to better understand developments with diversity and the hiring across the industry. Allena works closely with Digimarc’s hiring managers to source candidates, bring diversity to the candidate pipeline and oversee the overall recruitment and selection processes.
Q: What does diversity and inclusion mean in a corporate setting?
A: Proactively seeking out diverse candidates and fostering a work environment where people feel accepted, respected and psychologically safe to be their true selves and do their best work.
Q: Why is it crucial for teams and departments to be diverse?
A: Diversity fuels creativity through exposure to different ways of thinking. Creativity drives new ways to solve problems both socially and professionally. Solving problems creates more productive teams and generates more revenue for the company. There are numerous studies that show how gender and racially-diverse companies are more financially successful.
Not only is diversity good for the success of the business but developing work relationships with people from different backgrounds, cultures, religions, sexualities and abilities, etc., creates awareness around the challenges faced by marginalized groups that we may not otherwise be exposed to in family and community circles. Creating awareness around inequity fosters more socially conscious and empathetic employees.
Q: During your career, how have you seen companies change in this area?
A: Companies are creating more transparency around diversity goals and metrics, infusing diversity in employer brands, implementing flexible paid time off policies to support personal, cultural or religious observations. We’ve seen initiatives, such as:
- Forming employee resource groups to foster a sense of community, connection and inclusion
- Providing unconscious bias training to help people evaluate candidates and current employees more equitably based on ability to perform the job
- Tuition reimbursement, student loan repayment incentives, training and mentorship; as well as support to access higher education and career advancement
Q: What are the challenges today in recruiting employees from different backgrounds?
A: Geography is certainly a big challenge but remote work opportunities are helping to change that. Diverse employers attract diverse employees. Employees want to see people who look like them or who share the same interests, as an indicator to whether they will feel a sense of belonging in the environment. Recruiting is half the equation; once employees are on board, the office culture must be supportive and inclusive of employees from different backgrounds.
Q: How does Digimarc prioritize inclusion and equity into the hiring process?
A: One thing about attracting diverse candidates is that you must see it to be it. Showcasing diversity in our employer branding and communications is key. We include our diversity goal statement on all job postings, support of a diverse and inclusive culture is listed as a requirement of the job and job postings place more emphasis on skill set and experience vs degrees and titles.
We also remind recruiting partners to be aware that we are seeking diverse candidates and that our managers consider diversity when assembling interview panels. We also track diversity hiring data to see how we are trending.
Q: How has the move toward remote work changed the equation in hiring more diverse candidates?
Remote work is really a game changer for diversity recruiting. We are no longer restricted to finding talent within the 30-mile radius of our zip code. Remote work opportunities allow us to find the best talent in any location without the employee having to make the big decision of uprooting their lives and families to relocate to a new city or state. Many employees who struggled with workplace inclusion are finding a more comfortable environment working from home. Remote work has provided more flexibility for caregivers, who tend to be women; it has also been accommodating to workers with various disabilities. While most businesses are still adjusting to the new normal and defining what remote work looks like for their companies, one thing that is undeniable is the big win for diversity.
Find out more about careers at Digimarc and explore current opportunities.