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Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Leaders Need These Top 3 Skills: Wednesday Wisdom Q&A | HR Technologist

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Today’s D&I leader could be a future CEO successor candidate as they are among the very best business leaders within most companies, or at least they should be.

Jason Hanold, CEO at Hanold Associates shares tips on how HR technology is changing the way people work in 2020. He talks about the skills D&I leaders need to empower themselves to achieve extraordinary results in the new decade.

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In this week’s #WednesdayWisdom interview Jason highlights the shift he sees happening in the diversity and inclusion space today. He also shares book recommendations on culture, leadership or inclusivity for diversity and inclusion (D&I) leaders.

The highlights of Jason’s Wednesday Wisdom message on the top skills for D&I leaders are:

Here’s the edited transcript from our exclusive Wednesday Wisdom chat with Hanold Associates’ Jason Hanold:

Jason, what is the most interesting way HR technology is changing the way people work in 2020?

Technological innovation is pervasive across every facet of HR, from how we identify, assess and onboard talent to how we compensate and rollout performance results. However, the lever that fundamentally moves an organization forward is the use of technology in organization-wide learning for talent at all levels. Accelerated learning enables companies to close their talent gaps, change organizational capability, reduce the need for external expertise hiring, and wires the company for constant change. Micro and macro learning environments fuel smarter, more efficient, and more innovative environments. 

What are the skills recruiters need to achieve extraordinary results in 2020?

Skilled recruiters are a unique blend of authenticity, candor, curiosity, thoughtfulness, compassion, grit, creativity and fast-moving action-orientation – all this through the lens of rigorous assessment fueled by a determination to provide courageous counsel to clients.

Above all, recruiters need to relate to a candidate. The more honest and open a recruiter is with a prospect, the more disarmed a prospect becomes, allowing the recruiter to get to know them better and allowing recruiters to forge better networks and find promising job openings. Why is getting to know candidates important? Because we don’t hire those who we do not trust, and we can’t trust those who we do not know. 

What’s the single most dramatic shift you see happening in the diversity and inclusion space today? 

It is hard to identify the single most critical shift occurring within the D&I space because there is a convergence of elements that are creating this seismic shift. First, organizations have become much more sophisticated about who they hire into the Chief Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging leadership roles. It used to be that well-meaning companies who were creating this diversity capability moved in-house executives into the role to build and grow the function and were given little in the way of direct accountability and few resources.

Today, the most enlightened organizations hire or develop distinctive talents to lead this capability. Today’s D&I leader could be a future CEO successor candidate as they are among the very best business leaders within most companies, or at least they should be. 

Secondly, more companies are now looking beyond pure representation, focusing on “equality, belonging, and inclusion” to drive cultural health and company performance.

Admittedly, many companies are still struggling to get diversity right at the executive level, so it is critical to have a role model within the form of a D&I leader.  

What’s the best book that you have read on culture, leadership or inclusivity that you’d recommend to our readers?

The first book that truly shifted my thinking about culture is The New Culture of Learning; Cultivating The Imagination for A World of Constant Change by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown. With so much discussion around culture fit, this book helped reframe the perspective: view your organizational culture as a scientist views a culture growing in a petri dish. The kind of culture that grows is informed by what one adds to it. Therefore, with each new hire, the company culture evolves. So, when hiring, ask yourself – is this the version of us we want to become with this addition?  

The second book is the legendary “Let My People Go Surfing,” by Yvon Chouinard. It is fundamentally about how you transcend culture into shaping an organizational ethos. Shared values and beliefs are natural glue for shaping a sense of belonging and can attract people from very diverse backgrounds. 

Your words of wisdom to your peers for creating a culture of diversity and inclusion. 

Ensure that you are demonstrating and calling out for more inclusivity in the most “diverse” settings. Are women’s conferences inclusive of men, are ethnically diverse affinity groups inclusive of other ethnicities? Inclusive environments are not those that provide a refuge for some, but a refuge for all. Our perspective needs to shift if we are to evolve and establish a sense of belonging for everyone. 

About Hanold Associates:

Hanold Associates is a boutique executive search firm focused on recruiting human resources leaders. The firm works with CEOs, CHROs, heads of talent acquisition and other key stakeholders to develop thoughtful and strategic solutions around transitions in the human resources function. It has a reputation for insightful and nuanced cultural advisory work built on a platform of strong capability supported by a rigorous and artful approach to assessing cultural fit.

It’s the middle of the week! This means, motivation is about to hit rock bottom and inspiration needs to be summoned. That’s why, ‘Wednesday Wisdom’ is a candid Q&A weekly series. It offers insights to talent and people managers on the most effective tactics to get through the week.

If you are a people leader and wish to share insights on the HR tech you use, your success stories, leaders to follow, and inspirational wise words,
write to neha.pradhan@hrtechnologist.com

Do you have any Wednesday Wisdom for us on the top skills for diversity and inclusion leaders in 2020? Let us know on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn, using the tag #WednesdayWisdom.

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