Diverse Talent Retention Starts in the Hiring Process

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Katie Augsburger Episode9Retaining top, talented female and diverse individuals in the financial planning profession starts with the hiring process.

That’s what Katie Augsburger, SHRM-SCP, said on the last episode of Season 1 of the 2050 TrailBlazers podcast with Rianka R. Dorsainvil, CFP®.

While many people are still trying to figure out how to bring in diverse talent, Augsburger said focus on diversifying your own network in attracting them, and then focus on the hiring process in order to better retain them.

“Retention is so critical because we want to keep this good talent that we’re bringing in,” Augsburger said.

Augsburger recommends accomplishing that with the following:

Look honestly at your network, then diversify it. Look at your friends list on Facebook and your connections on LinkedIn and be completely honest with yourself about the demographics. Seventy-five percent of a white person’s network is white, Augsburger said, so chances are if you’re relying on your network to provide recommendations for a job listing you’re about to send out, the candidates are not going to be from a diverse background.

“If your network is all white, you are already a barrier to helping your company becoming more diverse,” Augsburger said.

Really focus on authentically expanding your network to include people of color, LGBTQ individuals and more women, Augsburger suggested.

“That’s the first entry to an organization—who you know,” she said. So get to know more people.

Some ideas? Share your job posting with representatives from Quad-A, Association of Latino Professionals for America, FPA PridePlanners or the CFP Board’s Center for Financial Planning’s WIN Council and Diversity Advisory Group.

This goes for people of color also, Dorsainvil said. Diversify your network if you only ever network with other people of color.

Focus on perfecting your job listing. Diverse individuals know how to find jobs, Augsburger said. We know all about LinkedIn and Indeed. The problem isn’t where you’re posting, it’s likely in how the post is written. Beware of gendered words or words that could be inadvertently turning off women and people of color.

Create a supportive environment for your new female and diverse hires. You have several female planners on staff. Say one of them has a baby and your office isn’t conducive to pumping or nursing. Create a private space where she can pump or nurse her baby. Or if your young professionals can’t afford to live near your office, offer them some flexibility on remote work and hours. For example, don’t expect them to stay in the office until 7 p.m. then schedule a 7 a.m. meeting the following day.

“This is not 1970 where most young professionals lived in the city and could walk to their businesses,” Augsburger said. “Cities are so expensive now that almost all young professionals are having to live outside of those cities, so we are measuring them by a yard stick that is no longer applicable.”

Move beyond training to integrating. Augsburger said oftentimes organizations will hold unconscious bias training and put a few people of color in marketing materials and call their inclusion efforts good.

“It’s really about integrating diversity throughout the organization and it shows up in who is represented in leadership,” Augsburger said. “That is a really great way for people to see visually that you have invested the time and effort.”

That takes time, she added, but for organizations that put time and resources toward that effort, it is worth it.

“There is so much research out there that says and shows, from a data and dollar perspective, that having more women, having more people of color in leadership positions brings cognitive diversity to the leadership and it permeates throughout your entire organization and in effect increases your bottom line,” Dorsainvil said.

Strive for economic diversity as well. It adds an extra element to have planners and staff who didn’t come from wealth.

“We do not have enough economic diversity in our organizations,” Augsburger said. “If you do not have economic diversity in your organizations—people who have not had that lived experience of wealth—you are missing a huge knowledge base.”

Staff who have had different lived experiences economically will bring unique perspectives to the firm and to clients.

There Is No Business Case for Not Having Diversity

Diversity brings about the diversity of thoughts and ideas in your organization. Since studies show the landscape of the United States is changing such that minority groups will continue to grow, it only means positive things for financial planning firms to have planners and staff of color on board.

“People of color are … making up a larger and larger share of the population and if your organization is not reflective of that, then you have no visibility on how best to serve those populations,” Augsburger said. “If you want your organization to be relevant, your organization needs to reflect the communities that they’re serving, and those communities are going to be predominantly a mix of races.”

About the 2050 TrailBlazers Podcast

Dorsainvil began streaming episodes of 2050 TrailBlazers in March 2018. FPA is one of the sponsors of the podcast that is sparking conversation on diversity and inclusion in the financial planning profession and attempting to address issues of recruitment and retention of professionals of color. Season 2 launched earlier this month.

Listen to the podcasts by a previous FPA Diversity Scholarship winner during your commute and check out the show notes for more information about the people and topics covered. Subscribe on iTunes and Google Play or visit the website.



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