I think everyone recognizes that diversity in the workforce is essential, so why is it often so difficult to get diversity programs off the...

by Larry Clifton

Senior Vice President of Recruiting and Workforce Planning
CACI International Inc.

I think everyone recognizes that diversity in the workforce is essential, so why is it often so difficult to get diversity programs off the ground? Talking about diversity is easy. Most people value diversity for the simple reason that we are all diverse in some way. It’s what makes us who we are as individuals.

How to define diversity, however, is much more challenging.

What diversity means to my company is probably different than what it means to yours. Settling on a scope for a program that is all-encompassing, yet still effective, is the first problem. Then, we need funding and support from the company to carry out the program’s mission. I believe this is where diversity programs have difficulty getting off the ground.

“Gaining executive sponsorship is critical to developing and continuing to keep the program valued as a business imperative.”

Too often our grand ideas to develop a diverse employee population and create an environment of inclusion aren’t supported with a real business reason for why diversity is important to our company. Diversity needs to be seen as a business imperative. Companies focus on the bottom line so diversity needs to be part of this equation. I coach my team on the importance of focusing every activity we do back to the bottom line value to the company, and looking at diversity programs is no different. The question is how we do this.

First, we need to set an ultimate goal, start the process and work our way into developing the diversity programs we really envision. Instead of tackling the overwhelming task of increasing diversity hiring at every level, I’ve started out with one goal, one that will have a far-reaching impact across the company. I chose to focus on increasing diversity hires at the management level. Through this single objective, it was much easier to make the case for the funding needed to get the program moving forward. Gaining executive sponsorship is critical to developing and continuing to keep the program valued as a business imperative.

Second, involve employees at every level to begin a grassroots effort to help your program build momentum. Highlight the importance of diversity to your organization by communicating your goals and activities to your employees. Encourage your diverse population to participate in the company employee referral program, intern program, etc., and to be a champion for your company amongst their network. Highlight and celebrate the achievements gained by the involvement of your employees. Continually reinforcing the existing diversity of your workforce throughout your company’s communications is an easy, cost-effective approach to developing momentum for a larger diversity initiative, and achieving your ultimate goal.

Larry Clifton

Larry Clifton

Senior Vice President of Recruiting and Workforce Planning
CACI International Inc.

Larry Clifton is Senior Vice President in charge of Recruiting and Workforce Planning for CACI International Inc, a $3.15 billion professional services and information technology (IT) company serving the defense, intelligence, homeland security, and IT modernization and government transformation. Mr. Clifton is responsible for hiring approximately 3,500 new employees annually, and manages a wide array of Human Resources programs, including CACI’s employee referral program, applicant tracking system, and its Deploying Talent – Creating Careers hiring program designed to provide veterans, especially those with disabilities, with meaningful careers at CACI. CACI provides professional services and IT solutions that help our federal clients provide for national security, improve communications and collaboration, secure the integrity of information systems and networks, enhance data collection and analysis, and increase efficiency and mission effectiveness. CACI is a member of the FORTUnE 1000 Largest Companies and the Russell 2000 index. CACI provides dynamic careers for approximately 12,900 employees working in over 120 offices in the U.S. and Europe Visit CACI on the web at www.caci.com and www.asymmetricthreat.net.

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