October 11, 2022

Introducing The DEI Download

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Robyn and Liz sit down to discuss Hirewell’s developing DEI Function. It’s a unique offering built upon our core values. Liz and Robyn introduce themselves, as well as the internal and external services the DEI team offers, setting up for the rest of the DEI Download!

Episode Transcript

Hi! This is the first video for our DEI Download series. Like and subscribe if you are interested. And please follow talentinsights.hirewell.com to get all of the new videos as they come out and check out all of our other interesting content if you are curious as well.

Hi and welcome to the very first episode of The DEI download. I’m going to be your host, Robyn Carney and this is Liz Koppa . I am a special guest today. Yes. I love Liz and I’m very excited to bring you this first episode of kind of talking about what we’re going to be doing with The DEI Download, what we’ve been doing with DEI in general at Hirewell and all the different ways that we’ve kind of been expanding our DEI practice.

So what is the DEI practice at Hirewell, you might ask. Currently it’s me. I’m Robyn. I’m the sourcing ops lead and the DEI lead here at Hirewell. I have been with Hirewell for two years and in the first year that I was at Hirewell, I spent a lot of time focusing on the DEI committee whenever I could, participating in all the events that we had and helping spearhead the webinars that we were doing.

So starting into my second year, we decided that I’d be in charge of the DEI initiatives here at Hirewell, which is great. We have a multi-pronged approach. We are doing everything we can internally as well as externally. So we’re approaching on a variety of fronts here. But take a step back, why DEI matters so much to me.

I was actually raised by disability activists. So a lot of my early childhood was spent focusing on inclusivity events in New York. And as I became an adult, I realized that this was something that was very important to me across all aspects of life. It is very much a very big part of my personality.

And I kind of channeled that into learning about Caribbean and Latin American studies when I was in college. I went to the University of Chicago, studied Caribbean and Latin American Studies. And after that I wanted to find something that was DEI focused.

So through a very long story that I won’t go into today, I ended up at Hirewell and became the DEI lead. I very much think of DEI as a conference room, as a conference where there’s a lot of rooms in a lot of different aspects of the conference. And you might show up to the conference thinking you know everything, that you’re well prepared and that you have all the knowledge you need and you’re just going to tell everything you know.

But you always learn something at a conference. Some rooms, you are the speaker, you’re on the stage, you have something important to stay, and there are people who are there to listen to you. Some rooms I definitely feel like some rooms you’re just there to help set up the stage to help prepare, to help enable the voices of someone

who needs to spread a message or information. And in some rooms you’re just in the audience learning and growing. So that’s been my personal approach to- almost said to conferences- to DEI entirely. So part of the reason why we started a DEI function is we built out in a whole internal team, and this is kind of where Liz comes in.

Liz, would you like to talk a little bit about yourself? Sure. So I just joined Hirewell earlier this year and was brought on as one of those internal hires that Robyn was describing that really are being brought in to support the infrastructure of the sort of corporate internal side of the business.

Hirewell has had a host of recruiters for the over 20 years that it has existed. But in the last couple of years, it’s grown so much as an organization, that it’s really the moment for this company to start leveraging internal partners like our new head of operations and strategy and VP of finance and myself, I’m our director of talent development.

And so really having dedicated resources to our people dedicated to our growth, to our strategy and to all of the systems and levers that go on, on the back end of the business to make it succeed. So as our director of talent development, I work closely with Robyn making sure that we have an excellent and elevated employee experience internally.

And that our employees are engaged, that they are empowered to succeed, and that they’re also equipped to support all of our clients and candidates with the best experience, including one that furthers our DEI values. Yeah. We also earlier this year, with Liz’s help ironed out our mission statement.

Which kind of goes along in this, like specifically focusing on being accountable to advance DEI in the way that we operate as a company, so internally, and how we impact our clients the way we empower our candidates, and the way that we serve our communities. So I’m very excited to be working with Liz on this.

We’ve already had a lot of fun with it and we’ve overcome some obstacles. When it comes to empowering people internally, we are focusing on a value focused approach, which means that it’s less about kind of numbers and hitting quotas, although every good goals have numbers baked into it as well. But it’s more about understanding where we are today and equipping our team to be more inclusive and empowering our team internally. And we’re very excited to work on all the different aspects we had laid out. So we’ve been focusing on developing ERGs internally, and then we’ve been focusing on building ways forward for our clients.

If DEI is an important focus at our clients, both in terms of making sure that the support is there for recruiting and sourcing, as well as if our clients are looking to staff a DEI function, that we are focusing in on finding the best candidates for that. And we’re also just figuring out where we can improve and constantly growing and trying to make sure that we are better today than we were yesterday, and we’ll be better tomorrow than we are today.

Which I’m very excited about. Yes. And I would just want to jump in and give Robyn a huge pat on the back in this conversation just to say, that while Hirewell as a whole has led the way with the culture that continues to be inclusive, that continues to put those values first organically just because of the folks that we have on the team and what they care about

intrinsically as humans and as professionals. Having Robyn step in and organize those efforts and give people a sense of purpose, help set meaningful goals, and drive things like the creation of a mission statement and having some support and accountability to make those goals come to life.

Putting together a budget, putting together resources so that all of these values that we’re already at play and that we’re already an important part of how our employees operate, now there’s some meat behind it and we’re putting our money where our mouth is.

We’re putting our time and we’re making these investments to make sure that those values are actually in action and that they’re making a difference internally and in the lives of our candidates and in the just makeup of the organizations and the clients that we support. So having that dedicated support role within the company has really made a huge difference in the impact that we’re able to have as an organization.

Yeah, it’s been fantastic. As somebody who was on the DEI committee before we had this position, not to toot my own horn, it was great and we loved being able to do things, but it was something that was kind of hard to keep up with on top of everything else. So, because we didn’t have like one person internally to like turn to. So now I get to be that person that I was hoping that I had

wanted back when I had first started. So now I get to tell people like, “Hey listen, like I want this a event toward volunteering event” or “Our DEI committee is broken into three groups” which I will talk about in a later video. But we have recruiting initiative, volunteering and education. And whenever one of those groups needs some extra support to make sure that anybody can cross the finish line, I love that I can help out and be there for everybody.

And I’m just very excited to see where we can take this. I said I’m very excited like 16 times, which is pretty far for the course for me, I think. I’m always excited, but I’ve been over the moon since I’ve started this position and I’ve been really happy about kind of just popping in and seeing how far we’ve come in the last few months

where we were just kind of trying to figure out exactly what we wanted to do. And now that we’re pushing forward and pushing outwards instead of inwards, I’m very excited about seeing where we can take our clients as well as internally. Absolutely. I’m excited too. And I’m excited as you know, someone that is personally invested in the employee experience here. But also, these values in action really do make a meaningful impact on the success

of the organization. The research shows and you can look up any number of studies and articles in different places. But we know for a fact that engaged employees are successful employees. We know that diverse, equitable and inclusive communities, professional communities are more innovative.

They are more successful, that it results in a level of engagement and reach and diversity of thought that results in better deliverables, better results, better collaboration. These things make a business impact as well. And so that’s part of the lens that I am able to come alongside and support Robyn through, is just making sure that we are doing good in the world, but we are also by doing that good, making an impact on the success of the business as well.

Because we are business that exists. And by being successful, we have more opportunities to amplify voices and create meaningful opportunities for underserved communities and support our clients and our candidates create new pathways, career pathways for people, platforms, representation.

We have the ability to do that as we succeed and that is just sort of virtuous cycle of success. So being part of these things, you know, it matters on a human level. It matters doing good in the world. It matters because that’s what we value as individuals. But it also matters because this is the pathway to being a successful and profitable organization.

It’s essential to our survival and our success. So thank you for the effort that you’re putting in Robyn and it’s exciting to see, you know, how the passion and the investment of our Hirewell employees into these initiatives really is taking shape and making a difference.

Yeah. And I love talking about it. So I’m definitely going to be over the next few episodes. So the DEI Download to kind of take a step back from this initial introduction video, the DEI download is basically going to be talking about the hesitancy that a lot of companies have about setting up a DEI function.

So we’re going to talk a little bit about how we’ve set up ours. We’re going to talk about how we’ve seen other companies set up theirs. We’re going to talk about different parts of DEI, breaking down the different aspects of what each letter means and different ways that companies can set up programs that help. So stay tuned for the next few videos.

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