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How to Get Diversity and Inclusion Right: Lessons from Dell

Posted by
Nupura Ughade
October 31, 2022

Three out of 4 job seekers and employees report that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating job offers.

Subsequently, diversity and inclusion are high priorities for most organizations. Diverse backgrounds and perspectives are naturally an important part of any team. But, even the data suggests it's good for business, with a proven impact on profitability (according to research by McKinsey).

Implementing a diversity and inclusion strategy; however, is easier said than done.

While many organizations struggle, though, some well-intentioned organizations take on ambitious DE&I goals, and work hard toward succeeding at them. This is especially true for our friends at Dell. We recently spoke to Dell’s head of diversity talent acquisition, Gabe Rodarte-Miller, about their unique strategy and how they’ve been able to leverage it for game-changing results.

(Want to watch our entire chat with Dell? Check out the full replay here.)

To help you make the right DE&I plan for your organization, check out these insights from our conversation with Gabe.

The Dell Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) Framework

This framework is critical to Dell’s implementation of DE&I hiring strategies, including well-planned goals and specific programs implemented to achieve those goals. There are two (2) important steps to this framework.

Step 1: Cultivating diversity and inclusion through goals

Creating clear goals provides a definitive ‘finish line’ (even if it’s temporary) for all teams to work toward. As you can see below, Dell has four core “moonshot goals’ they’re aiming to achieve by 2030. 

Dell's 2030 Moonshot goals

Let’s look specifically at “cultivating inclusion” as a goal. By 2030, the Dell team has set out to achieve:

  • 50% of the global workforce and 40% of people leaders will be individuals who identify as women
  • 25% of the U.S. workforce and 15% of U.S. people leaders will be Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino minorities

The lack of women in tech has been a prominent problem for years. Women constitute only 34.4% of the entire workforce at the top 5 tech companies (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft). Dell is committed to making it easy for women to step into their culture and thrive.

Specifically, Dell has implemented the following initiatives:

  • Skill enhancement and mentorship support: A dedicated program that equips high-performing women with the skills and mentors they need to excel in their careers
  • Women’s Entrepreneurship Network (DWEN): A network of entrepreneurial women around the world to share best practices, opportunities, and resources to help scale their businesses.

Since 2010, DWEN has impacted 75,000+ women in business globally.

These initiatives ensure that everyone in the organization is heard, understood, respected, and that they are empowered to influence the company’s direction.

Executive support is essential to reaching goals

While Gabe set the framework, CEO Michael Dell played an integral role in defining their goals. These goals were a truly combined effort between senior leadership and talent acquisition at the company. With the knowledge that their executive team was not only on board, but leading the charge, the TA teams were free to take the steps and make the partnerships necessary to achieve these goals.

Maybe it’s too late for your CEO to set new goals, but it always helps to get executive leadership in your corner for diversity and inclusion initiatives. But how? 

For starters, look at your organization’s current overarching goals and know how diversity and inclusion can help your organization achieve them more quickly or successfully. Make these connections easy to grasp quickly, and get them in front of your C-suite for verbal and/or official buy-in. 

If you have an especially eager executive team that is looking for more ways to get involved, nonprofit volunteer opportunities abound right now. Here are several organizations to consider: 

Step 2. Setting the goals? Check. Now, how do we achieve them?

Goals are critical, but clear steps to achieve them are essential for all the pieces within your organization to make meaningful progress on those goals. One big impediment is a misunderstanding of DE&I as simply hiring people from certain communities or backgrounds to meet goals. 

Instead, it’s about hiring the best people for your jobs, regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation. In many instances, equal opportunity simply hasn’t existed for many. Effective DE&I strategies ensure that everyone has an equal seat at the table.

At Dell, Gabe and his team developed unique programs to specifically attract a diverse set of candidates and expand their talent pool. 

Dell's diversity and inclusion programs

Dell focused on three initiatives to kick start their diversity and inclusion hiring: 

1. Diversity pillars

Dell started by identifying diversity pillar leads that focus on:

  • Minorities such as Latinos, African Americans, and members of the LGBTQ+ community
  • Genders
  • Disabilities
  • Veterans

Each diversity pillar lead focuses on identifying channels to attract diverse talent. For example, Dell partners with universities or conferences where they can meet diverse candidates, screen qualified candidates, and pass them on to recruiters. So far, diversity pillars have proven to be a great inbound sourcing channel for Dell.

2. Ambassador programs

Dell introduced ambassador programs to connect candidates with current employees of similar backgrounds and experiences. Speaking with someone who understands your experiences gave the candidates a flavor of the company’s culture and increased their chance of proceeding with an opportunity at Dell. For example, a working mother interviewing with Dell can connect with a working mother already employed to understand various aspects of life at the company. 

3. Referrals from Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

Nearly half of all Dell team members are involved in at least one Employee Resource Group (ERG). ERGs are communities that bring together like-minded individuals from across the globe to share, learn, and grow together. Dell has 13 ERGs with 470 chapters in 76 countries across 4 regions of the world. Sourcing referrals from these ERGs is another way to ensure that the talent pool is diverse and inclusive.

Leveraging technology to achieve diversity hiring goals

When implemented successfully, diversity recruiting strategies can result in thousands of additional candidates entering your database. But screening, interviewing, and communicating with all of these candidates can be overwhelming (or even impossible) for many organizations. 

Dell (along with many other successful companies today) leverages Sense technology to specifically overcome these challenges, by: 

  • Automating thousands of candidate messages from screening to interview scheduling (and much more)
  • Automating post-interview follow ups to ensure that candidates received timely communication from Dell, helping to reduce candidate drop-off
  • Engaging with silver medalists (candidates who may not have been a fit for one role, but were potential fits for other roles within the company) and recommending relevant jobs

By leveraging automation and AI in a strategic way, Sense technology was integrated seamlessly into Dell’s DE&I and recruiting strategies – helping them make significant progress toward their “moonshot goals” (and more).

Sense is an AI-driven talent engagement platform that empowers recruiting teams throughout the talent engagement lifecycle. If you’re looking for ways to leverage AI and automation to improve core recruiting metrics, similar to Dell, check out our recruiting automation playbook for talent leaders and recruiters.

And if you have any specific questions or would like to see the Sense platform in action, click here to schedule a demo with our team.

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