Q and A: Exclusive Interview with Regina Johnson

August 24, 2021 by Verified First

Q and A blog MarketCast 2021

Diversity in the workplace is a crucial topic in today’s hiring market. When coupled with equity and inclusion, the three encompass an important pillar of a well-rounded workforce. In order to enact diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, HR and talent acquisition teams must work together. However, this alliance doesn’t always come naturally. That’s why we sat down with Regina Johnson, Chief Human Resources Officer of MarketCast, for episode 8 of our HR at the Table webinar series. Together, we explored the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion and the best ways to align HR and talent acquisition on such initiatives. 

Regina Johnson is an expert within her field. As the Chief Human Resources Officer, Regina leads all MarketCast human resources and people initiatives, including shaping the employee experience, driving talent management, and building diversity and inclusion strategies with MarketCast teams around the globe.

Regina has spent her career working as a people leader for businesses that have data analytics, research, and technology at their core. Before joining MarketCast, Regina headed human resources at Western Asset Management, a global investment firm, where she established their diversity and inclusion strategy companywide. Prior to Western Asset Management, she led human resources for Spireon, an automotive analytics organization.

In her interview, Regina touched on three important questions when considering how HR and TA align on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

  • How does incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion benefit companies?
  • How can we have the hard conversations with leadership about diversity, equity, and inclusion?
  • What should recruiters do to keep diversity, equity, and inclusion in mind when hiring?

Q: How does incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion benefit companies?

Company Performance

“Well, I think the reason that diversity, equity, and inclusion still needs to be top of mind for companies, communities, and the world alike is that it really ensures that, as we think about ourselves as human beings, we’re able to bring our best selves to work, and we're able to perform. So, if I were to sum it up for companies why it's important, when we think about HR and talent acquisition, performance is really at the heart of it.

Company Values

“When we think about why [DE&I] continues to be such a prominent need, we think about what it means for a company. They have to determine their values and create the strategy and the culture through DE&I. So this goes back to thinking about DE&I as more than an HR initiative. This isn't just a single kind of approach. Companies [that incorporate DE&I] have everyone on the same page. It’s something that every person in the company should espouse, live, breathe and do.”

Company Growth

“Organizations that promote strong inclusion strategies and principles as it relates to diversity, equity and inclusion are also outperforming. They're doing right by their clients. They're growing; they're prospering. And we see that in the cultures that they essentially inspire.”

Q: How can we have the hard conversations with leadership about diversity, equity, and inclusion?

“What I would tell you, [about speaking with leadership] it depends on the leadership. Some are very open and inquisitive and welcoming of these types of concepts. Let's talk about the challenging ones - the ones that maybe can't make that connection and don't understand the value of why [DE&I] might be important. My guidance is that, as you speak, you learn to speak their language, and you then put diversity, equity, and inclusion principles in the language they understand.”

Johnson also proposed a set of questions to ask leadership in order to start the conversation, including: 

  1. Are we leveraging the true potential of a candidate’s talent?
  2. Have we really thought through what we need to do now to perform well, but also in the future?
  3. Are we really, truly prepared to make the investments needed to be able to undergo change as a business?
  4. Have we been truly thorough in bringing the right talent into the organization? Or have we only been maintaining the status quo?

Q: What should recruiters be considering when hiring with diversity, equity, and inclusion in mind?

Think differently

“Recruiters are also having to kind of look at talent and think a little bit differently. To adequately judge a candidate, maybe some of a candidate’s experiences are not exactly direct. Their skills may be transferable through non-traditional experience in a role... There are so many more diverse candidates getting advanced degrees now than there has ever been in our history. So what I would tell you is that there is more diverse talent out there. We have to be able to get really creative in finding them and learning to connect with them.

Branch out

“What I've noticed, at least within talent acquisition, is recruiters that have found success are branching out to connect with target schools. They're continuing to focus on historically black colleges or other universities that have significant, diverse talent. And [the companies] are looking at other universities that want to partner with companies and have more of a co-opportunity type of relationship. 

Build relationships

“We're also seeing recruiters really harness the power of relationships and branching out to individuals, not just for the immediate role, but looking to build that relationship, to talk about the company, to talk about the value of what it could mean to join an organization - even if they don't necessarily have [an open] role.”

Look futuristically

“Don't just do the same thing you've always been doing, because that right now is not really going to work for you. The things that are going to work for you would be to have conversations about not only what are we doing today, but what are you going to need in the next year, or next two years, and where should we also start hiring for that.”

Conclusion

Including diversity, equity, and inclusion in the hiring process requires an alignment between HR and talent acquisitions. It takes asking the hard questions and thinking outside the box to achieve. 

You can find the entirety of Regina Johnson’s interview on-demand here. For more insight, register for our next HR at the Table episode about how HR tech improves diversity in hiring with Sam Schwartz-Fenwick of Seyfarth & Shaw on September 22nd.

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