As the voice of the business community, a convener, and information hub for our members; the Yountville Chamber recognizes we must be a leader and intentional about seeking the input and engagement of diverse groups.  We are working to create a welcoming environment for all people regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age or ability.

We have partnered with Tauri Laws-Phillips to create a series of guest blogs addressing topics in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion

Tauri is an Austin based mother, comedienne and brand marketer. With over 10 years as an improviser and corporate facilitator, she practices the basic tenets of improv throughout her professional career with building cohesive teams, innovative ideation and precision execution. She has developed diversity and inclusion training for companies in multiple verticals with a focus on unconscious bias. Tauri is currently a mentor for SKU Brand Accelerator and contractor building several small brands, formerly the Vice President of Marketing for American English Haircare and has worked to build and market brands for Unilever and Southwest Media Group.

Often when the topic of diversity hiring practices arises, people get uncomfortable. I get questions about quotas, reverse racism and the dreaded legal issues. Every so often someone ventures to explain how there isn’t a viable pool of educated applicants. That is the easiest to dispel. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Black women are the segment of Americans most likely to have an advanced degree. As for the other questions, the easiest solution is to ensure your pool of candidates is as diverse as your desired audience.  To truly understand your audience, you should have decision makers who understand your customer. 

As for reverse racism and quotas, no, don’t enter legal issues. However, doing the work to ensure you have a broader candidate field and make hiring decisions that are equitable, you will have a more diverse team with more diverse voices. 

It is important to note that hiring practices are all for not, if your culture can’t retain talent. Be sure that you are addressing equity and diversity internally. Ensure that all employees are able to be comfortable and have a voice in your business. 

When you have made the decision that you are looking to diversify your team and a position becomes available, check your personal bias. If you are worried about a culture fit, adjust your culture. If conversations swing in a direction that other genders, races, socio-economic status’ or sizes would be around…it’s time to address your culture. It is very possible that not everyone is comfortable. Next be transparent with your Human Resources person and recruiter. Be intentional in finding a diverse pool of applicants and note it within your job postings. 

“Why include it in my posting?” You asked. Well, job applicants with diverse backgrounds, often search social media feeds, job review boards and websites to find out if companies have a good track record with diversity. If you don’t have credibility there, you may not get those applicants. Sometimes simply including, “candidates with diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply” increases the pool of applicants. Also, when writing your job postings, consider how your ideal candidate is described. Women are less likely to apply to jobs where they don’t have 100% of the qualifications. Be mindful of communicating what is essential and what qualifications are a bonus. 

Widening your net of available areas is also an easy way to pull in more applicants. 

For the Yountville area, opening your application pool to Oakland and San Francisco greatly increases your possible pool of diverse applicants. Considering a small relocation package for more senior roles, is also a great incentive. Side note, you may have missed this…it’s worth switching up the imagery on your website and social media feeds. Ideally, you should showcase the diversity you have. If not, simply including diverse people in your feed and on your website is a signal that people are welcomed and that you are mindful of creating a culture that includes them. This is true for your customers as well as prospective employees. 

Now, you have a great pool of qualified candidates. Assess the way you connect with candidates, what makes them a good fit. If you think of culture fit, give some time to considering the fit a new different voice will give.  A culture fit can lead to a “like me” bias, being aware of that can open your team to new voices. 

To Recap:

  1. Make a decision to diversify your team. 
  2. Add diverse images to your website and social media. 
  3. Assess your culture and make it more inviting for everyone. 
  4. Communicate diversity goals to hiring managers and Human Resources. 
  5. Communicate your diversity goals in employment listings and be mindful of qualifications.
  6. Increase your outreach to increase the number of diverse applicants.