Our clients often ask how we support diversity goals at the leadership level. The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) defines diversity as, "The collective mixture of differences and similarities that includes, for example, individual and organizational characteristics, values, beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, preferences and behaviors." Diversity includes such visible traits as skin color, gender, age, physical traits, body size and type. Diversity may also include "invisible" traits such as religion, culture, sexual orientation, marital status, education and habits. According to data recently published by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), only 15.9 percent of C-suite executives identify as racial minorities.
How do we support diversity in the context of a retained executive search for the nonprofit industry?
At Gallagher, we are intentional about diversity and inclusion and support our clients at the highest levels of their organizations. We employ a comprehensive and holistic approach to our assessment of candidates' fit with our clients' cultures and needs, with a strong focus on mission and vision. Our partnership in executive search includes a thorough assessment of our client's culture, mission, vision and values, including their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy, the position needs, organizational strategy and community. The Gallagher search consultant will spend time on the front end of the search getting to know the leadership team and board. Conversations about culture and approach to achieving diversity are critical. In our initial assessment, we work to understand the client's DEI strategy and how leaders ensure this mission is embedded into all facets of the people strategy.
Our sourcing, networking, assessments and presentation of the candidate slate directly mirrors the client's current state and what leaders want to achieve. Knowing where the organization is today and where it wants to go allows us to better fill any leadership gaps with the appropriate talent. We engage in straightforward conversations and urge our clients to take a look at their existing team to see what diversity-related gaps they can fill with the new role. Diversity of thought and perspective supports higher performing teams who challenge each other to think differently, resulting in more creative solutions and a healthier, more attractive organization.
While we maintain an active and responsive network of leadership executives who represent diversity of race, gender and age, the key to our search success is original sourcing. We do not simply rely on our existing database of candidates. Clients come to us because we develop a tailored search strategy based on the organization's goals, strategic initiatives and geographic location, to uncover "passive" candidates, or those who are not actively looking. At any given time there will be individuals actively seeking alternative employment opportunities and some who are not. Active seekers typically are easier to uncover, because they want to be found. Sourcing diverse candidates who are not actively looking requires a focused, targeted effort.
Through relationships with such organizations as the Institute for Diversity and Health Equity, the National Association of Health Services Executives, the National Association of Latino Healthcare Executives, and others, we connect with diverse candidates. Should we encounter barriers during the process, we discuss these with the client so we can make timely changes to our search.
At Gallagher, we are committed to helping nonprofit organizations achieve diversity and inclusion at the highest levels of their organizations. We are intentional about understanding organizations' diversity goals and executing an appropriate search strategy that serves overall organizational wellbeing, helping the organization face the future with confidence.