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DEI Leader: 3 Easy Steps To Attract Diverse IT Talent

Mark Haranas

At XChange 2022, The Channel Company’s DEI leader, Cass McMann, offers three simple tips around how solution providers can attract and retain a diverse employee base.

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The Channel Company’s DEI leader Cass McMann

The Channel Company’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) expert, Cass McMann, explained to attendees at XChange 2022 the three simple tips that solution providers can do inside their organization to attract and retain top diverse talent.

“The No. 1 thing that the channel is looking for is to have more inclusive job postings,” said McMann, DEI Community Leader at CRN parent The Channel Company. “Candidates want to see inclusive and gender-neutral language, right? We want to make sure that we are attracting people from a wide spectrum of potential candidates rather than [pushing them away] by the language we’re using inside of our job postings.”

McMann said solution providers looking to attract a diverse talent pool should take a hard look at the language used in job postings, which can sometimes chase away potential candidates.

[Related: 10 Important DEI Trends For The Channel]

For example, The Channel Company has added a small disclaimer at the bottom of its job postings that reads, “The Channel Company values differences because they enhance dynamic teams. We know that the confidence gap can get in the way of connecting with the best candidates. Please do not hesitate to apply—we would be honored to connect with you.”

“Just by doing this, we have expanded the people in the talent pool that we are getting from our job postings,” said McMann. “We want to make sure that people are going to apply. So we want to encourage them, even if you don’t check all the boxes, we want to encourage you to apply. Because you might not get this job, but we’re growing and expanding, so you might get a job that we will have for you in the future.”

Remove Names From Resumes

Another easy step to create a more diverse employee base as a solution provider is to remove the candidate’s name from resumes during the interviewing process.

“All of us have a little bit of bias in us. So maybe we go to LinkedIn. … Some of us go to LinkedIn when we get an application, we want to see a little bit about them. When we see their face—that leads to less inclusion because it puts our bias in the forefront,” said McMann.

Derek Nwamadi, CEO of Quantum Symphony, agreed with McMann, saying his company even goes a step further.

“It’s not just hiding the name—the ZIP code also makes a difference if someone is trying to get a job locally,” said Nwamadi. “Somebody sees your ZIP code and it can turn a job recruiter away for interviewing you.”

Dallas-based Quantum Symphony actively reaches out to high-school and college students who are concerned that they’re not going to be able to get a job based on their name or ZIP code.

“So we bring them on as interns to learn and make sure that whatever time they spend with us and whatever they need to get out of it, we can help. And if we grow enough, we’ll bring them on as our actual employees,” said Nwamadi. “If not, we give them training so they know about cybersecurity, and we can be used as a reference point for their next move. … Because our job is to get you exposed and keep exposing yourself until you get to the knowledge base that gets you to that higher level.”

Affinity Groups

The third thing a solution provider can do to retain diverse IT talent is to create affinity groups.

McMann said affinity groups made up of employees play a vital role in ensuring an inclusive environment where all are valued, included and empowered.

“Affinity groups are meant to build connections, foster collaboration—it’s a place where people can come together and learn leadership to drive better business outcomes as well,” said McMann.

XChange 2022 takes place this week in Denver. For full coverage of XChange 2022, click here.

Mark Haranas

Mark Haranas is an assistant news editor and longtime journalist now covering cloud, multicloud, software, SaaS and channel partners at CRN. He speaks with world-renown CEOs and IT experts as well as covering breaking news and live events while also managing several CRN reporters. He can be reached at mharanas@thechannelcompany.com.

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