3 Takeaways on Diversity: What I Learned at the From Day One Conference

With 2020 right around the corner, we must have 20/20 vision with our future diversity initiatives. The From Day One conference, held December 11th in Los Angeles, focused on diversity strategies. Here are 3 key lessons I learned from top-in-class diversity leaders.

1. Trust the Benefits, Trust the Research, and Take Action

I attended the Panel Discussion Getting Bias Out of Our Systems with panelists from CAA, Novartis, Southern California Edison, Joonko, and Control Risks. I learned that getting bias out of an individual or an entity takes a long time. It requires systemic change and “Educating a System,” not just changing individual attitudes. As diversity & inclusion leaders, it’s imperative to educate the system well enough to penetrate an inclusive framework. 

As you can imagine, this will take time.

According to Marion Brooks, VP of Diversity & Inclusion at Novartis, a well-rounded diversity initiative for your company is just an inch away with the right tactics. By fully grasping the benefits of diversity and trusting the research that has been done, you can solidify your strategy for leading this process.

Benefits:What are the known benefits of diverse teams?

  1. Higher Revenue
  2. Greater Innovation
  3. More Customer Needs Met

What the Research Says:

You can’t increase your diversity hiring with token efforts to diversify your talent pool. You need to make sure you have significant representation at the top of your talent funnel. According to the Harvard Business Review, if you only have one woman or one person of color in a slate of candidates, there is no chance statistically that they will be hired. Unconscious Bias is just too strong. But if at least two women or people of color are in the slate of candidates, the odds of hiring a diverse candidate goes up to 50% or more. By simply diversifying the final candidate pool, you can diversify your workforce.

The Strategy: 

Novartis’s Diversity Guideline: Novartis created a new Hiring Guideline in which they will make it a requirement to have at least one woman, and at least one person of color in the final candidate pool. This will launch on January 1st, 2020. 

Lesson Learned: We have statistics available, scholars have done research, and it is our responsibility to make something out of their efforts by implementing diversity initiatives. 

Speaking of using statistics… this leads me to the second lesson learned.

2. Use the Data, and Analyze the Insights

I sat in the Creating a Data-Driven D&I Strategysession presented by Anoop from SeekOut. I learned from my very own CEO that “big data is eating the world today”. Data and the insights they provide drive how CEOs and leaders run their businesses; data determines whether our businesses die, survive, or thrive.

The D&I sphere is a hugely rich and complex space that requires actionable insights backed by data to make informative decisions for your business. Data and AI can be used in the D&I space by leadership AND individuals to use as guidelines on how they can be better at our jobs every day and excel at the work that we do. 

Examples of Useful Data in the D&I space:

    % of diverse employees at your company
  1. Diversity stats of your competitors
  2. % of diverse employees by function% of diverse “data scientists” talent in a specific city/region% of diverse employees by title 

In the recruiting and talent acquisition space, data can be used to form concrete goals and solidify strategy. Tools like SeekOut can help you find all the data points above. Bringing us back to my first lesson from 1. Trust the benefits, Trust the research, and Take action, having solid researched data to present to your manager/executive will bring you closer to implementing diversity initiatives. 

Lesson Learned: Having data as your ally is an enormous advantage in knowing where you stand in your diversity efforts.

You can watch Anoop’s Breakout Session below!

3. Finesse the Tools, Make them your Ally 

My final point that I learned was that there are a multitude of tools that are our allies in D&I. Specifically, Textio was mentioned in several speaking sessions as being able to help fix gender-biased language.

  • Textio: Textio is an augmented writing platform that connects to your Applicant Tracking System, and rids any language that keep certain groups away from applying. Textio will not rewrite your job description, but it will highlight and suggest new words. This can help reduce bias out of the hiring process and keep your strategy more thoughtful. 


  • Ongig: https://www.ongig.com/features/job-description-text-analyzer-gender#/
  • Kat Manfield: http://gender-decoder.katmatfield.com/
  • Lesson Learned: My biggest takeaway from the From Day One conference is that a diverse yet inclusive vision is not a “nice to have” but a “must have”, and that doing it right takes time and deliberate effort. Implementing diversity initiatives is complex, layered, and time-consuming. However, doing it right is worth it, and you can utilize the data and finesse the tools to set you up for success.  

    Request a Demo

    Ready to take your talent acquisition strategy to the next level? Request a demo to learn how SeekOut can help you recruit hard-to-find and diverse talent.

    Request a Demo

    Ready to take your talent acquisition strategy to the next level? Request a demo to learn how SeekOut can help you recruit hard-to-find and diverse talent.

    Request a Demo

    Ready to take your talent acquisition strategy to the next level? Request a demo to learn how SeekOut can help you recruit hard-to-find and diverse talent.