Recruiting a Diverse Staff

April 14, 2016

Simmons academic campus

A message from the President's Office with Vice President of Talent & Human Capital Strategy (THCS) & Title IX Coordinator, Regina Sherwood

This week, Vice President of Talent & Human Capital Strategy (THCS) & Title IX Coordinator, Regina Sherwood, and I describe some of the College’s efforts to hire a more diverse staff and to then provide mentoring and support to welcome them effectively into our community.


An inclusive workplace is one in which everyone recognizes and respects each other’s differences. As we seek to apply consistent and scalable recruiting practices across the organization, it is important to emphasize that our aspirations need to support and embrace multiple dimensions of diversity: age/generation, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, disability status, gender and gender identity or expression, religion, sexual orientation, Veteran status, etc.

To truly support diverse members of the community, our faculty and staff are expected to continue to foster an environment in which all of our community members are valued and respected.

Staff Recruiting Strategies and Educational Support

The hiring process at Simmons for staff roles is decentralized. At any given point in time with active job postings, more than 30 hiring managers and employees can be involved in the staff recruiting and sourcing process. THCS is committed to supporting department hiring managers and staff in applying strategies and educational resources to recruit a more diverse staff for the College. Here’s how we intend to do it:

  1. Consistency in our recruiting language and practices to support diversity and inclusion at Simmons College.
    • Our diversity language needs to be consistently and actively applied in job postings and advertisements for external candidates at all levels and ranks. THCS has been working with hiring managers on diversity statements within job descriptions that affirm our commitment to a diverse candidate pool. 
    •  Create job announcements, particularly for senior staff positions, that highlight Simmons’s preference for candidates with demonstrated experience working on issues of diversity.
    • Prioritize candidates who have experience with diversity and inclusion initiatives in their work history.
      Support our community with diverse recruiting best practices by investing in professional, third-party, Recruiting Certification Training for all College Recruiters.
    • Ensure that search committees for senior level positions represent diverse individuals. 
  2. Ensure search committees, department leaders, and hiring managers have a “Diversity Toolkit” comprised of guidelines and resource materials to support inclusive searches and recruiting techniques for attracting diverse candidates. The Toolkit would include:
    • Pre-search strategies that support broadening outreach and sourcing efforts for finding diverse candidates.
    • Techniques for conducting direct sourcing search capabilities for identifying diverse candidates.
    • Guidance on sourcing and leveraging personal and professional networks across the College to help recruit diverse candidates.
    • Resource lists and directories of diverse organizations and publications for posting of job opportunities.
    • Effective interview questions and guidelines for search committees, which help avoid potential barriers and biases in search processes and reinforce an inclusive and open mindset.
  3. Leverage technology and data management to support sharing applicant data and demographics, as well as centralizing decisions on candidate selection.
    • With the continued implementation of a centralized application tracking system, Workday Recruiting, we will soon have the ability to:
    • Centralize decisions on candidate selections and share feedback with various members of the community in the selection process.
    • Centralize the College’s resume database, enabling hiring managers to consider diverse candidates for multiple roles throughout the year.
    • Enable THCS to share the race and ethnicities of candidates who voluntarily disclose that information, providing candidate pipelines to staff hiring teams.
    • Track and report metrics for increasing our outcomes and accountability in hiring diverse candidates. 

Mentoring and Welcoming Support for Staff and Faculty

It is important for faculty and staff to actively and consciously support new staff in order to retain, welcome, and embrace them. Informal mentoring programs are a good way to enhance new employee onboarding, improve employee retention, and appeal to external candidates. Here are two ways we intend to implement these initiatives:

  • Collaborate with the Diversity & Inclusion Council to identify potential members for an Onboarding and Retention Council.
  • The Council would coordinate affinity groups and other individuals that would provide support services for new hires. For example, a welcoming committee would be formed to partner with new staff and faculty members to help them acclimate to the College, navigate the culture, and to provide other support services.

Moving Forward

Over the summer, THCS will be preparing facilitated trainings on conducting more inclusive searches and developing a brief Toolkit on the items outlined above.

Throughout the fall, a series of online trainings will be shared with faculty and staff on building and sustaining an inclusive and respectful workplace.

Collectively, we believe these initiatives will provide the resources and support necessary to advance the critical mission of improved staff diversity recruiting.