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CDO: Chief Diversity Officer

The world around us is changing. And it is changing fast. People, corporates and the governments should try to actively respond to this change. Because in today’s competitive world, if you aren’t quick to respond and then act. The market leaves you behind.

A new change that we got to see was increased awareness and the will to stand up against cultural wrongs. What started with Black Lives Matter, manifested itself in changed habits and behaviours of individuals and corporates alike. Be it Johnson & Johnson scrapping Clean and Clear or Fair and Lovely being rebranded.

These small changes go around to make a loud impact, as when people see positive cultural behaviour by the company, they unknowingly improve the company’s brand standing when compared to competitors. And in some industries, even a small push goes to make a large impact.

But all this talk has pushed forth a new idea.

A Chief Diversity Officer.

Many companies are experiencing pressure to get serious about DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) from staff, partners, customers, and suppliers. But what, specifically for your business, has changed? Do you come out of a crisis or do you try to avoid one? Whatever the case, be upfront and frank with candidates about why you are ramping up your DEI activities and where your organisation is on its path towards inclusion.

According to the Glassdoor Employment & Recruiting Trends for 2020 Research, it's a battle for top DEI talent right now. Chief economist Andrew Chamberlain added, "We plan to see a surge of recruiting for executives and managers in 2020 and beyond that will help advance the goal of creating a more diverse and equitable workforce."

Recall that this is a new subject area for much of the business world: In the 1980s, Corporate America was using diversity preparation mostly to defend from civil rights litigation. This is a growing sector which has not always had the staffing, support and dedication it needs. So companies, rather than finding direct senior DEI leadership experience, look for people with wider backgrounds

People with experience in promotions, advertising, or communications could be a perfect match. Consider individuals who have been informal D&I supporters or have worked as an executive mentor for an employee support community, more explicitly. To do this job, one does not have to be a career HR specialist, just a visible zeal and enthusiasm for the role.

Walmart’s chief culture, diversity, and inclusion officer, Ben Saba-Hasan, had a long track record as an IT leader before he stepped into his current role. Tony Prophet, the chief equality and recruiting officer at Salesforce, has a background that includes marketing and operations. Damien Hooper-Campbell, Zoom’s recently appointed and first-ever chief diversity officer, has spent time in finance. And Renée Tirado, the former global head of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Gucci, was once a chief operating officer.

This tells us that there is no set path or work trajectory for this role and the only criteria for this role is what we stand for. So do you think that CDOs will be the coveted job titles that young graduates would aspire to hold? Or will it be just a fad?

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