5 Steps for Connecting with New Communities

One of the best ways to connect with a diverse group of candidates is to build relationships within specific communities. As we have worked at Cinder to include more people in the workplace, we have learned that these efforts are essential to building trust and ensuring that you make meaningful changes to your organization. Here are 5 key steps for finding and engaging with a community that you are not currently attracting:

 
 

1. Identify community-specific organizations.

    • Attend and volunteer for their events.
    • Sponsor their activities.
    • Develop relationships with their members and staff.
 

2. Develop an understanding for why that community is not well-represented in your workplace.

    • Educate your organization on the types of oppression and exclusion that are embedded in your culture.
    • Ask community-specific consultants or employee resource groups (ERGs) for guidance and suggestions for increasing diversity and inclusion (while also doing your own research).
    • Get comfortable talking about what you are learning and why these changes are important.
 

3. Make your organization relevant to the community you’re trying to attract.

    • Ask yourself: what does the community need that your organization can provide?
    • Demonstrate a commitment to ongoing engagement by scheduling multiple activities over 6+ months and ask for frequent feedback.
    • Share contacts in your network and help make meaningful connections with the community group.
 

4. Include the community in your decision-making process.

    • Ensure representation includes empowerment. Avoid token hires and expect to make significant changes to how your organization operates.
    • Invest in team trainings for soft skills so that you can overcome organizational biases.
    • Identify opportunities to increase the transparency of your decision-making process to build confidence among team members.
 

5. Adjust as you continually learn – this isn’t a project you complete.

    • Don’t expect perfection and don’t cling to past decisions.
    • Ask for people’s input and build credibility by acting on it. Confirm you’ve met your objectives or find what needs to be changed.
    • Be humble and remember that impact matters more than intent. If you are being told that your changes are not meeting your goals, accept that feedback with grace!
 

There are many ways to build relationships within communities. Let us know in the comments what has worked for you! 

Paul Brown

Paul Brown

Paul is the president of Cinder and a dynamic community connector. He is passionate about creating equitable workplaces and supporting people on their EDI journeys.

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