Key considerations for diversity recruitment and retention
There are several key considerations when it comes to diversity recruitment and retention. The first is to form a diverse recruitment team — if there's not enough diversity in your organization for it, seek assistance from other EMAs or civilian organizations.
In additon, the following measures should be taken:
- Develop long-term relationships with community leaders of the groups you will be recruiting from, and include on team.
- Analyze current organizational culture — does it welcome diversity? If not, how do we change?
- Identify and remove obstacles in selection process.
- Identify target groups — youth organizations, churches, gyms, community centers, amateur sports teams, etc.
- Market to target groups — Posters, brochures, career days, community center visits, church/school visits, community speaking engagements and Internet.
- Reach out to diversity organizations for assistance, develop media partnerships, etc. Keep in mind that recruiters need to look like the people you want to hire.
- Market to department personnel — Conduct training on benefits of diversity as it relates to customer service and to internal leadership and professional development, involve members in recruitment, develop incentives for successful recruitment, provide on-going communications to personnel about the process, etc.
- Identify and remove obstacles in organizational systems — ensure performance appraisals reward desired behaviors, discipline and accountability, officer development programs, on-going human relations training for all personnel, policies and procedures, recognition & reward systems also need to reward inclusive behaviors.
- Establish a mentoring program.
- Provide ongoing human relations training for FD members — damage control or "what not to do" training is not sufficient.
- Develop organization reward-recognitions systems for supporting diversity.
Debra Jarvis is a retired fire chief with 28 years fire service experience in Indianapolis and the Chicago suburbs. Chief Jarvis currently consults, trains, and does research with public safety and not-for-profit organizations throughout the United States.