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The Resilient Recruiter

Mar 10, 2020

Diversity and inclusion is an important topic to discuss in the world of recruitment. Raj Tulsiani and Steve Baggi founded their recruitment firm with the goal and aim of helping organizations broaden their horizons and to hire a more diverse workplace. Doing so not just for diversity’s sake, but to lead to competitive advantage, increased business value, and diverse perspectives to drive innovation. 

Raj is uniquely qualified to tackle this subject. Not only is he a minority business owner himself, but a hugely successful entrepreneur. His firm Green Park is the 5th fastest growing recruitment company in the UK, with revenues just over £90,000,000 (about $117m USD). They’re listed by the Financial Times as one of the fastest-growing companies in Europe, and the only recruitment company to make the Sunday Times Fast Track in 2019.

Raj Tulsiani has become one of the UK’s leading figures in executive search, interim management, workforce planning, and diversification. He has over 20 years of experience moving the dial on leadership, talent and diversity and is the author of ‘Diversity and Inclusion for Leaders: Making a Difference with the Diversity Headhunter.’

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:41] Raj’s journey in recruitment
  • [3:02] What key milestones facilitated their growth?
  • [10:34] The reality of achieving diversity and inclusion
  • [16:47] What challenging a customer involves
  • [24:37] How Green Park developed its CREED
  • [33:22] Lessons learned from the last recession

Diversity and inclusion has been in their DNA since day 1

Raj and his co-founder Steve Baggi “wanted to work for an organization who accepted diversity and inclusion in their actions—not just in their aspirations and in their marketing. They couldn’t find an employer that embodied their values, so they started their own recruitment firm on the 4th of August in 2006. 

They set up their business with the goal of helping people make diversity and inclusion more meaningful. A good customer was someone who wanted diversity but didn’t know how to get it or weren’t as inclusive as they thought. They committed to looking at the world through the intersection between brand, recruitment, and diversity. 

They invested in technology and research to back them up. It enabled them to hire and retain better talent and be more relevant in the marketplace. It afforded them a platform to be able to challenge poor behaviors they saw that needed to be corrected. 

How do they achieve diversity? 

Raj notes that he articulates it more clearly in his book, but for the purpose of a simple definition: when they talk about diversity they mean someone who is an ethnic minority, a woman, or someone who has a physical disability. Green Park placed a new diverse leader on a board every 8 days and their goal is to be able to achieve that daily by 2025. 

They have placed 35% ethnic minorities in board roles against a national average of 6% and over 50% women against an average of mid-’40s in the rest of the marketplace. Their goal is to provide a customer with a broader choice than they’d receive anywhere else. They want clients who prefer someone relevant to the problems they’ll face in the future. 

There is a high level of institutional prejudice in the marketplace. They are passionate about helping organizations build advocacy and deal with underlying disparities in outcomes. They want to develop relationships and help them understand the world differently. They come with a commitment to being different—and know they won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. 

Challenging your customers to new viewpoints

They believe that you can’t compete without having a true identity. Green Park’s view is that “forward-thinking, modern organizations require a wider, more considered choice—a diverse group of thinkers with a greater breadth of perspectives to drive ideas and spur innovation”. They want their clients to learn to look at the world in a way that gives them a broader choice.

If Raj sees disparities in how someone is treated in the selection process, he won’t hesitate to bring it to their attention and sees it as his duty. He once had a client ask, point-blank, “Why are there so many ethnic minorities on the short-list?”. It left Raj's team speechless, after all—isn’t that what people come to them for? 

He asked Raj how to address it. His response was “We’ve given you the best people that we’ve found and it happens that 40% of them are ethnic minorities' '. They had done their due diligence and the necessary research and they were all qualified candidates.

The Green Park CREED: Courage, Rigor, Empathy, Energy, and Diversity

Raj was clear that the business chose the values they operate on. As they built it, it became more apparent what was important to them. They are courageous with candidate and client feedback. Rigor and gaining a deeper understanding of customer’s needs are high on the list. Embodying empathy and the ability to come alongside a candidate dealing with a difficult transition into a placement is crucial.

Above all, they want to represent the diversity that is already in the world. We both wholeheartedly agree that inclusion is a basic human right. If an organization doesn’t understand or agree with that fact, they can find someone else to do their search. In Raj’s words,“We don’t want to be a conduit for great talent into leaky buckets”. 

To hear our in-depth discussion on diversity and inclusion and how it impacts a business’s competitive advantage and increased business value—listen to the whole episode of the Resilient Recruiter. 

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