We are very lucky and excited at TCM to have had the opportunity to speak Balazs Paroczay, Balazs is Cielo’s Vice President of Global Sourcing, a globally recognized Sourcing Strategist with a passion for discovering disruptive solutions. Balazs uses his experience leading sourcing and recruitment teams to improve teams’ abilities to identify, attract, engage and activate the critical talent they need to meet their business goals. A thought leader in advanced sourcing practices and innovative talent pooling techniques, Balazs frequently speaks at conferences and shares his expertise with various global media outlets.
TCM: Don’t you think that D&I has become an HR commodity rather than a priority the last few years?
There is a certain way how things usually evolve. Starting with niche that only a few professionals deal with, then growing more into mainstream when everyone talks about it till the moment when it becomes table stake, an evidence and not a question anymore.
Employer brand, social media or sourcing, for instance, are great examples of this evolution. All the three principles are table stakes today – no one questions their importance and impact, but it needed a long time, some 10 years, to get to the current state.
D&I is mainstream today but not yet table stake.
Which means that HR professionals are aware of this phenomenon, understand the necessity of this topic, however, there are not yet universally accepted best practices about how to deal with it.
TCM: If I say LGBTQ and employment what do you say?
I would love to see more companies where being gay or a member of any minority groups is just okay. Where I would not need to look around before I talk about my weekend with my boyfriend.
The LGBTQ group should not be treated any differently in a company than its heterosexual counterpart. And I say again: any differently. No need to give exceptions or special perks for someone just because they are gay – as much, certainly, as rights should never be removed from someone because of their sexual orientation. That’s a long-long road yet to walk through…
TCM: How can recruiters do a better job at promoting diversity?
Now that’s a great question! I’m a little fighter here.
Changing a behavior is probably one of the most challenging things in a company’s life. This cannot happen by rules or policies only as you need actual and honest commitment and belief from everyone to run such a change. If your hiring manager, if your leader is not supporting but also pushing D&I, you, as a recruiter, can be powerless. And that can be massively humiliating.
I heard too many stories when recruiters were requested to reject candidates just because they were members of a certain ethnicity group or they were women or gays or transgenders (you name it!) and the manager simply could not imagine working together with them.
What can a recruiter do in these cases?
I believe they must say against to these requests. Deny the command. But also, recruiters must explain the reason why discrimination is unacceptable and why the manager would need to try and change his perceptions. Even more: companies should have educational modules in place to support these recruiters and managers so clearly, it’s not just the recruiter’s job. But again, everyone is responsible for D&I and that includes the recruiter, too.
Worst case, if the company is too stubborn to change – do resign! Leave that company behind your back. They are not worth your support.
TCM: Do you think the D&I agenda can be counterproductive at times?
No. It must be said million times till it will not need to be said anymore.
Vegetarians or people with natural red hair were subject of discrimination, too, back in the ‘80s (or at least I recall those awkward jokes from my childhood), and no one has any problem with them nowadays.
Things will change, I am confident about that, but things won’t change on their own.
TCM: What is the question you would have liked me to ask you and why?
Probably this: what is the one thing everyone can do to make the world a more inclusive place?
I’d say… Try not just ticking the D&I boxes but go deep and stay honest with all the issues your company may face. It’s OK to have D&I challenges – every company and every person has their blind spots and biases.
You, for instance, being a heterosexual, masculine male in a responsible leadership position, may feel strange towards to gays who kiss on the street… and that’s an OK starting point – but not an OK end.
It’s understandable that you may have mixed feelings, emotions that you don’t yet understand. You should not feel bad when your male identity is somewhat challenged by those folks’ male identity. Yes, it can be difficult! It’s OK that you may yet miss the recipe of accepting such a thing… but hey! recipes of acceptance can be created and learned.
Understand that a kissing gay couple brings no threat to you. Actually, they do zero harm on anyone’s life. It’s just them… kissing. Yewande Ige says it so nicely in her LinkedIn talk: we’ve all been wired to discriminate. It’s just part of life but again not the end goal of life.
The moment you feel strange towards to a person or to a group of people or to a certain type of act or behavior… don’t yet reject the thing but try to understand your emotions. Your drivers. The wires in you. Maybe you can find that missing recipe!
Interview & Editing by Pascal Derrien on behalf of Talent Cloud Media