Ian Jordan has successfully driven initiatives that lead to a 50-50 gender split in leadership positions in Support. Here, he tells how he began by looking at the hiring pipeline.
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Charlotte Ward 0:13
Hello, and welcome to Episode 141 of the customer support leaders podcast. I’m Charlotte Ward. I would like to welcome to the podcast today Ian Jordan. Ian, it’s your first outing on the customer support leaders podcast. Would you like to introduce yourself?
Ian Jordan 0:42
It is. Thanks for having me, Charlotte. Yeah, like, like Charlotte mentioned, my name is Ian Jordan. I’m our Director of Global support implementation and education here at huddle based out of Lincoln, Nebraska.
Charlotte Ward 0:54
That’s awesome. Lovely to have you. And this week, you’ve come to talk about how you fostered increased diversity and inclusion in your hiring process into support. Right.
Ian Jordan 1:06
Right, right. Yeah, back in
November of 2017, I stepped into a role where I started managing our support team. And at that time, we we opened up a couple leadership roles and saw a very, very small percentage of women actually apply for roles, which kind of kick started the conversation of how can we take the next steps to improve this. So really diving diving in, we found that our department was roughly 70% men 30% women, which was a direct reflection of our of our hiring pipeline. So we were hiring based on what we were recruiting into our hiring pipeline, which, which told us if we want to fix this long term, we have to start at the Foundation, and make sure that we’re recruiting the right candidates and making sure that that this is a role. That is welcome to everyone. So working in tandem with our our talent team. And working closely with leaders on our team, we developed a plan to look at look at our job posting, remove male dominant words, adjust the tone, to be more welcoming. And really make a concerted effort. When we go out and recruit to make sure that we’re we were reflecting where we want to be as as a department, we’re sending women out, we’re sending men and women out right, making sure that we’re taking those pointed steps to to get to where we want to be. If you fast forward, we’re always going to be a long process, it’s not going to be something that changes overnight. But if you fast forward, over the course of the next three 612 months, we slowly like started to see our pipeline shift, we started to see, a year after we had started all these efforts, more and more women were actually applying for our support specialist role, which then turned into continue to fast forward we now have when I stepped into the role managing our team, we were in leadership team of seven, with with one, one female on our team. By the time I moved out of that role, it was a 5050 split, which is great. We’ve got more women on our team applying for leadership roles within the tech aspect on our team more more women applying for leadership roles when it comes to manage management as well. So very proud of the work that we did. It’s not the be all end all. We’re still working through how we can continue this moving forward. But it definitely taught us a lot of lessons in terms of what it takes to bring in diversity inclusion into the
Charlotte Ward 3:24
workspace. Hmm, yeah, that’s awesome. It’s, and it’s a significant shift as well, although not a quick fix, as you said, I mean, you start seeing results, six to 12 months down the line, actually. Right. And interesting. Interestingly, you said that what you’re hiring was a direct reflection of your pipeline at the time. So it seems like as you said, that’s like really the obvious fix. What what do you what do you think would help if you’re, the people you’re hiring aren’t necessarily a direct reflection of your pipeline?
Ian Jordan 4:01
That’s a great question. Um, I would say if you if your hiring doesn’t reflect your pipeline, it’s important to analyse why that why that is every there’s not going to be a consistent answer for for why across every individual team. But I would work closely with the town squad to see where the where there might be gaps, get them involved in your your application or process your interview process, help them or utilise them to help guide you and how you can continue to make improvements so that you are hiring based on a reflection of the hiring pipeline and again, recruiting the right candidates in your organisation. I know we’ve leveraged our talent team heavily in this process. They’re the experts and we’re here to utilise their expertise to help guide us along the way.
Charlotte Ward 4:52
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. You have to you have to get everyone on the same page, don’t you and leverage On contacts, and, yeah, it’s definitely all in on on improving the pipeline. Because Because actually, you can do one or two things, and you can change the mix, like in terms of gender or ethnicity or any number of other factors that you want to diversify in that pipeline. And yet, it needs quite a lot of work to have a significant effect, I think. I mean, it’s, it seems to me, in my experience, you can, let’s just say for simplicity’s sake, right now focusing on gender in the pipeline, as something among many things that you’d like to improve and you can target, you know, women’s, I mean, does such a thing as like women’s colleges exist anymore in the US? I don’t know, I, I don’t really hear. But there are definitely colleges that have been historically, you know, female, heavy that there used to be women’s only colleges, and they still, they still have a high percentage of women scholars. So I guess if you’re hiring at that level, that’s an obvious the hiring in the places where there is more heavy weighting towards the direction, that diversity you’re trying to bring to the pipeline. So for instance, Gen gender going to those types of colleges, or whatever it is, and using the right job boards, those kinds of those kind of things. I guess that’s probably a simpler example, right?
Ian Jordan 6:25
Yeah. No, you’re right. And we’re lucky enough based on Lincoln, Nebraska, were a few blocks away from a major university. It’s got 20 to 30,000, at the time when I was in school, undergraduate students there, and I’m sure it’s more now. But one of the things that we did look at was targeting specific colleges within the university. So the School of Hospitality, restaurant tourism management was one that historically has had more women in that school study. Same with like department, or department education for like, educators, right? We’ve seen a lot of success of people coming out of like people starting to be teachers, right? come into our organisation that do really well in support, right, because they’re obviously they’re not teaching students or teaching users. So we definitely try to target those colleges as well. Not only getting involved in career fairs, but going and presenting at their classes, getting involved with different professors and making sure that we’re our name is being heard more specifically, that our department getting our name out there, and trying to make sure that our company is not just male sports dominated industry, it’s something that that can welcome everyone. And
Charlotte Ward 7:39
I think that’s a really interesting idea is targeting, let’s say industries or schools that are predominantly in this case, predominantly female, right, that might trip might traditionally I mean, the type of people that would go, let’s say, into an educators course, probably is more heavily female weighted than male would say on average, but actually almost taking them away from their, their intended career and syphoning them off into, which is, as you said, it’s a really, it’s a really great match for the same skills, but isn’t necessarily the career they visited when they went into that educators course. Right.
Ian Jordan 8:20
Exactly, exactly. And we’ve got, I’m sure a lot of other teams have this too. We’ve got a number of different dynamic backgrounds, where people start from our team simply because we we pull a lot of very talented people right from the university down the street. So we’re lucky in that sense. Yeah,
Charlotte Ward 8:37
yeah. And support is such such a transferable set of skills that you can bring from lots of other industries into support. So I really like what you said, particularly about mentioning the team, not just the organisation, these are people you want to be in support. Not necessarily, although you want them to work, just work for huddle.
Ian Jordan 8:56
Yeah, there’s a there’s a great book that our team read called the ideal team player by Patrick lencioni. That, that highlights that we built our hiring model off of in conjunction with all this that really focuses on hiring people that are humble, that are driven and that display, emotional intelligence. We found success in hiring for those three skill sets because on the technical aspect, you can layer all the knowledge that you want on top of those that they they tend to have those three, three skill sets and tends to like roll up into a really high functioning high performing team as well when you hire people with those three, three skills.
Charlotte Ward 9:36
That’s it for today. Go to customersupportleaders.com/141 for the show notes and I’ll see you next time.
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