Circa Practices What It Preaches
“We are not all the same. We bring our own experiences, backgrounds and thinking to our work. These differences are valuable assets. Difference works.” – Circa’s manifesto
For more than 25 years, Circa has connected organizations with the employees they need to thrive. Since then, Circa evolved in step with emerging business needs and a fast-changing workforce to solve diversity recruiting and compliance challenges for some of the country’s most innovative companies.
But Circa doesn’t just recommend diversity recruiting programs for others – it has taken a careful, holistic approach to bring inclusive, equitable practices home, to all aspects of its business.
“We believe diverse teams have the power to transform business,” said Roselle Rogers, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Circa.
Companies that invest in diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI) practices often see significant growth and financial gains. But beyond the numbers lies a much greater benefit. When you recognize and value the contribution of people with different backgrounds, experiences, capabilities, and perspectives, you attract top talent and innovation soars.
According to McKinsey & Company
And Harvard Business Review research indicates 70% of diverse companies are more likely to capture new markets
Circa is taking a six-prong approach to elevate diversity, equity and inclusion in its own ranks and has already found great success.
One: Talent Acquisition
To diversify Circa’s talent pipeline and make sure the people hired are reflective of the available represented talent pool, Circa looked inward to make the hiring process more inclusive. The Circa hiring team leveraged their candidate matching software product and leveraged relationships with community partners in Circa’s Outreach Management System. Circa also developed hiring relationships with new organizations such as i.c.stars that works with low-income young adults, providing them with employment opportunities.
“We’ve partnered with several organizations for our own recruiting, and it has started to pay off. We’re definitely seeing an increase in the number of diverse candidates self-identifying while applying to open positions within our pipeline,” said Rogers.
As part of the process to make selection and hiring more inclusive, Circa revamped disposition codes, revisited minimum qualifications and updated job descriptions to remove bias. So far, this has been a success. The number of minority and women applicants has risen significantly. In fact, 50 percent of women and 45 percent of people of color interviewed this year received job offers.
“We’re diversifying our applicant pipeline and confident we will see this yield even more hires by the end of the year,” said Rogers.
Two: Training & Development
Increasing the diversity of Circa’s employee base is the beginning. Creating an inclusive work environment meant stepping up training and development. The company ramped up training by rolling out foundational courses such as Building an Inclusive Workforce and Inclusive Hiring to all managers and employees. The company celebrated awareness events such as Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Hispanic Heritage Month. But this went deeper than just celebrations. Circa conducted small-group discussions to delve into racial equity and relevant, urgent topics.
“These discussions are the perfect opportunity to educate employees on race and racial inequity,” said Rogers.
As part of Black History Month, Roselle Rogers set up for all employees a private screening and after-show talkback session on the documentary Growing Up Milwaukee, filmed in Circa’s hometown. The film documents the challenges of three Black Milwaukee youths to help viewers build empathy and see the world from their eyes. After the showing, Circa employees joined an interactive virtual discussion with the film’s producer, Tyshun Wardlaw, and Marquell Jenkins, who was featured in the film. Not only did employees have the chance to learn why Wardlaw made the documentary and the issues facing the youths, one of Circa’s employees ended up connecting Jenkins with a meaningful job at a family member business in Milwaukee.
“Amazed and inspired to action,” said a Circa employee during the talk-back session, echoing responses from many others.
Three: Community Investment
“We identified multiple avenues where we can impact the community positively,” said Rogers. “We’re targeting diverse populations and organizations that can benefit – and providing ways for our employees to get involved.”
One of Circa’s community partners is the United Way. Circa employees raise funds for and volunteer their time with the United Way, including at a recent event where employees compiled card decks with racial equity messaging meant to inspire dialogue and then distributed them to organizations such as schools.
Four: Supplier Diversity
Ensuring supplier diversity is an important part of a diverse organization. Circa is actively working to increase the number of diverse suppliers and percentage of dollars spent with diverse suppliers. The company established a Supplier Diversity Code of Ethics, which is now a signatory requirement to do business with Circa.
“A significant number of our existing suppliers have already signed our Supplier Code,” said Rogers.
Five: Employee Experience
Creating an environment where all employees can be their authentic selves and thrive doing so starts at the top. Circa’s CEO and President Patrick Sheahan signed the CEO Action Pledge for Diversity & Inclusion, committing to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace. A unique coalition of nearly 2,000 CEOs have signed on to this commitment, agreeing to take action to cultivate environments where diverse experiences and perspectives are welcomed. Circa also joined the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) Region of Choice initiative, committing to increase workplace diversity in metro Milwaukee.
At the same time, Circa has changed its benefits to be more inclusive and family friendly. This includes paid parental leave for both men and women, along with unlimited paid time off (PTO) and flexible work schedules.
Six: A Customer and Employer Brand Leader
Circa is committed to being a thought leader in diversity and inclusion. It regularly issues position statements on racial justice and social equality workplace topics. Examples include supporting the HR Policy Association’s position on Executive Order 13950, which opposed and called for the withdrawal of Executive Order 13950 combating race and sex stereotyping. Hours after the Derek Chauvin verdict, the company welcomed the guilty verdict in George Floyd’s murder trial and commends the 12 Minnesota jurors who upheld the rule of law.
As a company that believes in the transformative power of diversity, Circa is steadfast in its belief that people are all created equal – and that all employees should be treated equitably. Through this six-pronged approach, Circa is building a more competitive, innovative and high-performing workforce – and simultaneously being more successful helping its clients do the same.
“We’re not just talking the talk for our clients. We’re walking the walk with them as well. We’re all at different points on this journey of building and growing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. As fellow travelers, we share a kinship with other companies on this path and learn from each other’s experiences,” said Cathy Hill, Vice President of Marketing, Product Management.
Circa is a catalyst for 21st century organizations to build high-performing diverse teams based on research that shows companies want to shift from diversity as a program to diversity as a business strategy. Circa’s robust portfolio of software solutions and unparalleled industry expertise give employers the tools and knowledge they need to radically change how they approach talent acquisition and management. The company was founded in 1994, has 4,500+ customers, 15,500 community partner relationships and in 2020 posted 5M+ jobs through its network of 600+ online employment websites.