In the summer of 2020, Fadjanie Cadet joined L.E.K. as Diversity Recruitment and Engagement Lead to support the hiring of candidates from underrepresented groups. We spoke with Fadjanie about her new role and how both staff and alumni can get involved with the initiatives she’s spearheading.
Describe for us, please, your new role and the specific goals you’ve been tasked with achieving.
My role is responsible for partnering with firm leaders and key stakeholders, both internally and externally, to create and implement business-aligned diversity recruitment strategies and programming. The goal is to ultimately diversify our candidate pipeline and build awareness for folks from underrepresented backgrounds about consulting as an industry and as a potential career path.
Why is a role like yours so important right now?
A role like mine is important at any time, but particularly now as organizations are thinking about how to best attract diverse staff and build inclusive, diverse workplaces. It’s not enough to say we want to recruit diverse staff; you really have to be thoughtful about creating an inclusive workplace. My role is unique compared to that of a typical recruiter because the needs of candidates from underrepresented backgrounds are different. Ultimately, a role like mine is incredibly important to help bring thoughtfulness to the recruiting of candidates from underrepresented backgrounds.
What sorts of diversity-focused programs and initiatives already exist within the U.S. at L.E.K.?
I will share a few examples of the important work we are taking on.
The pre-MBA program caters to students from underrepresented backgrounds, specifically Black, Latinx and Native American. It’s an initiative where students are able to get early exposure to L.E.K. and strategy consulting as a career path more broadly. We build relationships, bring them onsite (due to COVID restrictions, we have moved virtual) to meet leadership and they learn more about consulting. There are specific seminars on the consulting career path, and case interview preparation. We also provide tips and real-life examples on how to navigate business school and job searches.
It's important to note that L.E.K.’s efforts don’t stop with recruiting – we also lead annual bias awareness training for new hires and run a sponsorship program for staff from underrepresented groups.
How does the work you’re doing overlap with the firm’s global diversity initiatives such as the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee?
The purpose of the global EDI committee is to identify priorities and build a global road map as it relates to equity, diversity, and inclusion. I am a representative for the Americas region on that committee. As a new hire with substantial experience in diversity, I’m able to provide subject matter expertise and context about what has worked in the U.S.
Since you joined the firm last June, what programs or initiatives have you already launched and what do you plan to roll out next?
First, I focused on deepening partnerships with student affinity clubs on campuses where we recruit. These partnerships are valuable because we gain insight into what their students care about, how they want to partner with us, and how they interact with other firms. Together, we build strategic programming that is aligned with their unique needs. Over the last several months, we’ve leveraged the virtual environment to run panel discussions between students and L.E.K.ers in similar affinity groups. We cover topics such as: culture at L.E.K.; support, mentorship and sponsorship opportunities; and case workshop preparation. The focus is to provide the students with information about the firm and prepare them to be successful within the recruiting process.
I’ve also been continuing to build in processes and resources to mitigate bias in the candidate evaluation process. I updated the language in recruiting documents and introduced the concept of ‘culture add’ as opposed to ‘culture fit’. That means evaluating candidates based on how they add to the overall culture of the team as opposed to fitting the current culture of the team.
Another item is helping to attract more diverse senior leadership. Diverse senior leaders improve our ability to attract and retain underrepresented groups because they want to have mentors or role models that inspire them and make them feel they can attain that same level of seniority.
Finally, I am building an internal content hub to promote understanding of key terms and resources.
How can L.E.K. staff — and alumni — help to support the hiring of diverse candidates?
They can help us brainstorm non-traditional channels for building relationships with candidates. Whether that means organizations focused on diversity, student clubs they were part of, or nonprofits — really helping us think outside of the box. Another item is partnering with us on programming. Please let us know if you want to share your story or participate in our programming! Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
Lastly, it’s important to build awareness of our own biases. Consider taking the Implicit Association Test, by Harvard, and read about diversity, inclusion and unconscious bias.