Two days at a conference on leadership and I walked away with a personal action plan that will take me six months to put in place. We took our entire team of 19, but none of them noticed what I did. We’ve hired the best of the best people out there, not primarily for their skills but their passions. And because our belief and experience that passion consistently trumps skill in onboarding decisions, we became diverse purely by accident.
98% of those we serve are the poorest of the poor in our community spanning every demographic, and in our business of sheltering, homing, feeding and lifting them from their circumstances into self-sufficiency, meaningful connections with each one is imperative to accomplishment of our mission. We never intended to hire staff who have been homeless themselves, from the LGBTQ community, male, female, black, white, Asian, Hispanic or of any particular faith, but we did–now 19 times over–and many times before.
The social ideal that presumes the practice of hiring to proportionally represent demographically diverse people groups produces the best company results has never guided our staffing decisions. Hiring people whose primary qualification is a passion for hurting people is the factor solely responsible for our accidentally diverse team, because passion for helping unfortunate and underserved others has no race, color, faith or creed.
Of all my conference take-aways to enact in the next several months, ensuring our healing staff comes from every walk of life to connect with any walk of life is not one of them. Passion for and love of the underserved in our community is a team builder that transcends all other reasons for hiring and maintaining the right person for the job. And it can happen purely by accident if you let passion be your guide.