Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Lockheed Martin Talks Diversity Hiring for Experienced Candidates & How to Build Your Talent Pipeline with Virtual Events: Webinar Takeaways

Jun 04, 2021 - Valery Caputi Lopez

With Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion hiring initiatives on the rise, TA professionals everywhere are eager to learn new ways in which to enhance DEI recruiting and make it a working part of their own talent acquisition strategy. So what better way to get inspired than to learn from a company who’s set the gold standard in diverse talent acquisition?

During this exciting and interactive webinar, we had Jason Boone, Diversity & Veteran Outreach Lead at Lockheed Martin walk us through Lockheed Martin’s philosophy for building and nurturing their diverse talent community and explain how they use virtual events to build their long-term talent pipeline.

“I’ve spent much of my career focused on military talent,” Boone explained. “Some years ago I was asked to take some of the successes and wins we had within the military community and bring those to enhance our diversity, equity, and inclusion hiring programs. We’re trying some innovative approaches, which is the Lockheed Martin way. We want to see how we can do things differently to bring diverse talent into the organization.”

Webinar Highlights

Watch our on-demand recording of the webinar now to:

  • Learn how a long-term talent pipeline that takes candidates from high-school seniors to experienced professional hires opens up greater opportunities for candidate engagement and communication personalization.
  • Find out the number of webinar participants that said DEI was a central part of their hiring roles.
  • Understand when Lockheed Martin started using virtual events to build their talent pipeline and why their familiarity with these online tools gave them the first-mover advantage during the pandemic.
  • Explore the lessons that the military offers as a diversity-rich community and see how to translate those learnings to improved engagement with diversity-based organizations and alumni groups.
  • Learn why registrant data collection during and after virtual events is a great way to expand and nurture untapped candidate pools.
  • Watch how to leverage your own company’s Employer Resource Groups (ERGs)/ Business Resource Groups (BRGs) as part of your virtual event strategy.
  • Discover the key benefits of using virtual events both now and in the future.

To watch or share the recorded webinar, click here.

Building a Strong Talent Pipeline

A vibrant talent community isn’t built in a day. So how does Lockheed Martin prime its talent community and pipeline to fuel roles from entry-level to experienced hires?

Answer: by playing the long game and meeting future experienced hires before they’ve even begun their professional careers.

“It’s about nurturing, engaging, and hyper-personalization over a long period of time,” Boone says. By engaging high-potential talent early on, such as through STEM scholarships that target diverse student populations, recruiters can get a better understanding of what these entry-level candidates want to study, where they want to work, and how those goals and aspirations change over time as they age.”

Whereas other organizations look at 6-month to 4-year candidate engagement plans, Lockheed’s long-term approach focuses on a 5-7 year outlook by design. “By building out a long-term pipeline, in 3-4 years you no longer have to worry about how to find the people you want to hire, but instead you can concentrate on thinking about how to hire the people that you’ve [already] engaged,” he asserted.

Looking Beyond the “Winners”

Another important hallmark of Lockheed Martin’s diversity hiring strategy was to not only focus on the winners of their scholarships as the only candidate pool (approx. 200 students every year), but instead to cast a wider net and look at the total number of students who applied to those scholarships (numbering in the thousands) and view that as a worthwhile emerging talent pool in itself.

As Boone explains, “it is a very diversity-rich population as we give preference for the scholarships to people of color, young women, and first-generation college students. We knew we wanted to engage this population and we noticed that if we can hire only 5% of the applicants of those scholarships, we’re going to have more total hires from that group than if we had hired 95% of the winners of the scholarships. That’s the long-term pipeline in which we engage diverse talent from entry level into experienced hires.”

Engaging Diverse Communities Through Virtual Events

The military community is already a naturally diverse population, with 10% more Latino women in the military than in the general population. From transitioning veterans to the spouses and family members that make their work possible, Lockheed Martin has long been using virtual events to reach, interview, and hire military job seekers across the United States and the world, so their extensive experience with these decentralized talent populations prepared them well for the challenges of the pandemic in reaching the other diversity-focused organizations they supported.

That includes awards and organizations like BEA (Black Engineer of the Year Award), NSBE (The National Society of Black Engineers), The Grace Hopper Celebration (for women technologists), The Society for Women Engineers (SWE), Girls Who Code, Girls Inc, oSTEM (Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), and HBCUs, with which Lockheed Martin celebrates its connections to current members and alumni alike.

Boone says, “we wanted to engage these passionate communities in a long-term virtual events strategy. When the pandemic hit, we weren’t scrambling to shift to a virtual events strategy, but rather looked into ways in which we could leverage all our recruiting efforts into existing recruiting strategies we had in different areas.”

In addition to every virtual event being meticulously tailored to the entrants in order to deliver the best guest experience, attendee and registrant information was collected at the beginning and close of each session in order to find out the interests of each qualified candidate and personalize the recruiting relationship to each individual’s goals and skill sets moving forward.

“When you can engage with a population of an event for years to come, that’s where the real connections happen [from a recruiting perspective],” Boone concluded.

Key benefits of Using Virtual Events

For Lockheed Martin, the benefits of using virtual events included (but were not limited to):

  • the ability to host holistic events that embodied the corporate culture and current diversity efforts,
  • the possibility to easily include Business Resource Groups (BRGs) to communicate culture and organizational DEI goals,
  • bringing in bigger audiences than with in-person events alone,
  • the value of anonymity for already-employed job candidates who could otherwise not have attended the event because of lack of time or resources,
  • the possibility to engage registered people that couldn’t attend as a parallel engagement strategy
  • higher acceptance rates for job offers,
  • reduced times and costs to fill open job postings
  • greater job candidate and employee engagement

Their recruitment strategy is a testament to the fact that when you engage individuals multiple ways over several years in a long-term strategy, results are better, and virtual and hybrid events are a great way to accomplish that, both now and in future.


But don’t just take our word for it. Click here to watch the full webinar and get the whole scoop.

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