How Under Armour Creates an Inclusive Workplace: Q&A With Bryan Kaminski


“To combat the tendency to recruit in the “same old” ways, from the “same old” places, automation can be a scalable alternative that’s easier, more cost-effective, and (most importantly) more inclusive.”

Post the #OKBoomer phenomenonOpens a new window , diversity, and inclusion (D&I) has become even more of a watchword in corporate America. Bryan Kaminski, director of talent acquisition and talent programs, Under Armour, shares what it means to build a genuinely inclusive workplaceOpens a new window , and why it matters so much. He lists the must-haves for businesses to stay competitive and shares some recruiting tactics that can help improve the diversity quotient on a global scale.

HR Technologist spoke to Kaminski to understand what companies can do to address their lack of diversity and how to make everyone from Gen ZOpens a new window to Baby Boomers feel welcome in the workplace. Kaminski also talks about the benefits of data-driven initiatives to foster technology and emerging talentOpens a new window under one roof.

Key takeaways from our interview on inclusive workplace and talent acquisition:

  • Top tips for HR leaders to retain and nurture a diverse and inclusive workforce
  • Best practices for business leaders to manage Gen Z and Millennials in the workplace
  • Trends to follow in diversity and inclusionOpens a new window in 2020 and beyond

Here’s the edited transcript from our exclusive interview with Under Armour’s Bryan Kaminski:

How can HR leaders create a workplace culture that retains and nurtures a diverse and inclusive workforce? How can technology help?

First things first, you must recruit a diverse workforce without equitable recruitment strategies, it would be difficult to attract candidates that diversify your organization. To retain your talent, your culture must truly embrace, encourage, value a wide variety of experiences and backgrounds. This starts by being deliberate in all parts of the employee experience.

For example, it’s important to us to understand the current make-up of our teams and what diversity means to a specific part of the organization. From there, we have various levers we can look at from an acquisition and a development standpoint to ensure we’re infusing diversity into the selection process for a role. Additionally, we’ve worked extensively on educating our teammates on unconscious bias and standardizing our interview processes across the organization.

On the inclusion side, we’ve worked with our employee resource groups to create strategic value for the Brand, focusing on culture, community, commerce, and career as we build out those groups’ strategic plans. Additionally, we have put a focus on the creation of individual development plans to fuel meaningful career conversions across the organization, just to name a couple.

Technology is layered on top of many of these efforts from sourcing, to tools we can use to connect teammates across offices, and others that unlock collaboration among teams.

Learn More: Why Workplace Wellbeing Initiatives Matter So Much: Q&A with Jewell Parkinson of SAPOpens a new window

In what ways can automation accelerate the objectives of improving diversity and inclusion (D&I) at the workplace post the #OkBoomer phenomenon?

To combat the tendency to recruit in the “same old” ways, from the “same old” places, automation can be a scalable alternative that’s easier, more cost-effective, and (most importantly) more inclusive. Talent is more discoverable than ever, and companies can find candidates in ways that weren’t possible 5 years ago. For example, Handshake, a career community for college students in America, allows employers to recruit from a talent pool of over 5 million candidates attending 900 partner universities across the country. We can now connect with a potential teammate anywhere and aren’t restricted to the same list of target schools and the students who attend them.

Using Handshake, my team at Under Armour engages talent as far as San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, and Detroit and taps into underrepresented communities which we wouldn’t have had the visibility to in the past, especially given the small size of our team and our need to limit our on-campus presence to a smaller group of schools near our Baltimore, MD headquarters. Automation allows my team to use its time more strategically and efficiently to recruit and attract a diverse workforce to our early career opportunities.

How is Under Armour changing its recruiting tactics to improve diversity on a global scale?

Improving diversity at Under Armour requires a holistic, all-inclusive approach to ensuring we continue to support and represent the communities we’re proud to serve. We do this by finding those communities and deepening our relationships with specific colleges and universities, professional organizations, community training programs, and nonprofits that serve underrepresented minorities and women, and we’re proud of our commitment to our communities.

Using platforms like Handshake, we were able to increase the schools that contribute to our diverse talent pipeline by 35x. Diversity and inclusion also trickle down into our interview process, enabling us to require diverse interview panels and slates an increasing number of roles. Once we hire talent, we provide additional development, mentoring, and sponsorship programs to increase the representation and retention of underrepresented minorities and women across the organization.

Learn More: How Does Kraft Heinz Recruit and Retain Top Talent? Q&A With Lisa Alteri, Chief People OfficerOpens a new window

What work-life balance best practices do you advocate for business leaders to prioritize for Gen Z and Millennials? Do different generations have different needs, and should HR take that into account?

Every teammate is unique and it’s important we recognize that as we design our workforce, workplace and the experiences we offer. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach and leaders need to recognize that. In an increasingly connected world and with Millennials soon to be most of the workforce, progressive organizations are focused on understanding the needs of this teammate and offering programs and support that meet those needs. Gen Z is following right behind them and will likely differ somewhat in their priorities, so, it’s important for HR to stay close to the trends and get ahead of them.

One thing we have noticed is the increasing importance of mission, values and the contribution they can make to the team early on their career. Our mission aligns well with these generations as it’s not only speaking to the products we create but the experience they have while they are with our organization. We’ve put a lot of focus into operationalizing our values into our ways of working to ensure we’re staying true to our teammates.

Employees at all levels and age groups are increasingly considered digital natives. What are the typical challenges and roadblocks employers face in engaging a diverse workforce in this omnichannel, always-connected world?

Capturing their attention. From TVs to computers to smartphones, the attention of today’s consumers is literally being pulled in all directions. Recruiting is a lot like marketing, which means like other marketers, it’s hard to fight for a spot of that limited attention. Those who succeed are defined by their ability to relate to the audience they’re engaging. That’s why personalization to recruiting is essential to driving awareness and consideration of an employer and then having the appropriate engagement strategy once you’ve identified strong potential hires.

To capture the most qualified talent pipeline out there, we must build real, human relationships. Handshake helps Under Armour take a high tech, yet high touch approach to this by deploying a dynamic, personalized employer profile that highlights reviews and testimonials based on the candidate learning about us, giving them unique insight into the experience of someone like them. From there, we can invite them into our other talent programs to have a more significant conversation with our teammates and ensure there’s a mutual interest in our Brand before they embark on an interview process.

Throughout all of this, it’s important we meet these generations where they are. Not every candidate has the flexibility to make the time when it’s convenient for the employer, so the more flexible the brand is on embracing dynamic ways of engaging with candidates, the more successful they can be.

How have you seen HR leadership’s attitude towards HR tech evolve? How can HR leaders of mid-size companies build a successful business case for investing in more HR tech?

Technology makes day-to-day processes easier, and HR leaders are noticing. Handshake, for example, allows us to increase our on-campus impact without leaving the office. By proactively engaging our qualified segments through partner schools on Handshake, we’re able to build a robust pipeline to fill our internship and entry-level roles. In our last hiring cycle, Handshake was our top applicant source after native traffic and accounts for more than a fifth of total applicant traffic.

Leaders interested in building a successful business case should try to define ROI by exploring use cases like their needs, and how technology has helped serve as an additional team member to similar employers or talent competitors. For Under Armour, it’s also leaning in and highlighting which functions technology could support. Handshake, for example, helps us build long-term interest in our brand, reaching diverse and geographically distributed talent, which we value equally as important as filling our open roles.

Learn More: Gender Inequality in the Workplace Is Becoming Hard to IgnoreOpens a new window

Which key trends are you tracking in talent acquisition?

The HR Tech stack is continuously evolving, but there are still challenges integrating the systems across the TA lifecycle. In order to truly realize the gains from technology, these tools need to work together. Systems play a key role in the candidate experience and making that as seamless as possible is important for the candidate and internal teams.

Additionally, while technology and automation enable organizations to scale, we must keep the focus on engagement or creating meaningful experiences for our candidates as they consider our organization. Tools that improve engagement and meaningful interactions, while creating value on the attraction and selection process of TA can have major impacts on our function. Finally, with a very competitive labor market across industries, TA and those involved in the interview and selection process need to shift their mindset more than ever to one that provides a candidate with an affirmative reason to accept an offer, as there’s more choice in the market than ever before.

Neha: Thank you, Bryan, for sharing your valuable insights on how to create an inclusive workplace. We hope to talk to you again, soon.

About Bryan KaminskiOpens a new window :

Bryan Kaminski is the Director of Talent Acquisition and Talent Programs at Under Armour, where he leads the talent programs for university, technology, attraction, and emerging talent. He also leads Under Armour’s campus recruiting team and global employer brand, in addition to other Talent Acquisition programs. Prior to joining Under Armour, Bryan worked at Google as a University Programs and College Recruiting Specialist. Bryan received a B.A. in International Relations and German from The Johns Hopkins University.

About Under ArmourOpens a new window :

Under Armour, Inc., headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, is a leading inventor, marketer, and distributor of branded athletic performance apparel, footwear, and accessories. Powered by one of the world’s largest digitally-connected fitness and wellness communities, Under Armour’s innovative products and experiences are designed to help advance the human performance, making all athletes better.


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