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  1. Blog
  2. Diversity

A Peek Behind the Curtain at One Company's Strategies for Promoting Diversity

Hanover Research takes a multi-channel approach to creating a safe environment for all employees

By InHerSight
A Peek Behind the Curtain at One Company's Strategies for Promoting Diversity

At InHerSight, our goal is to give you the insights you need to make the best decisions for your life and career, and our ratings data and scorecards for 65,000+ companies are a key piece of that equation. In this series, we're supplementing our cultural insights with answers to the important (and sometimes difficult to ask) questions women want answers to during the interview process.

This week we’re talking to Hanover Research, one of the fastest growing companies in the market research industry. What makes Hanover Research successful? Many will say its Hanover's more affordable business model that provides tailored research to companies for a fixed annual fee. Fair enough, but at InHerSight, we think soft and hard policies that support diversity might have something to do with it. It's a fact that more diverse companies boast greater success — and Hanover is cultivating diversity by offering flexibile work hours and opportunities to telecommute that support working mothers, and by parterning with college diversity programs, including those at HBCU's, to recruit employees that are representative of today's vibrant workforce.

Hanover Research

Interviewee: Marcelle Wood, Chief Human Resources Officer
Headquarters: Arlington, VA
Industry: Market Research
Size: 201-500 employees

Can you start by telling us a little bit about Hanover Research?

Hanover Research is a globally ranked top market research company. We offer a new model for providing information services to our clients. Hanover Research levels the information playing field by providing high-quality research & analytics delivered through a cost-effective subscription model that helps executives make informed decisions, identify and seize opportunities, and heighten their effectiveness. We will be celebrating 15 years this September! We're privately owned and have 3 locations — Arlington, VA (head office), New York, NY and Charlottesville, VA — and around 350 employees in total.

What are your favorite company values and what are some of the ways you exemplify them?

We value client service, thought leadership and innovation, leadership and mentorship as well as firm citizenship. Service to our clients is of utmost importance and this is manifested in our approach to always try to say yes to a clients' requests or at least help them find a solution or answer to the questions they have without the client worrying about getting a bill from us each time we engage with them. We are always looking at new ways to provide information and solutions to our clients and most of those innovations are driven internally by staff suggestions and listening to the client. Hanover hires a lot of recent graduates each year and we invest heavily in providing them with training, support and guidance in order for them to be successful, not just at Hanover but in a professional environment. This includes job specific training as well as softer skills like managing up and working with different personality types. Regardless of who you ask, current or former employees, a consistent message is that Hanover has the best people — kind, smart, generous and above all, nice. We celebrate this annually with an award to the employee who embodies these qualities, as voted by their peers.

What would you tell prospective female employees about why your company is a great place to work?

Hanover is a great place to learn as well as to teach others what you know. Women make up 50% of our workforce and are encouraged and championed by both their female and male peers. Our various policies around flexible working hours and teleworking create a supportive environment for working parents and we offer a variety of flexible options for women returning to work after maternity leave, of which 6 weeks is company paid. We offer excellent benefits (medical, dental, etc.) which are heavily subsidized by the company and all benefits are available to both same sex and heterosexual spouses or domestic partners. We offer a variety of affinity groups to help women build their internal networks and community. These groups include HOW (Hanover's Organization of Women), PRIDE, Working Parents Group, DIG (Diversity Inclusion Group) along with various intramural sporting leagues.

Can you share data on your company's diversity?

Our workforce is split evenly between men and women and women make up 33% of our executive team.

How does your company view diversity and seek to develop it?

Hanover is actively working to increase our diversity as an employer. We're recruiting candidates from a wider variety of backgrounds and alma maters including HBCUs. Our internal diversity and inclusion group (DIG) assists in promoting events and awareness of the benefits of a diverse workforce across the year. They partnered with our L&D team last year to create and roll-out an implicit bias training for all of our hiring managers and staff involved in the interview process. The training will become a standard part of our training curriculum for all staff in 2018.

Are there initiatives or support structures in place for minority groups?

Yes, our DIG and PRIDE groups offer regular meetings, social events and an internal network to help build community and internal champions for our diverse staff.

Does your company have executive level support for diversity?

Yes, we have the full support of the founder and our entire executive team. They review our diversity numbers each quarter and it is actively on their radar.

What channels do you have in place for escalating issues like sexual harrasment and how does the company ensure it is creating a safe work environment for all employees?

We want to ensure that all staff feel safe at work and have a variety of resources available to them if they experience any harassment or retaliation at work. In addition to our internal channels managed by the Human Resources team, we have an external hotline run by NAVEX which allows employees to report any harassment or code of conduct violations, either directed at them or that they have witnessed, anonymously. This tool holds Hanover accountable to take action if a complaint is lodged.

Nearly 40% of women leave the workforce when they have children. How does your company support working moms?

As a young company we have seen an increase in employees having first and second children while at Hanover. We had 22 Hanover babies born in 2016! We offer a variety of flexible options for those parents in terms of teleworking or reduced schedules to help with the transition back to work after maternity leave.

What diversity, inclusion, and cultural competence training have your managers had?

Implicit bias training is required for all hiring managers and interviewers to ensure that they are hiring for skills and not subjective preference. All staff complete "Appropriate Workplace Behaviors" training (this includes sensitivity about physical appearance, ethnicity, as well as anti-sexual harassment training) when they start and are required to complete the training annually after their first year.

How do your company's recruiting efforts support a diverse workforce?

Our hiring managers and interviewers are made up of employees representative of our diverse workforce. We recruit from a wide variety of sources — internal referrals, college/campus recruiting as well as online job platforms — and have expanded all of these to widen our talent pool as well as create awareness that Hanover is a safe and welcoming environment. This includes partnering with colleges' diversity and inclusion offices to promote Hanover as an employer of choice to diverse students/graduates.


Thank you, Marcelle, for answering our questions! If you're interested in learning more, check out Hanover's open positions, read about their benefits, and see ratings from the women who work there on the company's InHerSight profile .

Want your company to do a reverse interview? Send us an email at hello@inhersight or use our contact form to let us know.

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