A Q&A with Hue Founder & CEO Fahad Khawaja

Fahad Khawaja, Hue founder & CEO, spoke on a session entitled "Accelerating Diverse Talent into Our Industry: Building Our Next Generation Pipeline" at the ANA 2023 DEIB Global Day of Learning on February 22. ANA was able to interview Khawaja about Hue's recent report, "State of Inequity Report."

Were there particular findings that surprised you in the study? Do you have specific recommendations for HR teams to recruit diverse candidates — and to retain them? What kinds of resources and programs are most helpful?

We have to look at the culture as a whole, and it's the responsibility of the full leadership team – not just HR. It begins with leaders and key decision makers driving a culture of well-being, with community-building at the core. Companies must invest in building relationships with their employees and the communities they serve. In this year's report, we found that BIPOC in marketing are two times as likely to stay at their companies when they feel a sense of community.

It's critical to partner with the right organizations who can build community and connection with candidates from diverse backgrounds, so the company strengthens its reputation both internally and externally. And Hue is a great place to start. We support companies who want to not only recruit and build relationships with talent, but also help build culture and community internally. Whether that means putting together community events or bringing in speakers for your company events.

The report stated that there were "slight YOY improvements" when it came to physical safety due to remote work in 2022. Do you anticipate this trend to continue? How can we continue to support BIPOC to ensure they feel safe?

It's true that there were slight improvements in a sense of physical safety. However, that may not extend to other forms of safety, particularly as it relates to mental and emotional health. What's also alarming is the fact that 1 in 2 BIPOC believe they will need to take on another job if there's a recession. With the impending recession and ongoing layoffs, it's important that BIPOC continue to get the support they need.

The report also stated that 90 percent of Americans want to work at a company that prioritizes health and wellbeing (which was a 5 percent increase versus a year ago). Why do you think this number increased?

The reality is that health and wellbeing is a priority for Americans. We spend so much of our time and energy at work, but burnout continues to rise.. BIPOC in particular face higher levels of burnout at work, with 40 percent of BIPOC feeling exhausted or burned out because of their workplace – and this is higher for Latine and Indigenous people, at 50 percent. We need to fundamentally shift the way we work as a whole by prioritizing wellbeing as a driver of our organizational success.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.