By Lars Lofgren
There are a lot of reasons to be intentional about recruiting a diverse workforce. More than a moral stance, promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace will allow your company a greater range of perspectives to bring to bear on the challenges you face.
Whatever your goals, you have to be very careful to make sure that you are actually hiring the way you intend to. It’s going to take more than just the right software or few seminars for your company to be able to excel at diversity recruiting.
If this is a step you are interested in taking with your company, this post will help you move forward.
What Is Diversity Recruiting?
Diversity recruiting is an active process of seeking out talent from diverse backgrounds. This process involves creating an inclusive talent acquisition process, eliminating barriers preventing equal opportunity during the hiring process, and removing gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, and other biases unrelated to job performance from the recruiting process.
The Basics of Diversity Recruiting
One mistake organizations make when tackling diversity is thinking there is a single solution. While tools like diversity training, bonus programs, and company talks are useful, workplace diversity is an ongoing process. There are some basic principles behind every successful diversity recruiting strategy that are worth taking note of.
Diversity Policies Should Include All People
It’s easy to get hung up on one or two diversity metrics such as under-represented ethnicities and gender. While any progress towards a more inclusive workplace is better than none, such a strategy isn’t genuinely inclusive. The diversity hiring program should account for people of all races, life stages, ages, sexual orientations, educational background, work experience, and ability.
Diversity hiring is also just the first step in creating a more inclusive workplace. Promoting inclusion at every level across the organization should be part and parcel of your drive towards true diversity. It is easier to hire and retain talent when employees can see themselves represented in the various roles across the organization.
Diversity Policies Should Extend to All Activities
Many organizations lose employees in the long haul by focusing only on diversity hiring. These organizations lose talent every few years, eventually leading to a homogenous environment. Such a scenario is counterproductive to the organization’s diversity goals.
Inclusion should be a priority in all organizational efforts and activities. Companies should pay equal attention to recruiting practices, company culture, and development programs. Diversity programs should also apply to the varying stages of an employee’s careers.
Diversity Policies Should Be Measurable
The key to a successful diversity strategy is having hard metrics to track over time. This tracking helps to quantify the process and identify areas of improvement. For this reason, it is crucial to measure employee engagement at different levels to determine if diversity policies are working.
Consider distributing surveys to employees six months after onboarding. By this time, new hires are settled enough to make an accurate assessment of the company culture. This plan of action helps advance your diversity strategy beyond the recruiting and hiring processes.
Anonymous surveys are handy for this purpose. Some employees may be afraid to voice their concerns. These surveys offer great insights into what might make employees feel more included, what needs to be improved, and what the company is doing well to encourage diversity. Tracking success metrics empowers organizations with the information they need to create a more inclusive work environment.
3 Tools to Improve Diversity Recruiting
Here are three tools you can utilize to improve the quality of your diversity recruiting.
1. Create a Diversity Recruiting Strategy
A diversity recruiting strategy will help your organization define goals, action items, accountabilities, and success measures for recruiting diverse talent. Given the rapid change in workforce demographics, a comprehensive diversity recruiting strategy ensures that you honor your commitment to diversity recruiting.
Start by defining three to five goals you want to achieve with your strategy. These may include increasing diversity at every level of the organization, recognizing and rewarding behaviors that encourage diversity, creating a more diverse candidate pool, or creating an Inclusion Advisory Board.
Be sure to measure your goals against job seeker expectations concerning diversity. A diversity strategy that doesn’t meet your employee’s needs may work at counter purposes to your goals.
2. Blind Screening Software
Unconscious bias is a significant concern during the recruitment process. Many hiring personnel are surprised to learn that the process of screening candidates is not objective. It’s impossible to achieve diversity recruitment if the process is flawed from the beginning. Blind screening offers a quick solution to this problem.
Blind screening software hides candidate’s personally identifiable information. This information may include name, race, gender, age, personal interest, and academic qualifications. Hiding this information reduces the chances that such information may trigger unconscious biases.
Workable is a great recruiting software used by more than 20,000 companies worldwide. The software has an anonymized screening feature that obscures a candidate’s name, address, phone number, and other personally identifiable information. The company is also working on more diverse hiring features expected to roll out in the not-so-distant future. Workable also made it to our Top 8 Best Recruiting Software which you can find here.
Workable plans start at $99 per job per month.
3. Social Media
Social media has made it easier than ever to identify and target specific candidates. Notably, LinkedIn hosts millions of groups for almost any profession imaginable. With your diversity goals in hand, it’s easy to determine which professional networks you should be targeting.
Consider the best ways to get your message across to your target groups. Social media is more than just a recruitment tool. It’s also an opportunity to engage with diverse groups in a meaningful way. Consider joining LinkedIn groups with the target demographics such as underrepresented communities, women professionals, or military veterans.
6 Tricks for Improving Your Diversity Recruitment Strategy
Diversity in the workplace comes with many advantages. One study by Deloitte revealed that diverse companies are 1.8 times more likely to be change-ready and 1.7 times more likely to be innovative leaders than less inclusive organizations.
Furthermore, a study by the Boston Consulting Group found that companies with diverse management teams showed 19% higher revenues than their less inclusive counterparts. The advantages of diversity and inclusion in the workplace are hard to dispute. On that note, there is six diversity recruiting best practices worth implementing in your organization.
1. Conduct a Diversity Audit
A diversity audit is a good launching point for providing a 360-degree view of your progress. The audit will help identify areas of improvement and reveal opportunities for creating a more diverse workforce. While you may opt to hire a diversity specialist or diversity consulting firm, this is still a process that can be achieved in-house.
Consider putting together an audit team of employees from different areas of the business. These areas may include upper management, HR, and general staff. Task the team with flagging issues that appear discriminatory. Some of the problems to look out for include:
- Conflicts involving hostile or prejudiced remarks
- Complaints about discriminatory behavior
- Hostility towards programs deemed to be discriminatory
- Disproportionate turnover rates amongst specific employee demographics
It is equally important to collect qualitative and quantitative diversity data. You can then use this data to identify ways to improve internal processes.
2. Integrate Diversity in Your Brand and Work Culture
Many well-meaning organizations are unable to go beyond paying lip service to diversity. According to a Glassdoor survey, 76% of employees and job seekers site diversity as an essential aspect when assessing companies and job offers. With the modern job seeker more discerning than ever, you may come off as insincere or hollow if your organization fails to embody diversity in its brand and work culture.
Your company website is a great place to show your commitment to diversity. Consider including a diversity mission statement, diversity awards, and diversity images on your company website’s Careers Page. The company website is often the first point of contact with potential hires. A transparent show of your diversity initiatives is sure to make a good impression.
Also, be sure to update your company print materials to showcase your diversity. As your diversity strategy takes root, update your workforce demographic statistics, information, and related images.
3. Enhance Your Employee Referral Program
Few people understand what it’s like to work for your organization as your employees. Diverse employees may have strong networks of other diverse individuals worth tapping into. Craft a deliberate message about the importance of referrals and inclusion and the importance you place on diversity. Update your employees on your diversity goals and how far you are in the process of creating a more diverse workforce.
Word of mouth is one of the best and often underutilized recruiting tools. Conversely, consider your current workplace demographics before doubling down on referral hiring. For example, men are more likely to refer other men, and Millennials often have other Millenials dominating their social networks. It may be worth focusing externally if the organization hasn’t yet achieved the desired diversity.
4. Audit Your Job Ads
If you notice a lack of diversity in job applications, it might be that you are inadvertently resonating with a homogenous group of people. For example, the words “ninja” and “rockstar” are increasingly common on job ads. However, these words have masculine connotations, possibly alienating women who otherwise fit your requirements.
Similarly, requiring five years of experience may be alienating younger candidates who are fit for the job. While it’s not productive to eliminate qualification requirements altogether, include only what is necessary for the job. Most hiring managers don’t expect applicants to meet all the requirements 100%. However, steep requirements may be alienating people with different levels of job experience and education.
A simple statement reiterating your commitment to diversity also goes a long way in encouraging diverse talent to apply to the posting. Additionally, be mindful of the places where you source talent. There are plenty of job boards explicitly targeting minorities and underrepresented communities that are worth adding to your outreach.
5. Offer Internships to Targeted Groups
Hiring managers are often frustrated at the lack of diversity in the talent pool. Taking the long-term approach to diversity recruiting helps to build a more diverse talent pool. Consider offering internships and co-op positions to people from specific backgrounds. You can provide upcoming candidates with valuable work experience while opening up the talent pool.
Consider teaming up with schools and community groups in your area to identify prime candidates for these opportunities. Most communities already have such partnerships with organizations. This approach is perfect for your corporate social responsibility (CSR) program. You also benefit from a new and diverse talent pool.
6. Create a Diverse Interview Panel
People tend to gravitate to other people who look like them. Creating a diverse interview panel is an excellent way of ensuring that job candidates see themselves represented in your organization. Also, different interviewers look for something different in candidates. You’ll have a better chance of spotting potential and sourcing diverse talent if the interview panel is varied.
Equally, it’s crucial to build a structured interview process. Ensure that interviewers follow a set of well-defined interview processes where each candidate is assessed on the same criteria. This strict criterion creates a positive candidate experience by leveling the playing field.
Today’s job market is moving towards merging personal and professional life. With calls for equality and diversity becoming increasingly prominent, diversity at the workplace is no longer a nice-to-have. Specifically, the idea of culture fit, a staple in recruiting, is fast becoming outdated. This philosophy is often riddled with bias and prejudice and is worth rethinking going forward.
Finally, a consistent trend in diversity hiring is failing to retain employees for the long haul. Your challenge will be to institute measures to keep diverse talent. Part of this will involve offering much-needed mentorship and support to underrepresented talent. Other possible measures include instituting executive sponsorships and career development programs specifically targeting your diverse talent. Additionally, capture feedback on employee engagement to keep a finger on the pulse of your diversity strategies and programs long-term.