Diversity hiring is all about breaking free from monotonous recruitment practices and inviting a blend of perspectives, ideas, and talents into the workforce.
It’s like throwing open the windows of an organization to let in a gust of fresh air that breathes life into creativity and innovation.
But we understand; incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in your hiring practices is a hard fetch.
So here’s a complete guide on DEI and how to mitigate common challenges it brings on with ease. Read on!
What is diversity hiring?
Diversity hiring is a process where recruiters actively seek out applicants from a variety of backgrounds and ethnicities. Here, you take all the necessary steps to ensure your talent acquisition process is more inclusive toward a diverse set of candidates.
Workplace diversity can be related to numerous factors like age brackets, religion, disabilities, personalities, skill sets, experiences, and even knowledge.
The primary goal of diversified talent acquisition is to identify and remove biases from every step of the recruiting cycle.
While you level the playing field for candidates competing for the job role, you create room to bring a platter of fresh perspectives to the table while also boosting the employer brand of the company.
6 reasons diversity hiring is important
1. Allows you to embrace the power of differences
Each individual comes with a unique set of skills, knowledge, and life experiences.
By embracing diversity, you create an environment where various viewpoints intersect, leading to richer discussions, broader problem-solving approaches, and, ultimately, better outcomes.
Bringing together various perspectives can mean challenging your existing work practices, unearthing hidden opportunities, fostering a company culture of continuous learning, and much more. The possibilities are truly endless.
2. Lets businesses reflect on their customer base
In today’s globalized world, businesses operate in diverse markets with customers from various underrepresented groups. A diverse workforce enables companies to understand and connect with their target audience on a deeper level.
Mirroring the diversity of their customers enables businesses to gain valuable insights into their needs, preferences, and cultural outlook.
This understanding becomes a strategic advantage, allowing your clients to communicate effectively and tailor their products or services specifically to cater to a broader audience. This helps them drive business growth.
3. Builds trust and inclusion
When employees see individuals from different backgrounds, demographics, and identities thriving within an organization, a sense of trust and belonging starts to take root.
Through the proactive encouragement of diverse recruitment, you can showcase your dedication to fostering an inclusive environment. This helps establish a comfortable space where employees are appreciated, revered, and empowered to express their true selves within the workplace.
It fosters a positive work environment, boosts employee morale, and enhances overall job satisfaction.
4. Enhances problem-solving and decision-making
Teams with people who think alike tend to have similar ways of approaching problems, closing doors on other possible ways leading to a better solution.
In contrast, diverse teams bring together a wealth of perspectives, knowledge, and problem-solving styles.
It’s like having a toolbox filled with various tools to tackle any challenge that comes your way.
5. Strengthens your client’s employer brand
In today’s competitive job market, the best talent is always on the lookout for employers who prioritize diversity and inclusion.
Being an active player in the DEI community, your client company can position itself as an attractive destination for skilled professionals from all walks of life.
A strong employer brand built on inclusivity not only helps attract diverse and bottom-line groups but also improves employee retention and becomes a magnet for potential customers as well as business partners.
Inclusive recruitment goes beyond business benefits; it is a way to contribute to a fairer and more equitable society.
Purposefully reaching out to diverse candidates and ensuring equal opportunities helps dismantle societal barriers and fosters societal progress.
It’s about using your position as a recruiter to champion equality and create a positive impact on the world around you. And let’s not forget the long-run brownie points you earn in the process.
3 major obstacles to DEI initiatives (+ solutions to counter them)
Obstacle 1: Diversity fatigue
Diversity fatigue can manifest itself in various ways, mainly depending on your unique D&I journey. Here are a few examples of those forms:
- Employees can believe that getting diverse candidates “lowers the bar.”
- It frequently shows up as sentiments of threat. Most workers may see diversity initiatives as something they are “on the wrong side of” or intended to exclude them.
- Such fatigue might also manifest in the TA teams who believe diversity sourcing results from a talent shortage. After all, they’re being pushed to find a diverse applicant pool in the face of what amounts to a “supply-and-demand dilemma.”
- A considerable amount of emotional labor is expended in DEI campaigns by the team that is firmly committed to the cause.
Solutions for diversity fatigue
- Ditch the assumptions
You need to take a step forward and preach the fact that diversity recruiting does not “lower the bar” and that you do not intend to exclude or stigmatize non-minority talent.
Hold events to educate the existing workforce about your inclusive hiring efforts to muster up equal cooperation from their end.
- Realistic goals take you a long way
Setting unrealistic goals will only serve to demoralize everyone involved and turn the crowds against the cause.
Instead, start small, tick off the initial boxes, and expand the goals at a slow and steady pace.
Obstacle 2: Vague DEI strategies
Diving straight into diversity recruiting without doing the homework is a sheer waste of time and effort.
While inclusivity might not be the hardest feat to achieve, you should always remember the obvious complications of the procedure that are too significant to be ignored.
And these complexities call for effective planning to design a diversity hiring strategy that serves the unique DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) goals of your clients.
A vague strategy is as good as no strategy.
Solutions for vague DEI strategies
- Examine the current diversity situation in the workforce
Did the organization devote itself to diversity hiring before? What is the current ratio of employees coming from diverse backgrounds in the workforce?
Digging out answers to these questions can help you chalk out a foundational base to work upon, identifying the key areas that need to be addressed.
- Consult some industry experts
If your client is just starting out with DEI initiatives, the top management is less likely to be aware of the know-how of the procedure. That is exactly where experts can help.
Seeking help from people who have achieved success in DEI initiatives can help you design an effective roadmap for the entire hiring process, simplifying the steps to be followed, including the do’s and don’t’s.
Obstacle 3: Unconscious bias
This last obstacle in your way to forming and sustaining diverse teams is the most dangerous.
Research demonstrates that even self-proclaimed diversity advocates can often exhibit subconscious bias while reviewing resumes.
In a survey conducted by Deloitte, over 60% of the respondents claimed to have witnessed or been victims of both conscious and unconscious bias.
It’s also worth recalling the 2004 MIT and the University of Chicago research on perceived race in hiring, in which 5,000 fictional applications were distributed to 1,250 employers: “White-sounding” names (Emily and Greg) received 50% more calls than “Black-sounding” ones (Lakisha and Jamal).
These shocking stats can’t be ignored, and we certainly can’t deny the power deeply embedded biases hold.
Solutions for unconscious bias:
Learn about unconscious biases and understand where yours lie. (This will need curiosity, honesty, and vulnerability.)
Harvard’s Project Implicit is a wonderful resource that provides a series of Implicit Association Tests to bring the unconscious into the conscious.
In addition, Facebook provides “Managing unconscious prejudice” training, consisting of a series of video sessions that tackle a distinct bias.
- You need to share these tools with your colleagues, hiring managers, the human resources team, top management, and anybody else who can benefit from them. The key is to make a point of emphasizing the significance of self-awareness with due diligence.
- You may also assist in organizing unconscious bias training for your own recruiters and your client’s employees so that all teams can eventually engage in more inclusive sourcing, recruiting, and assessment procedures.
5 steps to hiring more diverse candidates
Step 1: Conduct a diversity employment review
Survey your current recruiting technique and distinguish any possible blockages and disparities. For example, is it a top-of-the-pipe issue? Or is it a spilling pipeline issue?
Until you investigate your diversity employment data, you can’t get a precise image of how to improve your recruiting process.
Step 2: Pick a point to focus on
Chalking out how to re-design your inclusive recruiting methods for the better can be an overwhelming task to handle. So, the most feasible and effective approach is to pick one aspect to work on extensively.
Break down your long-term diversity goals into immediate achievable targets. For example:
- Increase the level of qualified female candidates by 10% within half a year
- Increase the level of qualified minorities in the upcoming quarter by 15%
Step 3: Change your candidate sourcing strategy
If your talent acquisition review reflects that you’re failing to tap into a diverse group of people, here are a few things you can do:
1. Write your job descriptions in a more inclusive manner
Make sure your job descriptions are inclusive, free from biased and non-inclusive language, and place a primary focus on the essential skills and qualifications required for the open roles.
Use gender-neutral terms in your job postings and avoid listing insignificant criteria that may exclude qualified candidates from underrepresented groups.
2. Show off your client’s diverse employer brand
As a recruiter, you are in a position to guide your client to showcase their diverse employer brand. Suggest them to promote it by featuring employees from various backgrounds, ethnicity, and demographics on their website, job boards, and social media platforms.
Also, help them share success stories and highlight diversity initiatives and employee resource groups. This attracts diverse talent, builds trust, and showcases commitment to an inclusive work environment.
Make sure you also highlight their culture and brand while promoting job openings.
3. Put emphasis on flexibility
If your client offers options for remote work, flexible schedules, and alternative work arrangements, ensure you highlight this in job ads and interviews.
Work flexibility accommodates various lifestyles, caregiving responsibilities, and personal circumstances, empowering employees to achieve work-life balance, boost productivity, and enhance job satisfaction. So a ton of light should be shone on this.
4. Encourage references from minority workers
Encourage referrals from minority workers to broaden your candidate pool. Emphasize the value of their recommendations and actively seek their input.
By accepting diverse employee referrals, you tap into a wider range of viewpoints and experiences while also respecting existing diverse employee groups.
Step 4: Incorporate diversity while applicant screening and shortlisting
In the event that your diversity employment review uncovers that you have a spilling pipeline at your competitor screening, there are a couple of incredible strategies you can attempt:
Strategy 1: Blind hiring
Adopt blind hiring practices to promote diversity and mitigate biases. Remove information such as names, gender, or background from initial candidate evaluations to shift the focus to skills, qualifications, and experience.
By implementing blind hiring, you ensure fair assessment based on merit. It puts the spotlight on abilities, fostering equal opportunities and building a diverse and inclusive workforce.
Strategy 2: The “two in the pool” impact
A study highlighted in Harvard Business Review found that when the last candidate pool has just a single minority candidate, the person has basically no odds of being employed.
On the other hand, if there are, at any rate, two under-represented potential candidates in the last candidate pool, the chances of recruiting a female applicant are multiple times more prominent.
Strategy 3: Shortlisting via an applicant tracking system (ATS)
Automated and quick shortlisting via an applicant tracking system expands the variety of selected candidate resumes by replacing something as bias-prone as manual shortlisting.
In contrast to humans with their unconscious bias at play, an ATS leverages a form of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is much less likely to practice bias (unless it is trained that way).
Strategy 4: Diverse interview panels
Embrace diversity in your interview panels. Include individuals from varied backgrounds, experiences, sexual orientations, religions, ethnicities, and perspectives. This fosters fairness and reduces bias during the interview process.
Bringing together a range of voices in the interview questions helps you create an inclusive environment that leads to better hiring decisions.
Strategy 5: Structured interviews
Conduct structured interviews using a standardized set of interview questions for all candidates. This allows for fair and consistent evaluation and minimizes the potential for bias in the interview process.
Evaluating all potential candidates on the same parameters makes it easier to choose the best of the best.
Step 5: Evaluate your progress
Once you are done implementing the initial steps of your diversity recruiting checklist, ask yourself questions like
- Did you hit your goal?
- Which techniques were compelling, and which ones weren’t?
Reinforce effective hiring strategies and tweak the ones that didn’t quite work for you.
Best practices to adopt for effective diversity hiring
1. Employee referral programs
Referral programs are always a win-win. They bring you candidates from trusted sources that require negligible background checks. They also boost the morale of your existing workforce through monetary and non-monetary incentives for successful referrals.
This strategy can help your inclusive hiring efforts as well, making it easier for you to reach a probable untouched pool of job-seekers.
2. Partnerships with diversity-oriented organizations
Forge partnerships with diversity-focused organizations, universities, and communities to multiply your visibility among a wider audience from underrepresented groups.
Collaborate with these organizations to reach out to a diverse talent pool, participate in job fairs, or host networking events to foster connections with potential candidates.
It also strengthens the market reputation of your brand as an inclusivity advocate.
3. Cultural competence and sensitivity
Strive to develop cultural competence and sensitivity within the organization. How welcoming your client’s existing workforce actually is towards diverse candidates speaks volumes about the work environment they offer.
Provide diversity and inclusion training to all employees, promoting understanding, respect, and appreciation for different cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives. Try and achieve a workplace that is beaming with positivity and openness towards DEI candidates.
4. Data tracking and analysis
Metrics are a recruiter’s all-time best friend. And it definitely doesn’t fall behind when it comes to enforcing your inclusive recruiting efforts.
Consider establishing a system to track and analyze your diversity hiring metrics. The key is to regularly review statistical reports and assess the effectiveness of your efforts in order to identify the areas for improvement (and celebrate the wins, too!).
Going further, utilize data-driven insights to refine your strategies and ensure continuous progress.
5. Mentorship and development programs
Introduce learning modules, courses, and expert mentoring to support the growth and advancement of diverse employees.
Create opportunities for diverse talent to educate themselves, develop skills, gain experience, and access leadership job offers within the organization.
In final words
Workplace diversity is understanding, accepting, and valuing differences between people coming from various communities and societies. It’s a lot about being welcoming with your intentions and strategic with your initiatives.
With everything discussed above, we hope you’re ready to embark on a fulfilling journey to create an inclusive workforce for your clients that is a hub for diverse candidates from around the world!
Frequently asked questions
1. Why is diversity hiring important for organizations?
Diversity hiring brings a range of fresh perspectives, fosters innovation, and enhances overall output within the organization. It promotes an inclusive work environment, strengthens the employer brand, and contributes to social responsibility.
2. How can unconscious bias impact the diversity recruitment process?
Unconscious bias can lead to unfair judgments and hinder inclusive recruiting to a large extent. By influencing decision-making based on personal preferences or stereotypes, it limits access to a diverse candidate pool. Implementing blind hiring techniques and adopting bias awareness training can help counter this obstacle.
3. How can organizations measure the effectiveness of their diversity hiring initiatives?
Organizations can track diversity metrics such as representation, retention rates, and employee satisfaction to serve this crucial purpose. Regularly reviewing data, conducting surveys, and gathering feedback can provide meaningful insights into progress, helping make better hiring decisions overall.