Improving the diversity of your new hires is a great goal but how exactly do you do it? There are numerous benefits to inclusive workplaces such as increased innovation, reduced turnover, and higher engagement to name a few, but it can be tricky to find or attract diverse candidates to hire. The name of the game isn't to hire a few people and then shout, "We're diverse!" out to the masses. Instead, it should be about examining every step of the talent pipeline to find any instances of bias or discrimination that might be keeping great candidates out of your hiring funnel. Making your hiring process more fair should be a goal for every company so here are a few tips to help get you started.
What is the relationship between diversity and inclusion?
While these words are often used interchangeably, they don't mean the same thing. And to attract and retain diverse talent, you're going to need them both. Think of diversity as a gateway through which talent arrives and inclusion as the unbiased, day-to-day positive treatment they receive once in the office. Inclusion is about demonstrating respect and acceptance for all employees and having opportunities for all to be heard, be included in important decisions, and contribute to the overall success of the company. Because of its importance, inclusion is usually built directly into the company culture to support the company's ongoing diversity efforts. Without thinking about inclusion, your diversity efforts will likely fall flat. So once you have your great new hires, give some thought to the work environment they're entering and what culture they'll experience.
Benefits of a more diverse workforce
Hiring for diversity is good for business. Bringing employees in from different backgrounds, experiences, genders, ages, and nationalities provides the opportunity for any organization to be more innovative and profitable. A McKinsey & Company report indicated that globally, “Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 33 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.”
Diversity in the workplace is also a plus in terms of sparking creativity and facilitating decision making. In a research study conducted by Northwestern University, it was discovered that teams made up of students from varying social groups were more successful at solving problems than those from the same sororities and fraternities.
And even better, companies that market their brand as being focused on diversity and inclusion in the candidate selection process increase their ability of attracting and retaining diverse employees. In a competitive job market, this is a major benefit.
10 tips to attracting diverse candidates
There are many ways to increase diversity and inclusion in the workplace, starting with attracting candidates from a myriad of backgrounds. Here’s a rundown of some proven recruitment strategies to help you adjust your hiring process:
1) Advertise jobs in diverse locations and on multiple platforms: There are many places to post job listings and if you're always using the same ones (such as only posting on LinkedIn, for example), you might be missing out on a whole section of the talent market. Choose several different spots, free and paid, and make sure the job advertisements are easy to access. Use clear language and include information about how and where to send a resume.
2) Avoid the use of biased language in job adverts and requirements: It’s common to see horribly written job postings that imply a certain type of candidate is preferred over another. Some can be more subtle in their bias, such as the use of more masculine words. Carefully evaluate your job postings for any unconscious bias and edit if you find any language that might deter applicants.
3) Screen candidates for skills and not for other identifying characteristics: When you start combing through resumes and applications from candidates, mask certain identifying elements such as their name, birthdate, where they graduated from, and more. Focus on candidate skill sets and job-relevant information.
4) Use a recruitment system supported by artificial Intelligence: AI has had a positive impact on reducing bias in hiring and encouraging more diverse candidates to apply, and there are a number of key tools out there that can help. This technology can be used to invite people to apply for a job, alert them to new opportunities, and engage with them in brief conversations. AI tools are still in their nascency so make sure to do your research but when used properly, they can help augment your recruitment efforts and speed up your hiring process.
5) Promote diverse leadership and professional development opportunities: Make sure that everyone knows about the initiatives your company has to promote diversity with career growth and training. Include this in your job advertisements and on your company marketing communications.
6) Stop hiring for culture fit and start hiring for culture add: Instead of looking for candidates who will fit your culture, try finding ones who will bring something unique to it. This shift in mindset will help you cast a wider recruiting net and find more innovative new hires.
7) Adjust corporate policies and make that known in the interview or job description: Look over your policies as a company to see if any could be changed or made more flexible. For example, some companies offer floating holidays to help workers take the time they need for their religious or cultural observances when they need it.
8) Standardize your interview process: Make sure you are treating all candidates fairly by interviewing everyone the same way. Behavioural interviews are a great way to dig deeper while having a standard process in place. And remember, if you use assessments, every candidate you interview should take the same one.
9) Create a corporate brand around employee happiness: In organizations that are friendly to all groups of employees, there tend to be greater levels of job satisfaction and happiness. Take employee engagement seriously and make it part of your employer brand to attract great diverse candidates.
10) Support products and vendors that honor diversity: Who your company supports and does business with can be important to candidates from diverse backgrounds. If they see you support unbiased products and vendors, and if you promote diversity in business partnerships, they are more apt to apply for work opportunities.
Improving diversity in your hiring practices is possible
There are many tactics hiring managers and recruiters can use to boost the diversity of their talent pipeline. From changing the way we use language to addressing our own biases to reaching out to new segments of the talent market, there are many simple steps we can take to shift how we hire. And improving diversity is just one benefit of updating your hiring approach. These tips can also help impact culture, recruitment marketing, and employee engagement in the office. They also pave the way to creating an inclusive environment that supports your diversity hiring efforts. So next time you need to hire, take a minute to think about how you're positioning that job ad and what you can do to make the candidate selection process as fair as possible.