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Strategies to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in hiring 1

Strategies to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in hiring

Companies with diversity in the workforce are more likely to be profitable in the long haul. Most recruiters and managers accept the fact that diverse teams help companies be more innovative and creative. According to a McKinsey study, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile—up from 21% in 2017 and 15% in 2014.

There are no surprises here, it has been well researched and well experienced too – diversity and inclusion improve an organization’s overall performance. As distributed working is becoming the new normal, it is easier than ever before to add diversity to your teams. The main reason there’s so much conversation around the need for organizations to have a strong DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) initiative is because, apart from improving overall production, it adds richness to an organization’s culture.

In this article, we will explore some strategies to help you build more diverse teams.

What is diversity recruiting?

Workplace diversity is an indication of openness that your company has. It is a positive cue that presents your employer brand as friendly and embracing, one that supports individuals of color, race, gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and physical disability.

Diversity recruiting, simply put, is the practice of a transparent recruitment process, free from biases for or against any candidate. It is merit-based recruitment that aims to hire the best candidate giving all applicants an equal opportunity irrespective of their background. Creating a diverse workforce enables organizations to understand and meet the needs of employees from diverse perspectives, and enables an atmosphere that supports positive and safe relationships, and communications.

Why is having a DEI recruiting strategy important?

Consider this:

  • According to Deloitte, diversity of thinking produces creativity, enhancing innovation by 20%.
  • Diverse teams are 70% more likely to capture new markets and are 87% better at making decisions.
  • According to Boston Consulting Group, companies with diverse management teams have 19% higher revenues.
  • Such companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in the markets they compete in.
  • 85% of CEOs agree that hiring a diverse workforce has helped their companies improve the bottom lines.
  • 76% of job seekers now look for companies that have diversity in their workforce.

But how can organizations ensure that they are doing the right things to attract and hire diverse team members? A diversity recruitment strategy needs to be well defined. It needs to look into the goals, accountabilities, action items, and success measures for attracting, engaging, assessing and hiring diverse talent with the aim of driving an organization’s business success.

Here are some of the key steps to include in the DEI recruitment strategy.

Audit job ads

An important step in including diversity in the hiring process is to audit the job ads that the organization posts. Incorporating more inclusive words in the language used becomes critical, it needs to consider a broader community of candidates. It’s imperative that managers review each posting to ensure that it is not gender-coded or doesn’t unintentionally use discriminatory language. Organizations would also benefit from adding a powerful statement about the company’s commitment to DIE initiatives.

Encourage diverse candidate referrals

Employee referrals are known to be one of the most efficient ways of hiring. U.S. companies hire 29% of their workforce through referrals. At companies like Ernst & Young, referrals can account for up to 45% of non-entry level hires.

When you are looking to hire someone from a more specific demographic, a good strategy might be to reach out to employees who fall into the same/similar demographics. Encourage them to promote and share job ads within their network. Make all tools available that they will require to showcase how your company values different backgrounds and cultures. This will also make your employees feel more included and valued benefiting overall team morale and engagement.

Develop an employer brand that supports diversity

The organization’s employer brand is the single most effective tool to attract diverse talent without much effort. When organizations create an employer brand that reflects their values and shows their respect towards all, there is an organic resurgence of diverse candidates.

To develop an employer brand, having open conversations about the importance and benefits of diversity with teams, seeking and incorporating (if relevant) their feedback will make it more genuine and impactful. This will help in building a brand that truly values diversity.

Target sources where diverse candidates hangout

Another way to maintain a diverse workforce is to hire candidates from a variety of different places. By relying on the same sources to hire a candidate, it will lead to a limited or fixed pool of talent. This is why organizations need to explore more sources to get access to a diverse talent pool and build diversity in the workforce.

It is easier to seek out candidates with diverse backgrounds when organizations know where to look. For example, there are many online forums and groups where women in technology hang out. Such sources can be great to meet with high-caliber talent for women-tech roles. Such a proactive approach helps organizations minimize the duration of the hiring process, since this process is more proactive, rather than waiting for them to find you.

Create policies that support diverse candidates

It is easy for organizations to claim they have diverse recruiting strategies in place to build competitive teams, but do little to actually ensure that diversity is truly embraced in the workplace. Creating and implementing company policies that hire and nurture diversity among candidates, and take care of their considerations and needs, and protect their best interests once they become employees is what makes all the difference.

Introducing flexible work hours such that candidates can continue to be involved with their communities is an example of an inclusive policy. When employees are forced to conform to a cookie-cutter schedule, it could very well hinder their freedom to be their whole selves. When organizations have such policies in place, it becomes easier to incorporate and promote it during the recruitment process to let candidates know that their diversity is respected.

Use blind resumes

This is an increasingly popular technique used by recruiters to remove bias from the screening process. It entails blacking out any personal information such as name, school, gender, specific locations, etc. on a resume such that there is no factor available that can cause discrimination. This will ensure that recruiters are not subconsciously biased towards certain candidates over others. It is even more important when hiring women for tech roles.

Diverse recruiting is about hiring the best candidate for the role, regardless of their background but it does require effort to create such an environment. These strategies will get you started with the process of improving diversity and inclusion in your company.

Talent500 is a platform for hiring diverse and skilled talent from across 50 countries. We help you build global teams by connecting you with the best talent. Request a consultation today to know more.


Monica Jamwal

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