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10.11.2021 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)

13 steps to improve your diversity recruiting strategy

13 steps to improve your diversity recruiting strategy

Companies with a diverse workforce achieve better results than their less diverse counterparts, research shows. Find out how to implement a diversity recruiting strategy in your organisation to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. These 13 steps help you create a more diverse workplace that’s destined to thrive.

As a recruiter or hiring manager, your goal isn’t just to attract the best talent for a job. With every hire, you’re on the lookout for a person who helps improve the performance of the company as a whole. And that’s where creating a diversity recruitment strategy comes in.

An increasing amount of research confirms that diverse teams tend to outperform their more homogenous counterparts. For example, a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study found that more diversity in management teams increased average innovation revenue by 19%. In another study, McKinsey & Company found a clear correlation between diversity and financial performance in teams.

These are just two examples of a vastly growing number of studies confirming that diversity in the workplace helps improve business performance. And that’s just looking at the financial benefits. Implementing a diversity recruiting strategy at your company means you are doing your part to make the world a better, fairer, and more equitable place to live and work in.

In this article, we give you actionable tips on how to create an effective diversity hiring strategy and how to recruit diverse candidates. These 13 steps will help you and your business become a diversity and inclusion champion.

But first, let’s have a quick look at the definition of diversity recruiting and why you should care.

What is diversity recruiting?

Diversity recruiting (or diversity hiring) is the idea of implementing specific practices in your company’s recruitment process that help increase the chances of hiring a more diverse workforce for your company. Such a recruitment process is part of a company’s larger diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy.

This concept of workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion goes beyond simply identifying specific diversity characteristics like one’s gender or the colour of someone’s skin. The idea is that the workforce’s composition becomes an accurate reflection of the diversity in our society.

As such, diversity recruiting celebrates and values diversity between people not just in terms of characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, age, religion, disability, or sexual orientation, but also in terms of personality type, skill set, education, and experience.

So although we often specifically think about promoting demographic traits when talking about diversity, the concept of diversity recruiting actually goes beyond this. The goal is to be as inclusive and equitable as possible.

Why diversity hiring is important

Creating a truly diverse workplace benefits your business in a bunch of different ways. You’ll recall the statistics we shared at the beginning of this article, but this is just part of the story.

You can be part of the global movement that will transform the workplace to become a fairer reflection of the world we live in. And not only does that mean you’re doing the morally right thing, but it will help boost your brand identity in the process as well. Consider the following statistic.

A 2020 Glassdoor Survey found that 76% of job seekers and employees view a diverse workplace as an important factor when assessing companies and job offers.

Let’s face it, today’s job seekers don’t want to work at a company where the C-suite consists of six middle-aged men in suits who all went to the same university. Workforce diversity is important to many candidates and companies are expected to take responsibility and do their bit to make it happen.

Combine that with the prospect of an increase in revenue for the business and even a boost in corporate innovation and you’ll realise the potential benefits of diversity hiring are simply too good to ignore.

Two people of different ethnic backgrounds joining hands to represent the concept of diversity in hiring
Aarón Blanco Tejedor, Unsplash

How to recruit diverse candidates: 13 strategies and best practices

Now we’ve established the clear need for diversity recruiting, it’s time to go through the actual strategies and practices involved in the process. Follow these 13 diversity recruitment steps to increase your chances of diversifying your workforce.

When reviewing these steps (and your own recruiting process), try to bear in mind that promoting diversity should empower everyone and provide equal and equitable opportunities for all. It’s about giving underrepresented groups a level playing field, whether those groups include working mothers, autistic employees, or people from the LGBTQ+ community.

1. Assess what’s already there

A good first step is to analyse the current composition of your company and the recruitment process that’s in place. After all, before you can go and set those ambitious DEI goals for your organisation you need to know the status quo.

For example, you can analyse your current hiring statistics and see if there is a clear bias or visible trend. If 85% of your hires last year were single Caucasian men between the ages of 35 and 45 you probably have an issue at hand.

Or maybe you ask candidates to include a photo of themselves in their CV. As harmless as this may seem, subconscious bias towards certain aspects of a person’s physical appearance may influence your opinion about a candidate without you even realising it.

2. Set SMART goals

This step can be quite tricky. What metrics should you track? How do you measure diversity hiring in the first place, let alone set realistic goals to improve it?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to this step as every company is different. But what’s always important is that you set clear goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

For example, if your IT department shows a clear male gender bias, a good goal could be to hire at least three women to join the development department in the next six months.

3. Source candidates in more than one place

Now you have a better understanding of the recruitment process that’s in place and what you want to achieve, it’s time to look at how you are sourcing your candidates.

Hiring managers and/or recruiters often use a limited number of job boards for applicant attraction. Some might do all their candidate sourcing on LinkedIn, while others swear by posting their jobs on Indeed.

The problem with this is that it may limit the diversity of your talent pool as you keep dipping in the same pool over and over again. Instead, try posting your job openings across different platforms. If possible, also consider global recruitment to hire international employees.

With JOIN’s free multiposting tool you can post your job ad across a wide range of platforms, increasing your chances of reaching a more diverse audience.

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Find out how we can help you find the best talent

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Also check out our article on some of the best diversity job boards to use!

4. Encourage referrals from diverse employees

Employee referrals are a great way to attract qualified candidates. When trying to improve your company’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, it might be worth encouraging referrals from diverse employees.

Our networks tend to be made up of demographically similar people. If one of your diversity recruiting goals is to hire more women it might be worth encouraging your female colleagues to refer people they know. On average, the chances of them referring another woman will likely be higher than when you would ask a male colleague.

5. Create opportunities for target groups

You can promote diversity within your business by setting up a program to offer internships or specific job openings to candidates from certain backgrounds or belonging to a certain community.

For example, companies can collaborate with institutions such as the National Autistic Society or international equivalents to provide job opportunities to people on the autism spectrum.

6. Let your brand reflect your goal

If your website is filled with images of demographically identical employees and the wording on your website isn’t inclusive you will have a hard time attracting diverse talent. That’s why your brand should reflect the diverse and inclusive environment you are trying to create.

Ingrain DEI principles in your company’s values and corporate responsibility to show prospective candidates what your company stands for.

7. Use inclusive language in your communications

As you update your company’s brand it’s important that you ensure this inclusive mindset is visible throughout your corporate communications, both internally and externally.

In particular, you should write your job ads in a way that they speak to a wide range of potential candidates. The language you use in your recruitment ads might be geared towards a certain demographic. Instead, try to be more inclusive in your writing to appeal to any potential candidate.

8. Offer benefits and policies that appeal to different people

Boozy Friday afternoons or a company football team might seem like great perks to you, but they won’t appeal to everyone.

Instead of highlighting only certain parts of your business culture to speak to a specific demographic, you should try to give an overview of your company that speaks to a wider audience.

For example, alongside those two perks, you could mention your working from home policy or how you offer paid parental leave to new parents.

9. Try blind resumes

By following the steps above you help to increase diversity in your candidate sourcing process. The next step is to increase diversity in your screening process.

A great place to start is by introducing blind resumes. Traditional resumes contain a lot of personal information that shouldn’t be relevant to the screening process. A candidate’s name or date of birth can influence their chances of moving on to the next step, even if you think this information doesn’t influence your decision.

Unfortunately, subconscious bias is common. The best way to try to reduce this is by deleting any unnecessary information that might trigger this bias.

10. Try blind interviews

Some companies have started taking it a step further. Aside from blind resumes they now offer blind interviews. This could be in the form of sending applicants interview questions in text form instead of actually inviting them for a face-to-face interview.

Do note that this method only works early on in the diversity recruitment process as eventually an in-person interview will be needed. That said, adding this step can further limit any bias towards a certain candidate or group of candidates.

11. Include personality assessment tests in your recruitment process

Another pre-interview practice to promote more diversity in your hiring process is to include a personality assessment test.

A popular personality test used by employers during the hiring process is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which categorises candidates into 16 personality types. Such a test can help you get a better understanding of the candidate’s personality, and their potential compatibility with your company, without you having to interview them.

12. Ensure your candidate assessment practices are as objective as possible

At a certain point, you will have to move on to the actual interview. To further decrease any potential bias and to increase diversity in your recruitment process you should outline a clear assessment process before you conduct the interview.

Discuss with your colleagues what key skills you are looking for in the candidate and consider creating interview scorecards. This reduces the chance of you coming out of the interview leaning towards a hire just because the candidate “seemed nice”. Such gut feelings and character judgments are prone to be rooted in subconscious bias.

13. Go beyond recruitment

The twelve steps described above all help increase diversity in recruiting and they reduce the chance of potential bias in the hiring process. However, if your actual workplace culture does not promote diversity, equity and inclusion then there’s a good chance your new hire will have left already before the end of probation.

So as a final step to improving your diversity recruiting strategy you should ensure you create a diverse workplace where everyone feels valued and included.

Final thoughts on diversity recruitment

Companies and candidates alike are increasingly acknowledging the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. To implement this in your own recruitment strategy you need to assess (and update) every aspect of your hiring process.

With the thirteen steps listed above, you’re well on your way to becoming a diversity champion. And with the many moral, ethical, and financial benefits involved there’s no excuse to not start increasing diversity in recruiting today.

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