The American workforce is shifting and inclusivity is more important than ever. Companies committed to diversity and inclusion are likely to surpass the competition. Recent studies conducted by McKinsey & Company have found that companies exhibiting gender and ethnic diversity outperform less diverse organizations by as much as 35%. They bring in more sales revenue, more customers, and enjoy higher profits. For younger job seekers, diversity and inclusion in the workplace aren’t just a preference; they are a requirement. You may already be hiring with an eye toward equity and inclusion, but most companies have room for improvement.
Read on for important information about diversity recruitment along with some effective practices that will help you attract underrepresented talent.
What is a diversity recruitment strategy and why is it important?
Diversity recruitment strategies define the goals, action items, and measurements necessary for attracting, assessing, and hiring diverse talent. They are most effective when they are a part of a larger diversity and inclusion strategy, developed to ensure the workforce reflects the communities it serves and to capitalize on the benefits that come from harnessing a range of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. They’re particularly vital right now, while companies are facing the tightest labor market in nearly 50 years. Employers are stepping up their game to attract premium talent. It’s a candidate’s market and their demands are high when it comes to workplace diversity.
Here are four best practices that will bolster your efforts to locate and appeal to a diverse talent base:
1. Enhance and showcase your brand.
Focusing on DEI in your employer branding efforts is key to your diversity recruiting strategy. A strong employer brand will help you attract qualified candidates who want to work for you. Strengthen your brand by hiring and retaining diverse employees. Show that you value your workers with competitive salaries and benefits. Create a company culture that promotes work-life balance and helps employees reach the next level in their careers. Promote your appealing employer brand on job boards and through your recruiting strategy. Make sure every recruiter can competently answer questions about your organization’s commitment to workplace diversity.
2. Strive to broaden your appeal.
Promote workplace policies that appeal to a candidate pool of people with different backgrounds. For instance, you might add floating holidays to your paid time off to accommodate the needs of a variety of ethnic backgrounds. Sticking to the same recruiting platforms could also restrict your audience. Avoid relying exclusively on employee referrals. Employees tend to refer people like themselves so if you want to expand your pool, you need to go beyond referrals. Instead, get innovative with your outreach methods. For example, to maximize your search on job boards, you might look for users who belong to specific diversity-oriented groups or are a part of diverse organizations. Even if you are advertising on diversity job boards, you’ll need to get extra-creative to stand out from the pack. You might even consider your company’s location and its appeal (or lack of) to the talent you are seeking to attract. Many companies have successfully increased their pool by opening an office in another location that’s more appealing to a diverse workforce.
3. Revisit and improve current interviewing practices.
Interviewing is a key part of the recruiting process but it can also be extremely biased. Take a critical eye to your existing practices to ensure they’re impartial and effective. Do the interviewers represent diverse backgrounds? Including a variety of people on your recruiting team is a smart step in the right direction. People of different ages, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and genders should vet potential candidates to avoid unconscious bias. You might also help recruiters become more aware of biases that could arise during the interviewing process by hosting a workshop on this topic. And what about the interview questions? Are they structured in a way that eliminates or mitigates bias? For example, standardizing the interview questions avoids inconsistency and ensures that each candidate is evaluated on the same set of criteria.
4. Choose your words carefully.
Attracting diverse candidates to the workplace begins with the language in your job postings. The words you choose can attract or dissuade qualified candidates from applying. Before posting an ad, make sure you’re using inclusive language to reach more people from a broad range of backgrounds. For example, avoid using gender-specific pronoun phrases such as ‘he’ or ‘she’, replacing these phrases with ‘them’ and ‘they’. This inclusive and more generalized pronoun approach helps job seekers who identify with any gender feel the position is geared for them. And what about individuals with disabilities? Will they be able to apply or is your application only available in a format that will exclude them? Examine each job posting to see how it can be improved to include more people from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences. And be sure to consistently include a mention that diverse candidates are encouraged to apply.
Ms. Jaye Holly, MS, of Jaye Holly Consulting is an authority in training and staff development. When asked for her advice for employers regarding their diversity recruitment efforts, she had this to say: “Something for employers to consider when recruiting new employees is that diversity means different. If recruiters are simply seeking BIPOC or LGBTQIA+ versions of their current staff, they will not gain the benefits that diverse experiences and perspectives bring to the table. Creating an inclusive workplace means that employers must create an environment where people can thrive in their identities.”
DEI starts at the top. Demonstrating a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion will enhance your company culture and help you attract top talent. The HR Team is here with valuable tools and expert insights that can facilitate your efforts. Please contact our knowledgeable professionals to learn more.
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