More than ever, organizations are prioritizing and investing resources into cultivating a diverse and inclusive workplace. And, this transformation starts with hiring the right people. That’s why workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion have become a top priority for recruitment teams.
But what does diversity and inclusion in the workplace mean? Many think that diversity is solely around demographic groups like gender or race. However, it’s much broader. Building a diverse and inclusive workplace means intentionally employing people from various backgrounds, experiences, races, ages, sexual orientation, education, cultures, viewpoints, personalities, and other attributes.
Why is diversity essential in the workplace?
Diversity in the workplace leads to a plethora of advantages and benefits. Research shows that a diverse and inclusive workplace leads to higher performance, creativity, and innovation. And ultimately, this leads to increased business revenue.
With access to a wide range of employees who bring different experiences and viewpoints, a diverse organization can draw on varying perspectives and knowledge to make better decisions—in a shorter amount of time. And a team that makes more informed decisions and solves problems faster gains the advantage of reaching goals, increasing profits, and beating competitors.
Other benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce are a reduction in employee turnover and an increase in employee engagement. Employees perceive companies that care about diversity in the workplace as more inclusive. This viewpoint creates an environment where people feel comfortable sharing different characteristics and perspectives. As a result, employees feel more valued and accepted, which often leads to better teamwork and relationships.
6 proven ways to promote diversity and inclusivity in the recruitment process
1. Take an active interest in workplace diversity. And make it a priority.
It’s great that companies are thinking about ways to be more diverse and inclusive. However, taking action is the only way that will help you achieve your diversity goals. Building a diverse workplace is about making progress over time. So, start now. Hire a Diversity & Inclusivity leader. Train your team on what a diverse and inclusive workplace means. It all begins with education.
2. Educate your team.
Teach your team what diversity, equity, and inclusion mean, and why it’s essential. Diversity training usually helps employees, especially recruiters and hiring managers, learn how to spot bias in the screening and hiring process. One standard workshop that businesses conduct is around reducing unconscious bias in recruitment. Invite individual teams and everyone at the company to unconscious bias training so that everyone understands that D&I is an all-company initiative. Although unconscious bias training is a start and can help, it doesn’t always solve the problem. So make sure you follow it up with other best practices.
3. Reduce unconscious bias in your hiring process.
- Write your job posting more carefully and reconsider job requirements.
By law, job requisitions include equality employment opportunity statements. However, hiring managers who write job specifications don’t always consider the factors influencing the likelihood of specific candidates applying. Make sure your team is using words that appeal to everyone. For example, instead of “Salesman,” use “Sales Rep” or “Salesperson” to get more women to apply for the role. Use pronouns that are more inclusive. Instead of using "his/her", consider using alternatives like “their” and “you." You can also use tools like Textio to help you catch words or phrases that are not inclusive to everyone.
- Offer workplace policies that are more appealing to untapped applicants.
Different people have different needs. You’ll likely attract more underserved candidates if your organization is flexible with policies such as work schedules and remote policies. Other benefits to consider are adding onsite daycare, catered meals, and childcare subsidies. This way, your workplace is more compelling to a myriad of job hunters.
- Rethink how you surface candidates to hiring managers.
What you can do to help reduce bias actively is to label resumes by number, delete the candidate name, and hide the name of the school(s) the applicant attended. This step will help you take gender and education out of the equation. Hiring managers can then focus on the qualifications and years of experience without bias.
- Ask your candidates the same questions.
To truly gauge whether a candidate is a better fit than others, it’s important to ask the same questions (in the same order) to all applicants. So the next time you have an open headcount, work with your hiring panel to create 3-5 standard questions that they would ask all of the applicants during the interviews.
- Avoid labeling candidates pre-maturely in the interview process.
Hiring teams often label candidates pre-maturely, which leads to unconscious bias. Instead, try to not label candidates as the “most promising” or the “best fit” until the team has considered all applicants. This will help ensure that all qualified candidates get equal consideration.
4. Proactively widen and deepen your candidate search.
This process is one of the most essential ways to increase the diversity of your workplace. We’ve said it before—creating a diverse workplace starts with hiring. And within the hiring process, sourcing talent and creating a diverse pool of candidates are crucial. To help you widen your candidate pool and pipeline, consider:
- - Using different sourcing strategies to reach more untapped candidates. Look beyond employee referrals since people’s networks often comprise of demographically similar individuals. You should also take advantage of sourcing tools and third-party websites to post your roles on.
- - Encouraging and coaching hiring teams to look beyond their idea of the “perfect fit”. If possible, avoid using degrees and certifications as “nice to haves”. Instead, take a deeper dive into candidates from non-traditional backgrounds.
This method will help you nix bias in the bud at the sourcing stage.
5. Adjust your employer brand.
Do an audit of how your organization is portrayed through your website and social media. It’s crucial to look at both the brand messaging and the pictures posted to see if it depicts a diverse and inclusive workplace. Another way to highlight your company’s culture is through outreach. Be vocal about the stance your organization takes on diversity, equity, inclusion, and social impact.
6. Involve underrepresented representatives in the hiring process.
There’s no better way to show underrepresented candidates that they belong at your organization than to show them through those they speak with. So, make sure the hiring committee represents diversity to create a thoughtful and intentional hiring process that’ll be attractive to untapped candidates. A diverse hiring committee could include employees at different levels, ages, cultures, backgrounds, genders, beliefs, and personalities.
Achieving diversity and inclusion goals take time, effort, and resources. But, when you make it a priority within your organization to talk about and build towards it, you’re setting the business on the path to success.
Keep in mind that there isn’t an expectation for anyone to get it perfect. There’s always room for improvement. So, it’s all about making progress, being open to listen and learn, and committing to making your workplace more inclusive for everyone.
How many of these tips will you be implementing? Let us know which ones are the most effective.
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