Diversity Recruiting or How to Eliminate Bias and Embrace Change

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Diversity Recruiting or How to Eliminate Bias and Embrace Change

Diversity in the workplace is far from being a fad, an HR buzzword, a “feel-good” move, or a “political correctness” trend. It is one of the engines that drive the success of any organization in our modern times. Most companies and hiring agencies consider diversity recruiting the steppingstone for innovation, creative problem solving, increased profits, and excellent employer branding. But what is diversity recruiting, why is it crucial, and how can we implement diversity recruiting strategies to find the most talented employees? Today, we will answer all these questions and a few more!

What Is Diversity Recruiting?

workplace diversity and inclusion
Diverse Equality Gender Innovation Management Concept

Diversity recruiting is an idea and a practice that holds that a company’s workforce should reflect the realities of the world outside and its social variations. A diverse staff includes people of different backgrounds, cultures, etc. We mostly talk about race and gender when we approach diversity in the workplace, but things go way beyond this surface. Modern recruiting strategies focus on:

  • Work and life experiences;
  • Personality traits, behaviors, and attitudes,
  • Socio-economic backgrounds;
  • Religion and spirituality;
  • Sexual orientation;
  • Disability, and more.

Companies need to understand that it is not enough to check these “diversity requirements” from a list. Just because your team consists of both males and females and a few people of color, it does not mean you achieved the epitome of diversity recruiting.

It would help if you also fostered an open, genuine, welcoming, and trustworthy work environment. Celebrate these differences, not dust them under the carpet, pretending they don’t exist. It means offering true equal chances, regardless of your employees’ backgrounds. Remember, diversity and inclusion go hand in hand.

We don’t even want to talk about those companies where employees fear their diversity will harm their career journey.

Types of Diversity in the Workplace

When we discuss diversity and inclusion, we refer to two main types of diversity:

  • Inherent diversity: characteristics naturally tied to a person, including age, gender, race, personality, etc.
  • Acquired diversity: more fluid characteristics that people acquire and develop throughout their lives, such as work and life experiences, hard and soft skills, knowledge, education, values, etc.

Overall, diversity recruiting means finding employees using recruitment processes and strategies free from bias for or against certain individuals or groups. It is still e meritocracy-based system aiming to find the best possible talent for a position or the organization’s culture. However, the structure of the strategy focuses on giving candidates equal opportunities regardless of their inherent or acquired characteristics.

We find it crucial to mention again that you cannot have genuine diversity without inclusion. Diverse employees cannot and will not work for a company, only pretending to praise differences.

Why Does Diversity Recruiting Matter?

Equal chances, non-discriminatory hiring practices, equal rights, and non-biased hiring decisions will continue to be hot topics from political, social, and economic standpoints. Embracing diversity in all aspects of our lives is something the world needs to get better at, but we must step up our game as recruiters and executives when hiring comes into play.

The reasoning behind enhancing our diversity recruiting strategies is simple:

  • companies need to deal with one of the tightest labor markets in the last decades,
  • there are more jobs available than talented candidates,
  • the workforce demographics landscape is changing at lightspeed,
  • and we still live in a candidate-driven world,
  • employer branding matters now more than ever when companies want to attract talent from both pools of active and passive job seekers. From this perspective, companies that do not genuinely promote diversity will not get that “branding juice” flowing to their benefit.

In other words, candidates are asking for more diversity and inclusion at the workplace – and their demands are high. On the other hand, companies realized that D&I are veritable drivers of success. For this reason, top employers focus on diversity recruiting when they design and revamp their modern hiring strategies and talent acquisition programs.

According to Jyl Feliciano, head of Inclusive and Campus Recruitment Programs at Conagra Brands

Workplace diversity matters now like never before. With a multigenerational workforce in full swing, candidates proactively seek out companies that allow them to bring their authentic selves to the table and celebrate differences. Companies who are intentional about welcoming diversity into the organization understand that it’s a commitment to consistently shifting company behaviors, processes, and policies. The modern-day job seeker can quickly recognize if a company’s D&I efforts are disingenuous.

Diversity in the Workplace Statistics: Job Seeker Survey Reveals What Matters, Yello.co.

The Impact of Diversity Recruiting for Organizational Success

While race and gender representation in the workplace and executive positions changed for the better in the last years in developed economies, companies and hiring agencies still have to keep an eye on some numbers. The reality is far from ideal. These numbers are crucial for understanding the ever-changing workforce landscape.

According to a Deloitte Millennial Report, over 80% of Millennials engage actively in their work when a company fosters a more inclusive work environment. Recent Deloitte reports put things in perspective:

job loyalty rises as businesses address employee needs, from diversity and inclusion to sustainability and reskilling.

The Yello Job Seeker Survey mentioned above also shows that:

70% of employees indicate they would be reluctant to accept a job from a company that claims it is diverse but doesn’t have any executive leaders from underrepresented groups.

63% of passive job seekers indicate they’d be reluctant to accept a job from a company if no employees from underrepresented groups are involved in the interview process.

87% of participants in the Diversity in the Workplace Job Seeker Survey indicate leaders believe diversity recruiting is important, and 81% have a diversity recruiting strategy.

Other reports and statistics give insight on what job seekers want and how companies could approach diversity and inclusion for better performance. For instance, inclusive workplace policies are some of the best drivers of diversity, lower employee turnover, and productivity. Among these policies, experts emphasize:

  • Work from home and flexible working hours;
  • The corporate culture celebrates the diversity and inclusion of cultural backgrounds, religion, gender, language, sexual orientation, etc.
  • Commuting arrangements;
  • Thought leadership;
  • Accessibility measures for employees with disabilities;
  • Employee empowerment to speak up whenever internal policies hinder diversity in any way;
  • Open and honest dialogue across all hierarchy levels.

Other Diversity Recruiting Benefits to Consider for Your Talent Acquisition Strategies

A more diverse workforce solves problems faster, nurtures creativity, and alleviates the issues of unconscious bias. A diverse team is a force to reckon with, as it puts on the table a myriad of innovative solutions and conclusions, fosters healthy debate, and moves things forward. The benefits of diversity recruitment are not a subject of debate or denial. Plenty of resources confirm that it works for organizational success and the greater good of the global economy:

  • Companies with diverse management register 19% higher revenues, according to the BCG.
  • Diversity and inclusion have been a top priority since years ago, with plenty of successful cases but with a lot of remaining territories to cover. Specialists found that diverse companies were 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market segments.
  • According to Glassdoor, 67% of job seekers consider diversity a crucial factor when considering a company.
  • A PwC study found that 85% of CEOs say that having a diverse workforce improved their bottom lines.

As we said, the information dates a few years back, but now, more than ever, diversity and inclusion should be the top list of your pitch when you address active and passive job seekers.

Now, it is time to learn some diversity recruiting strategies, steps, and tips to consider for your upcoming hiring strategies.

Top Diversity Recruiting Strategies to Implement in Your Talent Acquisition Program

The first thing to do is become the change you want to see in the world. It sounds like a cliché, but when it comes to diversity and inclusion in the workplace, the first thing to change is approaching some of the most uncomfortable topics of our society. The issues on the table are difficult, nuanced, open to conflict, disruptive.

Executives and hiring managers need first to open their minds and foster a climate of productive debate on such hot topics. Only after everybody in an organization became comfortable and open to embracing diversity can you implement diversity recruiting strategies. Reducing unconscious bias in the workplace is not quick, cheap, or comfortable, but it is the only way.

Now that you stepped up your own game on D&I, let’s see some recruiting strategies as they make the world go round!

1. Audit Your Job Ads and Focus on Inclusion

Writing and marketing the right job ad to the right audience is a skill that all companies need to practice, together with job ad audits. Does your language target a certain demographic or narrow talent pool? Do you have (conscious or unconscious) stereotypes on heavy rotation with every job ad you post?

Instead of pushing the same old tired HR lexicon of “we’re hiring ninja programmers” or “we are a young and dynamic team,” which means nothing to anybody, you should re-evaluate your job ads top to bottom.

If you have target candidates, speak in their language. When you want to expand the talent pool, address broader ranges of candidates. Explain to them how you will celebrate their uniqueness, value their skills, help them with inclusion, and offer them their dream workplace.

2. Diversify Your Talent Pool

Don’t use the same old boring platforms to announce your open positions. As we said on many occasions, using an Applicant Tracking System is your surefire way of posting your job ads on a wide range of sites and networks.

Another way to source diverse candidates is to take the initiative and look for them where they are. You will be surprised at the number of online and offline groups, websites, and platforms dedicated to women in technology and STEM. Work closely with NGOs to help your company embrace diversity in all its aspects and find the right employees.

One of the many benefits of an ATS is that it eliminates bias from the resume screening process. The software will select candidates on a refined number of parameters, leaving aside any possible personal bias and subjectivity.

3. Create a Diverse Employee Referral Program

It is more than likely that your employees have friends and acquaintances who share more than just similar work experience and formal education. We talk about backgrounds, culture, personality traits, etc. When you design an employee referral program, don’t forget about diversity. It will show passive job seekers that your company is ready and willing to embrace different backgrounds, cultures, personalities, values, and ideas. You cannot get a better employer brand and employee morale & engagement than this.

4. Engrain Diversity Values in Your Company Culture

Keeping things hush-hush about the sexual orientation of some of our employees to avoid upsetting the management is not the way to go about this. On the contrary, showcasing your diversity-focused organizational culture amounts to excellent employer branding and a flood of candidates who want to work for a company and still be who they are.

We know that most of the time, you recruit outstanding business personalities, top-notch technical skills, interpersonal skills, and the ability to take everything without complaint. However, it is the disruptors and the different who ignited the fire of humanity’s development, and you should make it clear to passive candidates that you are welcoming them.

Record your peoples’ stories, make them visible, and incorporate that part of your organization’s personality into how you market your employer brand. Be vocal about your organizational ideals of inclusion and representation. And, most important of all, show, don’t just tell, like in any worthy story.

5. Fine-tune the Way of Testing Candidates

Honesty is the key at this point. Are you screening resumes and applying pre-employment assessment tests already biased, and steering the procedure towards finding certain types of candidates? Does your hiring team interview applicants in a certain manner? Have you ever been relying on gut instinct and personal values when you made a hiring decision?

If you are not sure how much bias, stereotypes, and prejudice make the ingredients of your hiring practices, take a step back and ask your employees or industry peers for their input.

Moreover, AI will not take over humanity any time soon, but it does eliminate human prejudice from some processes. Focus on getting a complete hiring system that does not take the human out of the hiring process, only the inherent hiring mistakes.

Are You Embracing and Promoting Diversity Recruiting and Inclusive Teams?

Any change that comes from within (a person or an organization) will pose tremendous challenges. Diversity recruiting will not occur overnight and will not amount to that inclusion ideal we all aim to achieve. However, if you want to start somewhere, start with your organizations’ bias level. Continue with your employer brand and recruitment process.

Does your company encourage and promote diversity in the workplace? If you have experience with such issues, let us know about your diversity recruitment plan, strategies, and long-term results. What advice can you share with our community? What tactics worked best for you? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this (still) controversial matter!

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