Cultivating a diverse workforce takes significant time and effort, along with a bit of trial and error. If your organization still suffers from a lack of diversity, consider changing your recruitment process. Diversity recruiting is an excellent way to strengthen your workforce while bettering your business.
But what is a diversity hire? What is diversity recruiting?And most importantly, what is a diversity candidate and how can you wield it to make your organization stand out as a place people want to work? This article outlines everything you need to know about this critical hiring practice.
What does diversity recruiting mean?
Diversifying your workforce is an integral part of making your business a microcosm of society. Diversity recruiting strategies help ensure your staff members are as varied as the world around them. It's a complex and never-ending process, but it'll greatly benefit your organization in the long run.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Act (EEOC) in the United States provides guidelines that help companies reduce unconscious hiring biases. These guidelines help ensure diversity and inclusion in the workforce by helping eliminate barriers many marginalized groups face during the hiring process.
Diversity recruiting aims to give all qualified candidates a fair chance no matter their background. When everyone has an equal shot at a job, you'll be able to diversify your workforce and learn more about unconscious biases that might be present in your organization, your hiring process, and yourself.
What are some effective methods for recruiting diverse candidates?
It's not enough to say you want to diversify your workforce. Instead, you need to develop a solid diversity recruitment strategy to reach your goals. To start, you'll need to take steps to ensure a diverse talent pool knows you're hiring. In addition, they'll need to understand why your company stands out among the rest. This requires more than simple online job postings.
Use social media platforms to target underrepresented groups
Underrepresented groups, especially those in younger generations, absorb much of their content through social media platforms and web content. From Twitter to LinkedIn, social media is a valuable tool for businesses, jobseekers, and advertisers in any industry.
Use social media to promote your jobs and your company and make it clear why someone should want to work for you. You can post information about job listings, company benefits, and things you've done to cultivate a diverse workforce. What's best is you can also use these methods to interact with clients and potential hires.
Attend career fairs and job fairs that focus on diversity
Diversity job and career fairs are an excellent way for recruiters to find a diverse candidate pool. In addition, these fairs provide a space for qualified professionals from all walks of life to interact with recruiters.
Specifically, diversity career fairs will target historically underrepresented groups in the workforce. When you attend one of these fairs, you'll have access to a pool of qualified candidates that unconscious bias might've weeded out of your candidate selection process.
Partner with organizations that focus on diversity
Another option for increasing your diversity hiring is to partner with organizations that focus on diversifying your workforce. These organizations can help a diversity candidate find jobs and help pair companies with qualified job seekers.
A benefit of working with professional organizations that focus on how to recruit diversity is that they often have student chapters or members who are mentored and trained by industry professionals. So when you work with these organizations, you'll have access to a young, well-trained, and diverse group of diversity candidates.
Make adjustments to your job postings to be more inclusive
Auditing outward-facing content such as job postings can help build a more diverse candidate pool. This includes avoiding verbiage that might be more attractive to a male or female applicant or language that might alienate certain minority groups.
For example, avoid phrases like "native English speakers." The word native could turn off swaths of ESL applicants who speak fluently, even if it isn't their native tongue. Instead, use "applicants should be fluent in English."
Use blind hiring practices to reduce unconscious bias
If you want to learn how to recruit for diversity, blind hiring practices are an excellent way to prevent bias once you've started examining potential candidates. They allow you to learn as much as possible about a candidate without acquiring much, if any, identifying information.
Two specific blind hiring practices are particularly useful. These are blind resumes and blind interviews. Blind resumes will keep a candidate's personal information concealed, while a blind interview consists of text-based interview questions that further screen candidates.
Use screening tests to eliminate unconscious bias around diversity
Specific AI screening tests can help eliminate bias by helping you avoid questions that might identify a person's social, cultural, or religious background, among others. Removing these questions will help ensure any subconscious biases don't affect your screening process.
Screening questions that might show bias are any questions regarding age, gender, orientation, race, and name. None of these things relate to the candidate's professional qualifications, so there's no need to focus on them until it's time for an interview.
You can also use screening tests to determine skills, including how well a candidate can scan text and graphics for details. Screening tests are one of the best if not the best diversity and inclusion recruiting strategy.
How can organizations create a more diverse and inclusive environment?
Creating a diverse and inclusive work environment involves more than diversifying your workforce. Of course, fostering diversity is the first step. The real work comes when you encourage inclusion.
While diversity can give you a more diverse workforce on the surface, that workforce can only be successful if everyone feels at home. To cultivate an inclusive environment, carefully consider how you train your employees and the type of workplace you want to grow.
Encourage employees to be open about their backgrounds and experiences.
An excellent way to foster inclusivity is by encouraging your employees to be open about their experiences. Allowing them to share their experiences openly provides staff the opportunity to feel and be heard by coworkers, supervisors, and subordinates.
A genuinely inclusive environment also contributes to a higher employee retention rate. If your staff feel welcome and accepted, they're more likely to stick around. You'll also gain a reputation with future employees and other organizations as an inclusive organization.
Educate employees on the importance of diversity and inclusion.
All employees need to be aware of the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. An inclusive culture in your workplace will help your staff feel more connected to one another and their job. The best way to create a culture of inclusivity is through diversity training.
Diversity training is an excellent option to help workers from underrepresented groups feel included. Proper training will help employees recognize their own biases and learn how to eliminate them. It'll also encourage inclusive thinking and actions, making a work environment more positive for everyone.
Promote employee resource groups.
If your organization wants to take a more holistic approach to fostering inclusivity, employee resource groups can help. The earliest employee resource groups (ERGs) date to the post-Civil Rights era but have since evolved to encompass all marginalized groups.
ERGs are a valuable tool for fostering a sense of community within your business. They create an environment where employees can share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences with other group members. In addition, ERGs allow members of the same minority groups to support one another and develop ways to further an inclusive company culture.
Encourage employees to refer diverse candidates for open positions.
Employee referrals can go a long way in building a valuable and diverse workforce. Referrals help narrow down a group of candidates and provide company leadership with a reliable reference for new employees.
Consider offering incentives for your staff each time they provide referrals for applicants in underrepresented groups. Referral bonuses have a strong track record of helping onboard qualified and diverse employees.
Also, consider your phrasing when you offer bonuses for referrals. For example, one company found that asking for "referrals" will lead employees to refer people who "look" like themselves, either in appearance or qualifications. On the other hand, asking for "leads" led to a more culturally diverse group of candidates.
Provide unconscious bias training for all employees.
Unconscious biases can be difficult for people to accept or acknowledge. However, almost everyone has them. The trick to overcoming them is learning how to recognize their existence, then taking steps to minimize or eliminate them altogether.
Providing your employees with unconscious bias training will help create a more robust and diverse workforce that's inclusive of all its employees. In addition, unconscious bias training helps raise awareness within your organization about actions, words, and assumptions that negatively affect others.
Successful unconscious bias training will help workers identify where and how they make snap judgments based on age, sexual orientation, gender, or race. Your staff won't realize their mind is making those assumptions in most cases. However, in recognizing them, they can take steps to shut them down when they arise.
Implement and enforce anti-discrimination policies.
Company-wide anti-discrimination policies go a long way in creating an inclusive environment. They'll also help employees feel protected, supported, and heard when they have concerns or feel discriminated against.
If your company doesn't already have anti-discrimination policies, now is the time to develop them. If your company already has an anti-discrimination policy, sit down and go over it in detail. Then, see if there are any areas where you can improve your policy. If possible, talk with potentially affected groups within your organization to gain valuable input.
Encourage employees to speak up if they feel like they are being discriminated against.
One of the biggest reasons employees don't speak up if they feel they or someone else was discriminated against is a fear of retaliation. Unfortunately, in many cases, that fear is valid and justified. However, it's crucial that your staff know they can come to you if and when they feel they're being treated unjustly.
Although anti-discrimination policies can help encourage staff to speak up, they should also know that the people they're reporting to are open to hearing them.
The best way to make your employees feel safe is to show them you and their other supervisors are available when needed. Open communication is key in issues like discrimination, so your staff must know you're there for them.
Celebrate employees' diverse backgrounds
A simple way to foster inclusivity and highlight diversity is by celebrating your employees' diverse backgrounds. These celebrations can be in the form of office parties, holiday celebrations, or employee-led workshops.
There are a few reasons highlighting diversity can benefit your staff. Mainly, it allows employees from marginalized groups to feel seen, heard, and welcomed. When they can share their culture freely and without judgment, they'll feel more at home.
Another reason celebrating diversity is beneficial is because it allows coworkers to get to know each other on a different level. They all know how to work together, but learning more about one another's backgrounds gives more insight, leading to better working relationships and, possibly, a few friendships.
What challenges do organizations face when recruiting diverse candidates?
Recruiting diverse candidates can be challenging for businesses for several reasons. Mainly because you have to also take steps to eliminate bias during the recruiting process. Then, you need to ensure your business is where they want to work long-term.
Attracting diverse candidates
When you create a job posting, you'll need to make sure it highlights your company's desire to cultivate a diverse and inclusive environment. In addition, you should work to build a brand reputation that puts your company out there as a place that welcomes diversity.
The best place to showcase your company is on social media. Sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter provide companies the perfect platform to touch a broad audience of potential candidates. Not only can you reach them through posting, but through targeted advertising, too.
Another way to court new talent is through recruitment fairs. Here, you'll be able to shake hands and talk with people from underrepresented minorities. These fairs are great for getting your company's name out there while attracting potential candidates to your business.
Ensuring a level playing field during the recruitment process
The recruitment process tends to be where employers struggle to tamp down unconscious biases. Between creating job postings to reading resumes, the mental shortcuts that lead to biased decision-making tend to appear when you're recruiting and hiring.
To ensure a level playing field during recruitment, you should employ blind hiring techniques and a proper AI screening process. These methods will help you avoid gathering information that might reveal a candidate's age, gender, race, sexual orientation, or other identifying information that could lead to bias.
Retaining diverse employees
Building a diverse work environment doesn't end with the hiring process. The next step is retaining the qualified candidates you hired. That means you need to weave diversity into each area of your organization.
Unfortunately, employee retention is often where many employers struggle the most. If you haven't done all you can to create an inclusive environment, your employees might often feel like the "odd man out." When that happens, employees often become disheartened and resign.
There are many ways you can work to retain your diverse employees. Flexible work arrangements, exit interviews, alumni groups, and employee resource groups can all help make your staff want to stick around.
How can organizations better support and retain employees from underrepresented groups?
Planning out how to create a diverse workforce takes a lot of time and effort. From promoting to recruitment to hiring, it can be pretty difficult to truly understand the significance of diversity recruiting.
However, the more difficult part is employee retention. Your business is only as diverse as its employees. If you have a high turnover rate for staff from marginalized groups, you'll need to take a closer look at how you're running your business.
Here are a few ways you can support and retain your diverse staff.
By implementing unconscious bias training
The most important thing you can do to retain employees is implementing mandatory unconscious bias training. Although it's nice to think we can make decisions without bias, that can be nearly impossible in many, if not most, cases. When a bias is deeply ingrained, it's a challenge to first acknowledge it, then address it.
Biased behaviors will always negatively affect members of your staff. However, utilizing unconscious bias training will show your team you're serious about inclusivity and help them learn more about themselves.
Most importantly, this training will make your diverse employees feel welcome. If they know their supervisors care about making them feel welcome, those employees will be far more likely to remain with your organization.
By increasing the number of employees from underrepresented groups
The world around you is a melting pot of cultures, religions, races, and all things that make humans unique from one another. Therefore, your organization should reflect society. The best way to achieve that is by increasing the number of employees from underrepresented groups.
But how do you do that when your hiring process is blind?
Well, there are two things you can do. First, build a brand image that highlights your inclusive environment. This, alone, will help draw in diverse candidates. This includes appropriately worded advertisements, job postings, and web content.
Second, participate in every diversity job fair you can. These fairs will pair you with talented candidates from all walks of life. They're also a great place to conduct mini-interviews. These brief, informal chat sessions can give you a good jumping-off point with potential hires.
By offering flexible work arrangements
Many people have become keenly aware of the importance of a flexible work environment in recent years. Between hybrid, remote, and in-person work, in addition to flexible hours, the landscape of many fields has changed. Not to mention, workers have begun migrating toward organizations that offer flexible work arrangements that suit their needs.
However, flexible work arrangements don't just need to be out of necessity or in response to a troubling event. Instead, you should allow your staff to choose their own work environment, rearrange their schedules, and choose their own hours whenever possible.
Many people have family, cultural, and religious obligations or other restrictions that might make certain work hours or duties difficult. Doing your best to work around their circumstances will let them feel less like a cog in a machine and more like family.
By ensuring that employees from underrepresented groups have access to the same resources and opportunities as other employees
Despite a rich and welcoming environment, many employees might not have equal access to critical professional resources and opportunities as one another. This includes things like reliable transportation or home internet and growth opportunities within your organization.
When you want to retain your employees, you should encourage them to grow by providing them the resources to do so. This includes funded professional development, blind hiring practices for in-office transfers whenever possible, and flexibility if an emergency arises.
Another thing to consider is promoting employees based on merit, not just the degree they hold. Not all employees will have had the same access to higher education as others, which might make them automatically unqualified for certain positions. However, if you hire based on merit, you'll be able to foster growth within your own workforce.
Diversity recruiting: Top 6 Quick Wins
- To target a more diverse candidate pool, use an AI-powered recruiting platform during your recruiting process.
- Create job descriptions that demonstrate your organization's inclusive nature.
- Ensure your hiring and training teams have unconscious bias training.
- Always look out for red flags during the interview process.
- Check-in with your hiring team regularly to ensure you're all on the same page regarding diversity hiring practices.
- Utilize screen tests to help eliminate unconscious bias among your staff.
Diversity recruiting is a critical method for creating a culturally rich, inclusive work environment. The diversity candidate meaning is more than just the concept. Not only does it provide a more diverse workforce, but it also helps eliminate biases you and others within your organization might have.
Highlighting these biases can ultimately lead to more workplace diversity. Still, the goal is to educate and inform while hiring highly qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds.