Building a Successful Diversity Recruiting Strategy—Step-by-Step Guide
Recently, more and more employers have been realizing the importance of diversity in recruitment. Although some progress has been made, we still have a long way to go. In Clutch’s 2020 study on U.S. employees, 54% of participants said they believed their company hadn’t successfully improved diversity.
Minority groups are still highly underrepresented. For instance, according to Mercer’s 2020 DEI report, BIPOCs are less likely to occupy executive and managerial positions than white persons.
Also, Statista reports that, as of 2022, only 15% of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are women. Since they make up about half of the world’s population, this number seems minuscule.
Unfortunately, the issue of inequality is firmly ingrained in all industries, recruitment included. To combat it, you need to fully commit and develop a sound diversity and inclusion hiring strategy. Besides being the “right thing to do”, diversity hiring comes with a long list of benefits for the employer.
In this article, we’ll reveal what those benefits are and suggest some best practices to help you create an effective and sustainable diversity recruiting strategy. We’ll also touch on Workello, a tool that can aid in your path toward inclusion.
What Is a Diversity Recruiting Strategy and Why You Need One
The first step is to understand the difference between Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI):
What It Entails
What the Lack of It Looks Like
Welcoming differences in race, gender, sexual orientation, and other areas
A homogenous workforce lacking innovation
Understanding the disadvantages that some people face and providing opportunities for them
A biased selection process that sets people from different backgrounds up for failure
Making sure your diverse employees feel accepted and supported as much as all other employees
A toxic workplace culture that unfairly prioritizes a particular group of people over the rest
A proper diversity recruitment strategy takes into consideration all three of these aspects. It aims to ensure fair treatment of all candidates, regardless of their background or appearance. It should permeate every stage of the recruitment funnel and involve all employees, especially those in charge of talent acquisition.
Benefits of Diversity Hiring
If correctly implemented, a diversity strategy can propel your business to new heights. Here are some benefits to consider:
Enhanced employee job satisfaction—when working in an accepting environment, employees can thrive and they’re more likely to stick around
Innovation and creativity—people from diverse backgrounds can bring in fresh perspectives and boost creativity
Expansion into new markets—according to HBR, diverse employers have a 70% higher chance of capturing new markets
Financial gain—75% of companies with a DEI culture exceed their financial targets, as Gartner reports
Stronger brand reputation—diversity matters to people. Glassdoor states that 3 out of 4 candidates seek companies with diverse workforces
While most employers can agree that diversity is important, not all manage to successfully see it through. After all, it’s a long process requiring consistent and thorough work. It calls for a rethinking of every stage of the recruitment funnel.
Still, due to the accessibility of resources and technology like Workello, it’s never been easier to optimize your recruitment strategy. Certain manual and repetitive tasks can be automated, letting you focus on other aspects, such as diversity.
Below, we’ll break down the most important steps to achieving diversity:
1) Understanding and Reducing Bias
Many employers struggle to successfully implement a diversity strategy. Oftentimes, that happens because they did it only superficially. You can’t recruit a few diverse candidates and call it a day. You need to reframe your thinking and make a meaningful change that sticks.
The first step toward that is to understand where bias comes from and what it looks like. Some of the common differences subject to discrimination include:
To grasp the purpose of diversity is to recognize that humans come in many shapes and sizes. What is true for you may not be for someone across the globe, and vice versa.
Achieving diversity is no easy feat. Such big changes can seem intimidating, so it’s best to take small, incremental steps. Here are 4 pieces of advice to help you get started:
Adopt a data-driven approach. Start by analyzing previous data and identifying equity gaps, then assess after each step to see what works
Accept that inference is inherently flawed. No matter the selection method, you can only estimate how the candidate will perform on the job. A flexible, probabilistic approach can go a long way
If you limit yourself to a single job posting site, your talent pool likely won’t be diverse, which means you’ve set yourself up for failure. Advertise your vacancy in multiple places to increase your chances of recruiting top talent.
When it comes to hiring ads, make sure not to use gender-coded words or other discriminatory terms. Use inclusive language and stay away from highly specific requirements.
According to HBR, women apply for 20% fewer jobs than men and tend not to apply if they’re not 100% qualified. Exclusive requirements might deter candidates who don’t meet all the qualifications but could turn out to be excellent hires. Instead of a specific number of years of experience, consider listing a broad range and a few desired skills.
To save time, you can use one of Workello’s effective pre-written job descriptions and customize it to your needs.
The next step is to come up with a bias-free selection process. Here’s how you achieve that:
Train your hiring team—Make sure your recruiters are prepared for changes to come. According to InStride, 92% of employers think that a workforce education program can help a company reach its diversity goals
Blind resume screening and interviews—Rank candidates based on skills, aptitude, and motivation when making hiring decisions, not appearance or background. An ATS can help you with that by hiding the candidate’s name, image, location, and other traits
Take your time—HBR reports that slow and deliberate assessments tend to be less biased. Make sure the recruiters aren’t rushing through resumes, as that might bring out some unconscious prejudices
Pre-hire assessments can be an excellent way to predict future job success. For example, Workello’s expert-crafted tests are designed to mimic real-life tasks, and they’re simple and effective at measuring role-specific skills.
Still, be careful when administering tests to candidates from different cultures or with limited abilities. Due to inequality, the tests might have been created by a particular group of individuals and “validated” using a homogenous sample. That usually means they’re not as accurate at assessing people from other groups.
Remember, not everyone had the opportunity to get a high-quality education or familiarize themselves with the recruitment process. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, some BIPOC groups are less likely to have a bachelor’s or higher degree.
Source: InStride/National Center for Education Statistics
4) Providing Opportunities to Underrepresented Groups
When the time comes to make an employment offer, consider following these tips to ensure equality and equity:
Loosen your selection criteria to include candidates who might not be 100% qualified for the role. After all, they might not have had the opportunity to gain those qualifications, and the job you’re offering could be their stepping stone to success
Instead of having strict requirements from the get-go, provide training and coaching to your new employees to help them succeed in the role
Offer temporary internships to candidates to give them a chance to showcase their skills and motivation, following up with a full-time offer if they’re successful
Make sure you offer equal and fair pay to all employees, as well as benefits, rewards, and promotion opportunities
Foster a culture of transparency and encourage employees to have open discussions
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women, Black, and Hispanic people tend to have lower earnings than other groups. One of the reasons for this pay gap is the fact that they usually occupy lower-level positions. Still, more often than not, people from marginalized groups are unjustifiably paid less than their peers with the same jobs.
Source: Vervoe/U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
5) Measuring Success
Diversity and inclusion require continuous work. To identify which areas need improvement, monitor your progress at each stage of the funnel. Notice where the bottlenecks are, i.e. at what stage your candidates become less diverse. Take a look at your practices to figure out why that’s the case, then come up with a correction plan.
Most applicant tracking systems have the analytics feature, giving you detailed insights into the success of your recruitment process Another way to gain valuable insight is to ask your applicants and employees for feedback.
After gaining insight, it’s time to come up with a new strategy. According to Forbes and Charles Hipps, your diversity goals need to be “SMART”:
Clearly define what you want to change and how you want to do it
Make sure you can measure it so you can track the progress
Set realistic goals based on your resources and other specificities
Consider the company’s main objective and values
Come up with a timeline to ensure accountability
To increase your chances of succeeding, you need to come up with an effective and scalable diversity recruiting strategy, which should entail:
Planning and education of your hiring team to understand bias and how to combat it
Broadening your talent pool by using multiple outreach methods
Having a successful selection process while providing an inclusive and pleasant candidate experience
Focusing on coaching rather than strict selection criteria and ensuring equal pay and promotion opportunities to all
Setting realistic, actionable goals and monitoring progress for constant improvement
A solution like Workello can help you streamline your hiring process. With pre-written job ad templates, assessments, and automated responses, you can move candidates through the funnel in a few clicks. By taking over mundane tasks and saving you time, such a system will allow you to focus on more pressing matters, such as diversity.