In recent years, the national conversation surrounding racial, gender and ethnic diversity has taken center stage, with a growing focus on the importance of recruiting more people from a range of backgrounds. Have your company’s diversity recruiting strategies kept pace?
Recruiting diverse candidates isn’t just a passing trend; recent surveys indicate that 84 percent of corporate directors believe that companies need to implement effective diversity hiring strategies. Why? Because recruiting diverse candidates offers numerous benefits, from more innovation and better decision-making to improved performance.
A more diverse workplace also means new processes, perspectives, and ways of thinking. The goal is to create a more equitable workplace and, as a leader, it’s up to you to take action and champion these changes. One of the most important and challenging steps? Finding and attracting underrepresented talent.
What is Diversity Recruiting and Why Does It Matter?
First, a few important definitions: What, exactly, does it mean to have a diverse workforce? In a nutshell, a diverse workplace contains employees that possess a range of backgrounds, perspectives, knowledge bases and experiences. This means people of different ethnicities, cultures, genders, nationalities, ages, education levels, religions, abilities and more.
Recruiting a dimensionally diverse workplace is key, as well. That means diversity recruiting initiatives should target candidates with both inherent diversity and acquired diversity.
Inherent diversity is associated with traits you’re born with, such as race, sex, mental and physical ability. Acquired diversity, on the other hand, involves the knowledge and traits one gains through experiences, such as living in another country or working extensively with different cultures.
But why should diversity and recruitment be a focus? It’s simple: Many employers seeking diverse candidates wish to take advantage of the myriad of benefits an inclusive workforce offers, such as:
- More creativity and innovation
- Improved decision-making
- Better productivity and profitability
- Increased employee engagement and retention
- Healthy company culture
Finally, let’s provide a diversity recruitment definition. This type of recruitment seeks out talent that doesn’t necessarily fit the mold that already exists at your company. Along with strategies to recruit a diverse workforce, your recruitment diversity policy should be backed up by a clear “why” that champions your recruitment efforts.
What is a Diversity Recruiting Strategy and Why is it Important?
You may be wondering how to source diverse talent… good question! The process starts with your diversity recruiting strategies.
These strategies form the roadmap you’ll follow when attracting diverse talent to your team. Your diversity recruitment plan should include:
- Reasons why you seek a more diverse workforce
- Actionable ways to seek talent from different pools
- Diversity outreach ideas
- Hiring goals
- Methods you’ll use to attract and retain a diverse range of top talent
The good news is that hiring diverse candidates offers many benefits to your company. By seeking talent from a varied candidate pool, you’ll tap into a range of experience, knowledge and expertise. This, in turn, leads to greater innovation, more creativity when problem-solving, better decision-making, and fresh perspectives within your teams.
But don’t just take our word for it. Incorporating diversity in your recruitment policy has measurable, quantifiable benefits. According to a study done by Deloitte, teams saw a 17% increase in team performance, a 20% increase in decision making quality, and a 29% increase in team collaboration. Additionally, organizations with inclusive cultures are 2 times more likely to reach financial goals, 3 times more likely to be high-performing, and are 6 times more likely to be more innovative and agile.
That’s not all. Recruiting diverse candidates also impacts profits; according to 85% of CEOs, having a diverse workforce improved their bottom lines. Studies indicate that companies that incorporate diverse management teams have, on average, 19% higher revenues.
Finding and Attracting Underrepresented Talent
If you’re like many leaders, you’re probably asking how to begin recruiting a diverse workforce. Let’s take a look at some best practices for selecting and recruiting diverse candidates for your open positions.
Having Diverse Candidates to Choose From Starts With Job Posts
Attracting diversity in the workplace starts with the language you use when creating job postings. The words you choose to include in posts may dissuade — or attract — diverse candidates to apply.
For instance, job ads that include typically masculine terms, such as “ambitious” or “dominate,” may turn off female job seekers. Before posting a job ad, check to make sure you’re using inclusive, rather than biased, language. 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.
Using inclusive language is key to reaching more people from a broad range of backgrounds. Examine job postings for evidence that they’re geared toward a specific demographic, then assess ways to open up the language to include more people from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences.
Of course, you can also use language that’s intentionally geared toward a specific demographic. For instance, the words “cooperative” and “competitive” tend to attract female candidates. This can help your job openings stand out to and attract a certain group of candidates.
Create Company Policies that Appeal to Diverse Talent
When taking a look at how to increase diversity through your recruitment practices, assess your company’s policies. Do they appeal to a diverse range of candidates?
For instance, which paid holidays do you offer? Consider including holidays such as Juneteenth, Eid al-Adha, Yom Kippur, Eid al-Fitr or Diwali as options for employees’ days off. This will send a clear signal to candidates that they are welcome, their cultures are respected, and will ultimately encourage them to apply. On the same note, make it a company policy to offer a flexible schedule when it comes to religious ceremonies and important cultural events.
A company culture that embraces diversity offers benefits to all employees. By building a workplace that’s inclusive of a range of cultures, backgrounds and more, employees will feel more comfortable and accepted. This leads to greater innovation, employee retention and overall studies show that cognitively diverse teams solve problems faster.
Reconsider What You Screen For
When considering your diversity recruiting strategies, think about what you screen for. Take an honest look at what you really look for in a candidate, then ask yourself why you prefer certain traits.
Are these preferred traits steering recruitment results toward specific types of candidates? Whether bias is intentional or unconscious, your preferences may be thwarting your search for diverse candidates. Taking steps to combat bias can help.
For example, some corporations have turned to skills-based assessments tests, rather than college degree requirements, to aid in recruiting diverse candidates. Why? Because disqualifying candidates because they don’t hold a certain degree can perpetuate structural inequalities, such as barriers to higher education access. A skills-based assessment helps to remove bias from the recruitment and hiring process.
Expand Where You Source Talent to Diversify Your Talent Pool
When you seek talent in the same place over and over again, you’re likely to end up with a relatively homogenous workplace. Instead, stop focusing on the usual sites (LinkedIn and other career finder sites) and broaden where you source talent from.
Diversity outreach ideas include:
- Partnering with universities, diversity associations and external affinity organizations to help build and expand job searches
- Table at diversity events and job fairs
- Increase points of entry at your business by offering paid internships
A diverse workforce offers benefits from improved problem-solving to increased innovation. Tapping into a greater range of experience, knowledge and expertise also means a better bottom line.
The key to recruiting a diverse workforce lies in your diversity recruiting strategies. By developing a diversity recruitment plan, eliminating bias from the recruitment and hiring process, and broadening your talent search to be more inclusive, you can successfully impact your company culture.
Plus, a focus on incorporating diversity and inclusion within the workforce shows that your company is aware and appreciative of all their employees — and values their importance.
A commitment to fair treatment and equal opportunities goes a long way toward engaging and retaining current and future employees, too. What does all this mean to you? If there’s one key takeaway, it’s that the sooner diversity and inclusion is implemented, the better off your company will be.
The PeopleSuite Process
At PeopleSuite, we understand the immense value that diversifying your talent can bring to your organization. With our wealth of experience in diversity recruiting and expansive connections, we work to deliver a diverse yet qualified candidate pool to our clients based on their hiring and growth objectives. When it comes to finding the right fit for your positions, it’s important to consider how diverse candidates can add value to your teams and company overall. Contact us to learn more about how PeopleSuite can help you secure diverse talent for a range of positions.