Today, it’s not enough for companies to pay lip service to diversity–people want to see businesses put their money where their mouth is, and truly hire diversely. More and more workers are seeking employers that have embraced diversity, and that’s why HR needs to go about the process thoughtfully. Hiring must be done based on merit, of course – but with taking extra care to remove potential biases and prejudices.
What Is Diversity Hiring?
Diversity hiring is the practice of recruiting new employees to increase the proportion of certain demographics within a company. The critical term here is “demographics,” because people can be described in many ways. But when it comes to DEI, the focus is on groups that have been at a historical disadvantage in the workplace. A diversity hiring program attempts to examine if the company lacks people from such groups and change recruiting strategies accordingly.
The Goal of Diversity Hiring
Like many types of organizational development, diversity hiring aims at improving the overall abilities of a company. At first, there was a lot of skepticism towards the idea because proper implementation methods were not generally understood, and it was felt that DEI might harm productivity. But once DEIB initiatives became more common, they acted as a sort of testing lab that revealed how companies are actually affected by them. The results showed that diversity is good for the bottom line and more. Here are some stats that illustrate how:
- The top 25% of companies, in terms of executive-level gender diversity, were more than 20% more likely to show better financial performance than the bottom 25%
- Companies with a DEI focus retain employees at a rate that is 250% higher than firms lacking diversity
- Diverse companies have a 70% better chance of moving into new markets than those that lack of diversity
The Diversity Hiring Process
The task of a diverse recruiting procedure is to eliminate bias wherever possible because even the most open-minded people can suffer from unconscious prejudices. We’ve outlined below the general guidelines for implementing a non-discriminatory recruiting effort.
Begin with a Diversity Hiring Audit
A diversity audit will tell you where your company lacks equal representation, and why that happens. There are two steps involved:
Demographic surveys. It can be a challenge to figure out all the types of diversity and how they are represented at your company. One place to start is at the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website, which lists common sorts of discrimination. Once you have an idea of the types of diversity you are aiming for, conduct a company-wide survey so that employees can report where they fit. Don’t forget to allow workers to add categories in case there are some specific identities that you overlooked.
Current process overview. Now, ask yourself the question, “How did we get here?” If you have kept rejected applications, check to see if a certain demographic was turned down too often. Or, perhaps you are using a recruiting agency that sends a lot of candidates from an over-represented population.
Choose an Initial Category
It’s always easiest to do an initial test case based on the weakest area. For example, many companies aim for 50% of employees to be women because, after all, that is their representation in the general population.
Rethink Candidate Sourcing
How do you find candidates, and why do certain candidates choose you? To diversify, consider changing your sourcing process in the following ways:
- Use specialist recruiting agencies such as Advento (women), AfroTech (black people), and Disability:IN (disabled people)
- Ensure that all of your marcom materials show diverse employees or actors
- Edit job postings by eliminating words that attract or repel certain types of people (there is even an online tool to identify such language)
- Mention your current diversity levels and goals in job ads; Glassdoor found that 75% of candidates see diversity as an important factor when considering an employer
Use Blind Application Reviews
There are many indicators on a resume and application that can reflect the characteristics of a candidate. These include name, schools attended, languages spoken, marital status, and personal activities. To make sure that unconscious bias doesn’t sneak into your thought process, use blind hiring, where these indicators are removed. There is even software that can help.
Reinforce the Message with DEIB Training
A proper hiring process is only the first step in reaping the benefits of DEIB. Obviously, the other aspects of the concept – equity, inclusion, and belonging – also need reinforcement.
Companies that want to see diversity spread across and up organizational culture must ensure that employees at all levels receive extensive L&D programs aimed at maximizing understanding and application of relevant attitudes and actions.
These are not typical subjects because they can be emotionally charged. In many cases, resistance to DEI is ingrained due to factors like institutional racism. Because of these challenges, many companies prefer the up-close-and-personal treatment of a diversity coach.
It’s not only the results that count, but the process as well. Finding diverse experts for a DEIB training program makes it more authentic. This means that the HR team needs access to a large pool of diversity professionals.
GrowthSpace for Diverse DEI Training Initiatives
Learning and development are crucial for teaching employees about DEI concepts and implementation, but they are often required on a large scale. GrowthSpace allows HR to apply DEI programs across any organization, regardless of size. With GrowthSpace, companies automate the process of matching employees to a wide – and diverse – range of experts for authentic DEI initiatives.