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How to Hire with Diversity and Inclusion in Mind


Jennifer Kim compares underrepresented talent to the canaries in the coalmine – whatever biases exist in your hiring process, certain groups will feel them before others do. Hiring with diversity in mind isn’t just about who you let in at the top of the business – there are many pitfalls throughout the hiring process that can create an unfair or even hostile environment. There can also be many opportunities in that process for improving diversity and inclusion in a business, for the benefit of current and future colleagues. You and many socially aware businesses want to make a positive impact on the world and the community around them, or at least they should do. If you want to ensure your business is doing everything it can – diversity and inclusion should be at the heart of your hiring strategy. 

What do we mean by diversity recruiting?

Diversity recruiting means that you hire candidates only according to their ability to perform their job efficiently, without considering bias. In diversity hiring, you mitigate unconscious biases that can stand in the way of hiring the best candidate, like their race, gender, sexual orientation, or educational background. However, achieving greater diversity is easier said than done. And, putting a diverse recruitment policy in place can be seen as a somewhat overwhelming and difficult task. 

Not sure where to start? In this weeks article, we will review simple steps every business should consider when looking to encourage a more diverse workforce. 

1. Measure current diversity to set feasible goals for the business:

Before setting out on creating a new diverse hiring policy, it is key to measure diversity in the business. You can’t hit goals without knowing where you were to start with. Once you understand your current diversity levels, you can set goals based on your hiring projections for the year. 

One way to measure this might be by an anonymous survey. It can be an invaluable tool for collecting diversity information. You can start by explaining to employees that you are collecting information to measure diversity and plan a diverse recruiting strategy for the company.

2. Make job adverts inclusive:

If you’re seeking a “rockstar” with “killer business skills” who will “dominate” the competition, candidates from the underrepresented groups, especially women, will be few and far between. Language can be key in attracting or turning people away from applying for a position. These days, many online tools can help you ensure you are wording your advertisement with diverse groups in mind. 

3. Don’t neglect diversity training in your recruitment team: 

When crafting your diversity strategy, you need to ensure every team member is on board. Diversity training plays an important role in making this happen. The purpose of diversity training is to increase awareness of different diversity parameters and the factors that can suppress each one. Your training could cover topics like identifying unconscious biases, understanding civil rights violations and reviewing diversity policies put in place by your business. 

The following guidelines may help you with creating an effective diversity training scheme for your staff: 

Communicate clear diversity goals: 

A hiring team should know at all times the goals you want to achieve in diversity recruiting efforts. Share with them statistics from any diversity statistics your business may have and the goals you would like to hit in the future when hiring. Discuss why these goals are important and brainstorm ways to source and recruit diverse candidates. When you involve your team in the process of setting goals, they’ll be much more invested in helping you achieve those goals. 

Get support from management: 

It is vital to get senior management involved in the training so they can also understand the importance of a diverse workforce. Senior management will be able to help spread ideals across the business, secure funding for staff training and diverse recruiting activities, and generally help with promoting your diversity goals.  

4. Hire for Culture Add, Not Culture Fit:

Culture fit is a term often used to exclude diverse candidates and is likely to lead to a uniform workforce that looks and thinks alike. Instead of focusing on hiring candidates with similar backgrounds, seek out candidates who bring something new to the organisation. 

5. Consider Business Branding:

A lot of companies add a line to their job postings that says “We’re an equal-rights employer and value diversity.” But when candidates visit the businesses website, they find nothing about this commitment. This will hinder your diversity recruitment efforts as diverse candidates will be less likely to apply if they don’t see anything that shows how you support and promote diversity in your business. 

According to Glassdoor, 67% of job-seekers say that diversity is an important reason when applying for a job. When there is no evidence of diversity and inclusion, the chance of receiving applications from top-performing diversity candidates significantly lowers. Ensure your brand and ethos is consistent across your social media, website and all job advertisements. 

6. Don’t Stop With Recruiting:

Consider Mentorship Programmes: 

A mentorship program offers your diverse hires to get the guidance and support they may not have had previously in their careers. You should encourage all employees to participate in the program and facilitate pairings based on interest, skills, and career ambition.

Encourage Networking Between Different Departments & Levels: 

By allowing colleagues to mix between different teams and levels, you are encouraging communication, transparency and rapport across your workforce. It may also allow for hidden talent to be spotted, supported and developed by management. 

Diversity Recruiting Done Right Makes All The Difference

Diversity recruiting isn’t a numbers game. It’s a vital strategy for success that every business needs to incorporate in its planning. 

A diverse workplace offers a competitive advantage to businesses in terms of innovation, branding, and leadership. Developing a strong diverse recruitment strategy will allow you to source, hire, and retain top-performing candidates that will impact any business positively.