Diversity and inclusion in recruitment.
You might have heard the term DE&I or received or administered some training in this area at your company, but you still might not really know how to incorporate diversity hiring into your hiring strategy.
As we move into 2023, a year in which the tight labour markets of 2022 are expected to continue, with more jobs available than willing and able applicants, there’s never been a better time to widen the pool of candidates in your talent search.
In the US, the recent tech layoffs are hitting diveristy and inclusion jobs hard with a decline of 19% in DE&I roles last year and major companies such as Twitter has seen their diverse workforce shrink alarmingly: Tech Layoffs Are Hitting Diversity and Inclusion Jobs Hard – Bloomberg
But, diversity, equity, and inclusion within a workforce is crucial to the sharing of ideas and innovation and good DE&I teams help to ensure that there is retention and attraction of a variety of talent.
Firstly, a DE&I or diversity, equity and inclusion hiring strategy, is when your company works on building a diverse and inclusive recruitment process. It allows companies to embrace different abilities and, aside from being a morally good thing to do, has been proven to improve companies from the inside out. In fact, according to Forbes, companies with above-average diversity produced a greater proportion of revenue from innovation (45% of total) than from companies with below-average diversity.
Diversity hiring includes age, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, socio-economic background, disability, language and other features of a person’s background. It’s not a tick box exercise but something you should embed into every layer of your recruitment process to make it as accessible as possible and, ultimately, to appeal to the best candidates and not put off potential future company superstars.
But what strategies can you employ to make your company and hiring process attractive to diverse talent so that they actually apply? Here are our top tips.
1.Take stock of what your company is currently doing and where you are falling short
The first step to engaging with diversity hiring is to realise the need to change. Spend some time making sure everyone is onboard with the need to change, especially those in leadership roles, as authenticity in diversity changes is key.
Then look at your company’s current statistics and culture. Increasing diversity can mean different things for different companies. Look back at your hiring data and trends to see where you might be excluding or favouring certain demographics.
If you haven’t already, start collecting DE&I data in your recruitment process to keep track of your progress and see what you can do differently. You can also conduct a diversity audit, which shows a picture of the current diversity, equality and inclusion conditions in your company. This will be helpful in showing any areas in which you are currently lacking, which future diverse recruitment could help solve.
2. Create a clear and visible DE&I policy
Diversity in the hiring process starts with diversity in your company culture. You can create one strategy document or several policies relating to diversity, preferably formal policies backed up by documentation, which employees or potential employees can access. This makes everyone accountable and ensures these policies are followed, whether its policies against discrimination or guaranteeing paternity leave.
Make sure you communicate these policies both internally and externally and make them visible, from your website to email footers to job postings. It seems minor, but just seeing a job posting with a diversity and inclusion statement could be enough to make a potential candidate feel welcomed enough to apply for your role (but more on that later!).
3. Make sure your online presence is welcoming and inclusive
It’s not just about having a diversity statement or policies, but showing that you value candidates from all backgrounds all across your online presence. This includes your language, photographs and even the types of articles you write on your blogs.
Candidates do their research on potential companies not only before an interview but before they even apply for a role–whether that means looking you up online on the many past employee review sites popping up or by simply checking out your website.
Reassess your employer branding and external communication from an outsider’s perspective: are you coming across as accessible and open to people from all backgrounds? If you can show that diversity is not only accepted but celebrated in your company, not just in a section labelled ‘diversity’ on your website or tokenism but through a genuine, sustained effort, you’ll be more appealing to candidates.
Places to check for diversity can be not only your website but your social media voice and posts, your Glassdoor profile, any printed company values or company messaging, email communications and even newsletters. (This is something a talent partner like Troi can help you with!) Make sure you use inclusive language and images across your online presence and treat everyone in the comments section with the same respect.
4. Review and audit your job postings
The language you use in your job postings can make a huge difference to how accessible your company seems to potential candidates. Be careful not to direct your language towards a certain demographic or to alienate any group. Using exclusionary language can be more damaging than you might think, even if it’s by accident, and it may put off qualified candidates from putting in an application.
For instance, you can avoid gendered language in a job description and use the pronouns ‘they’ (or even ‘you’) instead. Other phrases or ‘blockers’ can put off older or younger candidates, particularly regarding the knowledge of technology or years of experience required for the role respectively. Unless these features are absolutely necessary for the role to be done right, it’s better to leave them out to cast a wider net in your initial candidate search. If you want to test your language, you can use tools like Textio and Gender Decoder, both of which pick up on unconscious bias in job postings.
5. Make the hiring process inclusive with minimal unconscious bias
Unconscious bias is not only present in our language, but can creep into the interview process and other parts of the hiring lifecycle. Expand the places in which you normally look for candidates and target talented candidates directly through passive recruitment and ensure that interviews are conducted by welcoming panels. An interview is a candidate’s first chance to see if a company follows through on the promises made on their website and other channels. This is a key place to ensure you have a diverse, accessible atmosphere, which includes diversifying the perspectives on your interview panels.
Make sure your panels are trained on your company’s DE&I policies and reflect diverse values and characteristics themselves, as this will make diverse candidates feel more welcomed. Collaborative recruitment methods like opting for panel interviews over smaller, one-to-one processes will reduce unconscious bias, as will standardising the interview process (although, you need to be able to make reasonable adjustments for candidates who require them). You can also invest in unconscious bias training or diversity recruitment courses for anyone involved in the recruitment process.
6. Work on making your broader company culture more inclusive
It’s not just about the recruitment process. In order to have a diverse hiring process, it’s important to have diversity and inclusion all the way through your company pipeline. With websites like Glassdoor, company culture is no longer a mystery but a factor which potential candidates can look up before joining and candidates are increasingly putting value in joining companies whose ethics align with their own. According to a 2021 diversity and inclusion report by Glassdoor, 76% of job seekers and employees said that they factor in workplace diversity when evaluating a company before and during the hiring process and 32% of underrepresented candidates said they wouldn’t even apply for a job at a company which they thought had a lack of diversity.
Interestingly, 66% of potential candidates said they would prefer to find out about the diversity of a company from its current employees than from leadership or a company website. People are not only interested in policies but in realities and this means that it’s not just about the recruitment process but about a company’s culture once a candidate has joined. This means it’s key to make sure there are opportunities for diverse candidates to grow in your company and that new ideas are being listened to and not simply dismissed. The ability to tap into insight from a variety of backgrounds is an asset for companies and it’s certainly something that we look forward to embracing as we move into 2023.
Still feeling lost? Troi can help you navigate the right diversity hiring strategy for your company. If you’d like to learn more about Troi’s Embedded Recruitment model, click here or book a chat with us here.