Prioritizing diversity and inclusion in the hiring process supports a more robust talent pipeline for open positions, ultimately bringing a variety of experiences and viewpoints into your organization. When you recruit for diversity, you have an opportunity to assess a broader range of candidates, and you position your organization as an attractive option for today’s job seekers.

The Benefits of Inclusion Recruitment

Hiring for diversity benefits the organization as a whole and improves the effectiveness of teams. According to a Cloverpop study, diverse teams make better business decisions up to 87 percent of the time, and the decisions made and executed by diverse teams deliver 60 percent better results. Moreover, companies prioritizing diversity and inclusion in all aspects of their business outperform their peers, achieving almost two and a half times more cash flow per employee, according to Bersin by Deloitte.

Inclusion recruitment can also help you attract candidates, many of whom expect diversity in the hiring process. One study found nearly half (47 percent) of millennials consider the diversity and inclusion of a workplace a top criterion in their job search. There are also signs the newest generation in the workforce expects diversity. Generation Z, composed of individuals born after 1996, is considered the most diverse generation yet. According to a Door of Clubs survey, they named equality the number one cause they want their employer to support.

When you demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion in your recruitment practices, you can develop a competitive edge in the war for talent and find greater success in hiring. 

10 Ways to Build Diversity and Inclusion into Your Hiring Process

1. Establish diversity hiring goals 

One of the quickest ways to increase diversity and inclusion in your hiring process is to set measurable goals. With goals in place, you can chart your progress over time and take note of areas where more work is needed. 

Setting diversity hiring goals doesn’t necessarily mean you are aiming for a specific number of diverse hires or a certain mix of diversity in management positions. However, those kinds of concrete goals are easy to measure and bring clarity to your hiring objectives. You can also consider other inclusion recruitment goals, for example:

  • Improving opportunities for fairness in candidate selection through structured interviews and interviewer training
  • Boosting equitable compensation offers for women and underrepresented groups, in accordance with pay equity laws and internal policies
     

2. Build a diverse pipeline

Building a diverse talent pipeline requires openness in your hiring activities, and it also requires taking specific steps to find diverse talent. In addition to your traditional job posting and sourcing activities, you can seek diverse candidates by posting on diversity and inclusion job boards and targeting affinity groups on college campuses. You can also work with search firms and outside recruiters to identify diverse candidates for open positions.

3. Build inclusive hiring teams

Involving the diverse talent already working in your organization is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to diversity in hiring. When determining who will interview job candidates, make sure interview panels contain a dynamic cross-section of your workforce. You can also leverage the professional networks of your existing employees to source diverse candidates.

4. Track diversity metrics

Hiring metrics allow you to objectively measure recruiting activities and how well you are tracking with your hiring goals. Examples of diversity hiring metrics can include: 

  • The percentage of underrepresented individuals who are applicants 
  • The percentage of extended offers to underrepresented candidates
  • The percentage of accepted offers by underrepresented candidates
     

5. Use employer branding to show your commitment to diversity and inclusion

Making diversity a part of your hiring process requires words supported by action. Make sure your recruiting materials support your diversity hiring activities. Go beyond the standard “equal employment opportunity employer” language, and talk about what diversity means in your organization and hiring process. 

Incorporate the following actions to promote diversity as part of your employer brand:

  • Expressly state your commitment to an inclusive hiring process on your careers site and in job descriptions.
  • Review recruiting materials and add stories of diversity and inclusion from your workplace.
  • Remove gender-specific language from all careers content.
     

6. Support recruiting processes with the right tools

Your ability to gain traction in your inclusion recruitment efforts may very well come down to the recruiting tools and technology you use. According to a Robert Walters study, 45 percent of employers believe the recruitment tools they’re using are ineffective at helping diverse candidates find their company. 

To see how well your existing tools complement your inclusion hiring efforts, evaluate them for ease of use, flexibility, and customization. For example, make sure your applicant tracking system (ATS) integrates well with a diverse range of job posting platforms, as well as other processes in your recruitment program, such as background screening and onboarding.

7. Maintain an inclusive culture

Research by Deloitte found an inclusive culture can yield a 17 percent increase in perceived team performance and a 29 percent better collaboration within organizations. When your organizational culture includes the core values of diversity and inclusion, you’re in a better position to weave those values into your hiring activities. 

You can build a cycle of inclusion in all areas of hiring and talent management by engaging in the following activities:

  • Develop a task force and empower employees to generate ideas for improving equality in the workplace.
  • Give employees an outlet to learn and share experiences, for example, with lunch-and-learns or a diversity council.
  • Identify company charitable activities and causes employees can support.
     

8. Train the workforce

When everyone in the organization understands which behaviors support diversity and inclusion efforts, you have a better chance of attracting and retaining diverse hires. Both managers and employees can benefit from training to help them identify unconscious bias and prevent discrimination in the workplace. Interviewer training helps hiring managers and others understand how to prevent discrimination during the hiring process. Regular manager training also increases their knowledge of the latest hiring trends, such as the expansion of “ban the box” and salary history laws.

9. Provide an inclusive onboarding experience

You can improve the long-term effectiveness of your inclusion recruitment activities with a robust onboarding program. To set up new hires for future success in their new roles, provide opportunities for them to connect with individuals who can offer unique and diverse perspectives of your organization. Make sure your onboarding activities help new hires understand how each employee can make an impact in building an inclusive culture. You can also introduce a mentorship program to pair new hires with individuals who can help them navigate their new environment.

10. Conduct periodic reviews of your hiring process

Periodic reviews of your overall hiring process provide an opportunity to take a holistic view of your hiring practices and examine how well your inclusion recruitment efforts complement other activities. Regular reviews of existing processes can also help you build on your diversity hiring strengths and tackle areas where improvement is needed. 

During a review of your hiring process, you can do the following;  

  • Examine your hiring process for efficiency.
  • Identify opportunities for improving related processes, such as background screening and onboarding.
  • Assess your compliance with local and federal hiring laws.
  • Track your progress against diversity metrics.
     
To achieve lasting results and build diversity and inclusion in your hiring process, you’ll need to take a thoughtful approach. By starting with these ten steps, you will have the building blocks for a diverse candidate pipeline and a robust hiring process with inclusion at its core. Over time, with the right partners and regular reviews of your hiring process, diversity and inclusion will be a valuable and permanent part of your hiring process.
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