How to Hire with Diversity and Inclusion as a Priority

As HR professionals, you are well aware of how crucial diversity and inclusion in the workplace is. Besides compliance regulations, research has shown that a diverse and inclusive team leads to innovative results.

Various research shows that companies with diverse teams perform better in many ways. These companies see better financial results, increased creativity, and stronger relationships. Businesses have also become aware that a diverse culture can boost the employer brand. Therefore, it has become imperative to work on your diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Statistics reveal that 85% of employers said that increasing diversity is a priority for them. On the other hand, almost half of them (46%) don’t have the right programs to attract diverse candidates.

According to the survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 57% of recruiters have strategies designed to attract diverse candidates.

The question is, what are you doing wrong?

In this article, we will discuss diversity and inclusion in modern recruitment practices and how you can improve them to appeal to a broad list of candidates.

Diversity Encompasses More than Just Race and Gender

When we hear the word diversity, many people still think of the visible differences like gender and race. However, diversity is so much more than that. Diversity encompasses both visible and invisible traits.

Diversity can encompass disability, gender identity, cultural background, socio-economic level, marital status, age, etc.

In fact, diversity can be divided into two categories: inherent and acquired diversity. The first category encompasses race, gender, age, etc. The second category, acquired diversity refers to the characteristics a person can develop later in life (education, knowledge, values, etc).

When hiring new candidates, the focus should be on giving everyone a chance regardless of their visible or invisible traits.

67% of candidates say that diversity is important when considering a job. Job seekers want to know what you’re doing to increase diversity and inclusion in your company. This is another reason to improve your recruitment practices.

Diversity Isn’t Synonymous with Inclusion

The terms diversity and inclusion are often used together and are sometimes taken as synonyms. However, the two are entirely different. But they are mutually dependent because one is not possible without the other.

If you want to attract diverse talent and keep it, you need to foster an inclusive culture. Attracting diverse talent doesn’t immediately mean innovative results and better financial performance. In order to hire and keep your diverse talent, you need to cultivate an inclusive environment.

This process might take some time. The focus should be on creating an environment where everyone feels welcomed. Creating an inclusive work culture is what brings long-term results and not hiring goals. Retaining employees and fostering positive employee experience is far more difficult but bears numerous benefits.

Companies need to create the conditions in which each of the diverse candidates can contribute own way. One of the ways to achieve this is to encourage collaboration in your team. Company events prove to be one of the most effective ways to achieve that.

Tailor Your Diversity and Inclusion Efforts According to Your Needs

Increasing diversity in your workforce typically means hiring more minorities. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean bringing more women or non-white candidates. Your diversity efforts should be tailored according to your company’s needs.

Your company’s needs depend on its setting. You should question the strengths and the challenges of your recruitment practices and pick a metric you find relevant.

For example, if your tech-department is mostly dominated by male hires, consider attracting more female candidates. You can discover the needs of each department by observing your current statistics.

Edit your job description language thoughtfully

Research showed that 45% of employers believe their current recruitment tactics fail to attract diverse candidates. The reason often lies in job description language.

Companies may be discouraging candidates from applying to a position because of the job description language used in the job post. It might be excluding entire groups of people (women, minorities, disabled, etc).

The language can strike them as too strong, selective, or discouraging. Remember that you’re not the only one with certain criteria in the recruitment process. Candidates are selective as well.

Think about the language you use in your job descriptions and re-word it to appeal to as a broad pool of candidates as possible. Speak to a broad range of candidates in order to attract diverse candidates.

Work on your company brand

Companies are becoming increasingly aware of how important it is to create an inclusive employer brand from the start.

You should become the brand that values all opinions and you should work on promoting that. Discuss the benefits of having a diverse team and create a company culture that attracts diverse candidates.

Make sure that you actually incorporate those values into your company culture. Ensure that the language and images on your company website showcase that. Encourage your current employees to share their stories, etc.

Remember that diverse candidates seek diversity and inclusion-focused companies.

Get leadership on board

There seems to be a disagreement regarding who is responsible for diversity and inclusion efforts in companies. While a large percentage of companies feel that HR should be responsible for developing a diversity strategy, 56% of businesses believe that senior management should take on the role. A small percentage of businesses think that marketing department should be tasked with this.

In order to boost diversity within your company, roles should be clear. It is the business leader’s role to create the vision while the rest of the departments follow.

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