Implementing diversity-focused recruitment strategies can help organizations obtain the right talent.
By Belinda Sharr
Successful companies know the importance of diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the recruitment process. According to a Forbes | Insight report, 65 percent of respondents say they have a diversity-focused recruitment plan. It’s essential for HR executives to build the goal of having a diverse workforce into the talent strategy.
Organizations can experience a higher level of collaboration and creative thinking from individuals of differing backgrounds, values, and viewpoints, says Taryn Owen, president of PeopleScout. Plus, top performers have a great interest in working for organizations that refl ect a true picture of today’s global and diverse world. D&I strategies are, in fact, talent grabbers.
“When you support diversity and inclusion, you have the ability to attract a higher tier of talent,” says John Wilson, CEO of WilsonHCG. “This results in higher customer satisfaction and employee retention.”
Owen agrees—implementing diversity-driven recruiting strategies sends the right message to candidates. “The hiring of diverse candidates—[in terms of] race, ethnicity, gender, and other attributes—can also significantly improve the perception candidates have of a company’s brand, thereby attracting higher quality candidates and potentially improving long-term retention,” she says.
A good place to start is ensuring that diversity is core to an organization’s mission and values. Today’s savvy job seekers can read through a message that is not authentic.
“It’s our belief that if a company is truly committed to diversity, like any other core value, it’s not really an initiative. It becomes part of who they are and an enterprise-wide focus naturally,” says Terri Lewis, senior vice president of global HR at Pontoon Solutions. “Early on in this journey, we find that affinity groups, community service, and an honest analysis of whether your employee population truly reflects the community around it are effective tools.”
Diversity and inclusion needs to be an innate part of an organization’s culture in order to attract and retain top talent. Wilson says businesses need to understand that diversity is not just an initiative, and it’s less about the visible, compliance-driven aspects and more about diversity of thought.
“Expanding pipelines and fast-tracking the development of diverse leaders that foster an inclusive workplace are key in attracting and retaining the best people to your business,” he says. “Bottom line: For diversity and inclusion to be successful, it must be approached as a company-wide, long-term, holistic strategy.”
There are several ways diversity can be incorporated into a company’s hiring strategies, and the talent acquisition team is an integral part from the get-go. Angela Hills, chief revenue officer at Cielo, says expert recruiters from diverse backgrounds and experiences can help ensure organizations benefit from varied perspectives that reflect the top talent they hope to attract. They also actively train those inclusive teams on the best ways to identify and attract diverse slates of candidates.
“By working with strategic partners, we ensure our clients’ job postings, recruitment advertisements, careers sites, and other employer branding elements resonate across diverse talent pools,” Hills says. “By understanding the realities of unconscious bias, our recruitment teams help clients achieve their diversity and inclusion strategy goals while hiring the best people the market has to offer. It can be a challenge to work with hiring managers to remove unconscious bias from all milestones in the hiring process—candidate attraction, sourcing, and selection. It takes collaboration and a commitment to self-awareness on the part of all individuals involved in the hiring process.”
Other best practices, according to Owen, include:
• Networking with local diversity organizations through onsite events.
• Developing strategic partnerships.
• Leveraging diversity job boards.
• Establishing relationships with colleges and universities.
“What is most important, though, is seeking feedback from candidates and hiring managers to ensure that you’re staying connected with what best resonates with diverse audiences of candidates,” she says.
Organizations should consider including technology, social media, and online communities as parts of their strategies. By receiving the right message through the right channels, job seekers are more likely to be interested in—and believe—the message.
“Teams should review their job descriptions, recruitment advertisements, resume review tools (including jobscoping documents), and interview guides to identify opportunities to make the language choices and expectations more inclusive,” advises Hills. “New technologies are available that integrate with your ATS so that intentional review and adjustments can become a natural part of the hiring process.”
Lewis says another great place to communicate a commitment to diversity is on company and career websites. And content is king in today’s recruiting strategies.
“As we’ve seen over the past few years, and certainly as we move into the future, the 21st-century candidate is content-hungry,” Wilson says. “They are looking at multiple referral points such as career pages, social media, and company-review sites to build their own narrative about an organization.” So, it is critical that companies share their authentic, transparent, and genuine employee voice externally. “There are a number of ways this can be communicated,” he says. Examples include videos, employee testimonials, job descriptions and talent communities. “The key is to tailor these for a diverse audience through localization, language, and imagery.”
How can a company know they’re on the right path to a more diverse and potentially profi table, future?
“The key predictor of success is authenticity,” Lewis says. “If a diversity program is lip service, the employees will see right through it. Diversity has to be a company priority early on in its adoption and, over time, become a regular part of doing business.”