Aligning DE&I with talent acquisition will help organizations attract and retain more top-tier candidates.
By Debbie Bolla
As organizations look to improve their talent acquisition strategies during the pressing talent shortage, incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives will help solve many challenges. A strong DE&I approach can lead to a bigger talent pool, a more engaged workforce, improved company culture, greater innovation, and impactful employer branding.
“A good talent acquisition strategy is a strong DE&I strategy,” says Tiffany Williams, Global DE&I Leader, RPO for Korn Ferry. “It’s one in the same.”
Weaving these two together will allow organizations the best of both worlds. Williams says reskilling and upskilling employees is a creative talent strategy that fills gaps while boosting diversity and inclusion. Organizations can offer reskilling and upskilling through specialized training, mentorships, coaching, on-the-job experiences, and internal mobility opportunities.
“When we think about reskilling and upskilling employees to meet the talent shortages, organizations need to think of creative ways in which individuals can gain the experience that they need,” says Williams.
In addition to reskilling and upskilling current employees, Williams recommends tapping into creative sources for new talent altogether to further upskilling efforts. Organizations can consider tapping into high school and community-led coding and robotics programs and offer internships to expand skill sets. Partnering with local entrepreneurs and start-up companies to provide sponsorship and support as a means to build community ties and a pipeline into the organization. Williams also suggests that HR focuses not only on the hard skills but the soft skills that can attribute to gained experiences and knowledge building. There are multiple ways people gain and articulate the skill sets and experiences required for success in today’s workforce.
Casting a wider net can also help attract and source potential candidates and build a more diverse talent pipeline. Williams says there are a few ways to do this.
- Revamp job descriptions using gender-neutral and inclusive language.
- Map role requirements to create a clear picture of necessary competencies, including education, skill sets, and prior experience.
- Reassess the impact of gaps in resumes.
- Source candidates in a variety of non-traditional ways: outside of the industry, through contract workers, previous employees, silver medalists, or the retired workforce.
- Establish partnerships with professional associations that support minorities and underrepresented individuals.
Williams says it’s critical not to overlook the fact that candidates are seeking authenticity and transparency with DE&I efforts. Being honest and upfront that hitting goals often doesn’t happen overnight and requires a journey is empowering.
“When organizations can communicate their commitment to DE&I to candidates and communicate areas of achievement but more importantly the areas of opportunity for growth, this goes a long way with candidates,” explains Williams. “Hearing how an organization can be in a state of reflection on ways to improve culture helps candidates understand what they will be coming into and give insight on how they can contribute or be impacted by those efforts.”