Diversity in the workforce makes your company creative, productive, and agile. It helps your business represent and serve your community and clients in a more inclusive manner.
Before you start the hiring process though, you need to define what diversity means to your company. When we discuss diversity, most people think about race and gender. That is a very narrow definition. It’s failing to include physical ability, gender identity, veterans, people with autism and a host of other underrepresented individuals in the workforce.
Yes, you could argue that these people are scarce within your networks, therefore hard to source as potential employees. But you are looking through the lens of your own narrow work culture.
We are aware that it has been ingrained that we should not talk about race or gender when hiring, but if it is in the pursuit of acquiring a more diverse work culture, you should push past your fears and go for it, for the benefit of your company and your employees.
What are some of the best ways to seek out and hire diverse candidates?
1. Advertise your jobs through diverse channels
Reach out to more diverse candidates by looking at advertising in magazines, websites and forums that are read and visited by underrepresented groups or are marketed explicitly to minorities.
2. Use Diverse Job Boards
Think about posting your job advertisements on diverse niche job boards. These include job boards that specifically target hiring individuals with autism, veterans, disabilities etc.
3. Internships and Scholarships
Consider creating and offering targeted internships and scholarships to people underrepresented within your workplace. A way to do this is by contacting minority organisations in universities and colleges and ask them to promote the programs to their members.
4. Diverse Referrals
Explicitly ask existing employees or your networks for diverse referrals. You may not know how to access the communities to add a person to your team to improve diversity and service delivery, but your current staff may know the perfect person.
5. Write inclusive job descriptions
Go beyond the regular statement of equal opportunity employer phrase that everyone pays lip service to and sounds like it came straight off a government website. When attempting to appeal to diverse candidates, the language you use matters. Using a tool such as Textio helps you create job descriptions that are inclusive and diverse. It does this by using machine learning and algorithms to help spot and remove language that can unintentionally narrow your candidate pool.
6. Utilise Bias Training
Most people are familiar with unconscious bias, but it helps to train all recruiters to be more sensitive to diversity issues and avoid recruitment bias in every step of the hiring process.
7. Conduct blind resume reviews
Bias can result from information ranging from a candidates name to the university they attended. A blind resume review takes out identity cues. There are tools like TalVista that do this automatically, or you can get a member of your team to do it manually by hiding the information. This technique doesn’t address the interview panel’s bias, so let’s deal with that next.
8. Use a Diverse Interview Panel
Implementing diversity on your interview panel helps to combat unconscious biases. It also helps show your inclusivity. Imagine being a female person of colour who is interviewed by an all-white male panel. Do you think that she will feel as though this is the job for her…regardless of how well qualified she is? They might also be thinking …Why aren’t people of colour or females included in important decisions like interviewing and hiring?
Cast a wide net. If you don’t have diversity within the organisation yet, think about who is affiliated with your company – investors, board members or B2B contacts. Invite them to sit on the interview panel. This will improve the candidate experience and help eliminate unintentional bias from your decision making.
9. Diversity embedded in the work culture
Increasing diversity through hiring is just the first step in improving diversity in your company. Retention is essential if you are going to maintain diversity. Employees need to have a sense of belonging. Review your internal policies and procedures to make sure they meet the diversity test of inclusion.
Increasing diversity is an investment that takes commitment and a willingness to put your own biases aside and be courageous enough to experiment and learn. You may feel uncomfortable at times, but the payoffs are immeasurable.