Hiring For Diversity and Inclusion
How Employers Can Overcome Challenges
Hiring for diversity and inclusion has been a hot topic for decades, but its importance unquestionably accelerated in 2020. Companies of all sizes now recognize that they must walk the walk when it comes to diversity hiring, not just talk the talk.
Diversity and inclusion are socially responsible initiatives, to be sure, but they also play a vital role in organizational success. Companies that succeed in hiring for diversity and promoting an inclusive workplace culture actually perform better than more homogenous organizations. Businesses that achieve true workplace diversity are 35% more likely to report financial returns that outpace their industry’s averages.
It’s clear that diversity and inclusion can’t be ignored but achieving them can be a challenge for many companies. If you have struggled to meet your diversity and inclusion goals, you can overcome those challenges with the right approach.
What Are Diversity and Inclusion in The Workplace?
Before you can develop a successful diversity hiring plan or cultivate an inclusive culture, you and your team will need to agree on what those terms really mean.
For our purposes, diversity refers to the differences between us as human beings. These differences can be both visible and not visible:
- Visible: gender, race, ethnicity, age, etc.
- Nonvisible: nationality, family background, personal values, religion, personal experience, socioeconomic status
When talking about inclusion, that typically means a supportive workplace culture where people feel valued and respected and are motivated to do their best work.
Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives Must Be Authentic
It is also important to understand that your business must approach diversity and inclusion from an authentic place. Treating diversity hiring as simply meeting quotas isn’t genuine, and everyone from your employees to your candidates to your customers tend to be savvy enough to know when a business is truly interested in diversity hiring and inclusion.
One of the biggest signs that a company is being genuine about diversity, shows itself in the upper levels of management. If your workforce is diverse, but your managers and leaders all come from similar backgrounds and experiences, people take that as a sign that the company hasn’t truly bought in to diversity and inclusiveness. But if your leadership teams are diverse, candidates will take that as a sign that you stand behind your claims.
Make no mistake, candidates are starting to research whether a company is diverse at all levels and whether it promotes an inclusive culture. If they research your company and don’t see true diversity from the entry-level to the C-Suite, many candidates – especially young candidates – will look elsewhere for a job. In fact, 67 percent of job seekers said a diverse workforce is important when considering job offers
As you think about improving hiring for diversity, also think about ways you can ensure your management and leadership teams reflect your workforce.
The Business Benefits of a Diverse Workplace
We know why diversity is important from a social perspective and moral perspective, but what’s the business case for it? Does investing in creating a more diverse workforce deliver ROI? In short, yes. Companies that are committed to diversity and inclusion have better outcomes than their competitors.
- Diverse companies are 35 percent more likely to report financial returns above industry averages.
- Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to report financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
- For every 10 percent increase in racial and ethnic diversity among senior executives, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rise 0.8 percent.
- Ethnically diverse leadership teams are 36 percent more likely to be profitable.
Diversity in your workplace and an inclusive culture can also help you retain top talent, saving you significant money in future recruiting costs. Why? Because inclusive cultures simply tend to be healthier because people feel as though they are valued and respected, and they feel connected to company goals. When people feel connected like that, they are happier and more satisfied with their jobs and are much less likely to seek out new employment.
So diversity isn’t just about your workforce, it can actually improve your bottom line significantly, making the investment more than worth it to the organization.
Diversity Hiring Challenge: Lack of Diversity Among Job Applicants
Hiring for diversity becomes extremely challenging when your applicant pool itself is not diverse. Hiring managers often don’t know how to overcome this challenge – and it can be a big one.
First and foremost, you can’t keep taking the same approach to hiring and expect to get different results. If your current job recruiting methods aren’t attracting candidates from diverse backgrounds and experiences, it’s time to change things up.
First and foremost, post diversity statements on your website. Job seekers often look at a company’s website before they choose to apply. If you incorporate your diversity statement into pages that focus on corporate culture, you may begin to attract a more diverse pool.
Your website is a passive way to attract candidates but to achieve your goals, you must also be proactive. Consider partnering with local colleges and universities to attract a more diverse pool of entry-level talent. Participate in their job fairs and career days and work closely with their placement offices. You may also want to sponsor events at these schools that focus on diversity, as well.
Additionally, participate in local business groups that support diversity and inclusion. Attend their events, speak at their seminars and network with a diverse group of professionals. No harm ever came from networking, and your company only stands to benefit by making new connections.
You can also partner with an expert staffing and recruiting firm that knows how to hire for diversity. Creating your own diversity recruiting methods takes time – and they take even longer to show results, so working with a staffing expert can help you immediately tap into a broader pool of candidates.
Diversity Hiring Challenge: Rigid “Must-Haves” In The Hiring Process
No business should ever lower its standards when it comes to hiring – especially for key roles. However, if your requirements for the job are too rigid, you’re going to miss out on great candidates from diverse backgrounds.
When you are hiring for an open role, you typically list out the “must-have” requirements for the job. For example,” ten years of experience in the industry” or “five years of supervisory experience,” or a college degree in a specific field. If you hold fast to all of these requirements, you’re going to limit your chances of finding strong candidates from different backgrounds.
So, instead of saying you require ten years of experience in the industry, consider a range of experiences instead. Why? Because someone with eight or nine years of experience will feel locked out – and those one or two years likely don’t make much difference on the job. So, consider posting that someone must have “five or more years of experience in the industry or a similar industry.” Instead of requiring a college degree in a specific field, you can broaden your talent pool by changing it to a college degree or 5 or more years of on-the-job experience.
By reshaping your requirements in these ways, you’re not lowering the bar. Your bar is still set, but you’re allowing for a much broader pool of applicants with related experience. You may find that your ideal candidate would have never applied if you stood firm on your rigid requirements.
Things To Keep In Mind When Hiring For Diversity
As you approach new methods of recruiting for diversity, it’s important to remember that diversity is not simply about hiring more people of color and meeting quotas in that area. It’s about organically recruiting, hiring, retaining, and promoting people that come from different races, genders, ethnicities, ages, nationalities, disabilities, and veteran statuses. And you can put solid recruiting practices in place, but you must also have practices in place once people are hired.
That means that diversity training will be important for employees, managers, and leaders. And most importantly, buy-in must come from the top. Leaders need to live the values that they expect their workforce to share with them.
You and your hiring teams must also watch out for the natural tendency to apply assumptions to different groups. For example, you may decide to aggressively target women for specific roles. Don’t assume that all women will respond to the same tactics. Remember, people are individuals. And applying assumptions during the hiring process can lead to the opposite outcome you are reaching for.
Are You Investing In Diversity and Inclusion at Your Workplace?
Achieving true diversity hiring and workplace inclusion goals can take a long time. If you’ve received buy-in from leadership and are in the process of developing new processes, but you want to access a broader talent pool immediately, work with the experts at BOS Staffing.
With over 100 years of combined experience in temporary, temporary-to-hire, and direct hire staffing, we can help you find the right fit while attracting a more diverse talent pool. With a focus on office and professional, IT, call center, and legal support, our experts will work efficiently and cost-effectively to help you build a productive team. Contact us today to learn more.