Diversity in the workplace should be prioritized for reasons other than compliance.

The increase in diversity is tied to how team-oriented and collaborative modern organizations have become. It is abundantly obvious that businesses that can successfully hire and manage a diverse workforce have a distinct competitive advantage.

Increased workplace diversity is a goal for all recruiters and talent acquisition leaders. Why is it so challenging to increase workforce diversity?

Is it a pipeline problem, as is frequently claimed? Are unintentional biases influencing hiring decisions? It’s all of the above, as with most complex issues. However, encouraging new research is providing us with knowledge on how to successfully boost workforce diversity.

1. First ask yourself “why are we hiring diverse candidates?”

Diversity recruiting doesn’t mean selecting candidates who will make a workplace appear more diverse. The creation and use of a strategy for diversity recruiting involves eliminating bias while attracting and keeping qualified individuals.

Why is hiring from a diverse pool of candidates so crucial, and why must organizations eliminate bias? Truth be told, bias isn’t a binary problem (both literally or figuratively). Everyone harbors implicit biases, which is entrenched in the brain. These unconscious biases have an impact on how we relate to others and, for those of us who manage people, they may have an impact on how we find and develop diverse talent within our teams.

Diversity hiring is the practice of conducting a recruitment and hiring process free from biases based on a candidate’s age, color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and other traits that have no influence on their abilities or job performance.

The goal of hiring for diversity and inclusion is to combat unconscious biases, or taught biases that are unconsciously, unintentionally, and firmly embedded in our views that lead us to create judgments about candidates solely based on first impressions. All facets of the hiring procedure might contain unconscious bias, which keeps businesses from reaping the many advantages of hiring a diverse workforce.

Diversity is a broad concept that covers a variety of characteristics outside of race and gender. An array of backgrounds, levels of education, life experiences, personalities, physical prowess, lifestyles, and skills make up a varied workforce. When we discuss diversity hiring, we’re referring to a hiring procedure that places a high importance on merit and provides a fair evaluation of each applicant.

Implicit biases do not make us bad or racist, but they do make us more susceptible to cultural pressure and other subliminal factors. We may even internalize negative preconceptions about our own culture or ethnicity. We must put in place a careful diversity and inclusion policy in order to combat the pervasive temptation to — intentionally or unknowingly — take adverse action against marginalized groups (with metrics to match).

But first, let’s get clear on terminology.

2. Understand the difference between diversity and inclusion

Although they frequently appear together, diversity and inclusion are not the same thing. Inclusion is the “how,” while diversity is the “what.” Diversity focuses on assembling a team of people from different backgrounds. The level of inclusion reflects the culture that supports the success of this workforce.

Consider diversity and inclusion from the perspective of an employee’s journey through your organization. Diversity is especially relevant to the world of recruitment since it influences who sits at the table, who is hired, promoted, and who helps with the growth and success of your company.

Talent retention is greatly impacted by inclusion. When your business develops policies and procedures to make everyone in the workplace feel appreciated, it demonstrates inclusivity. Think about what you must do to ensure that your workforce has an equal chance to impact your organization once they’ve become part of your organization.

Diversity and inclusion go hand in hand to guarantee profitable and sustainable growth for your company. And it all begins with the hiring process.

Hiring diverse talent vs. building a culture of inclusion

It can be lonely and uncomfortable to be the only person of a certain background. This is particularly true if your company employs based on cultural fit rather than culture add. Being the only diverse individual can signal “tokenism” in some cases, or it can just reflect that a corporation is just getting started with its diversity efforts.

In any case, it’s critical to take steps to make sure that everyone feels accepted at your organization. Diversity recruiting must include establishing accountability at your organization’s leadership level. Without the buy-in from corporate, you’ll see little change because they won’t contribute resources towards building a diverse workforce, nor will the encourage policies towards a more equitable workplace.

Equity vs equality…what’s the difference?

Although the phrases equity and equality may sound similar, their implementation can affect marginalized individuals in very different ways.

Giving every person or group the same resources or opportunities is referred to as equality. Recognizing that every person has unique circumstances, equity distributes the precise resources and opportunities required to get an equal result.

Equity addresses imbalanced social systems. Justice can take equity a step further by repairing the systems in a way that ensures long-term, sustainable, and equitable access for future generations.

3. Know the reasons why diversity hiring is important

Efforts promoting diversity and inclusion improve the overall working environment for your team and your shareholders. Take a look at some of these metrics:

Businesses and society as a whole benefit from increased workplace diversity. Understanding the legal constraints on purposefully recruiting members of underrepresented groups is the first step in enhancing diversity at your company.

4. Learn how to build a diversity and inclusion strategy

The first step in developing a diversity and inclusion strategy, according to SHRM, is assessing your existing situation. Establish a baseline for the demographics of your present staff using surveys and HR records. Examine the job market in relation to this data to determine if there are any disparities.

According to SHRM, measurements can also be made of “nontraditional differences” such personality attributes or life experiences. Employers might evaluate employees’ personalities or ask open-ended questions on employee surveys to get information about their life experiences or other things they might like to disclose about themselves.

Next, decide which aspects of hiring need to be improved. Beyond demographic distinctions, find out how your staff feels about the inclusiveness of your company culture. Small actions, like limiting your celebrations to Christian holidays, can unwittingly convey to your staff how inclusive or tolerant your workplace is. To provide an objective evaluation of your current culture, a third party may be helpful.

Work on developing or updating your company’s diversity and inclusion statement next. A D&I statement, like a mission and values statement, does more than just mention these critical issues; it also influences your hiring decisions, employee benefits, customer service, and company culture. Many companies use their D&I statement to create an action plan for how they will embrace and enhance diversity over the course of 90 days, one year, three years, and beyond.

Changes in policies and procedures, staff training, targeted hiring, and employer-sponsored DE&I awareness activities for employees are just some examples of DE&I efforts.

5. What can help you build a diverse workforce

At every level of the hiring procedure, there are chances to increase the diversity of your team. There are numerous ways to gain from having a more diverse, inclusive workplace, from improving your business branding to raising your employee retention rates. Get the support of your senior executives first.

  • Get leadership support

One of the most crucial elements to increasing diversity in a sustainable way is with steadfast leadership.

Effective recruiting for diversity goes beyond HR policies or the objectives of an affirmative action strategy. It must be a leadership and cultural attitude that values and makes use of candidates’ varied experiences and points of view. In that instance, the objective is to extend organizational leadership’s horizons so they are aware of their own unconscious hiring biases and instill respect for those who are different from them.

Leadership makes sure that diverse job applicants not only join an organization but also stay for many years. According to a Deloitte poll, 23% of workers surveyed had switched jobs to work for organizations with more inclusive work cultures.

Microaggressions, unintentional bias, exclusion, and overt discrimination can drive away diverse employees. In addition to the significant expenses associated with turnover, losing diverse talent lowers morale and inhibits creativity. Once hiring and recruitment procedures are in place, it is the responsibility of the leadership to ensure that the company culture fosters the success of diverse individuals.

  • Ask for help

According to statistics, the people in our networks tend to be very similar to ourselves. By seeking recommendations from team members, businesses can increase the number of potential candidates. Your diverse employees might value the chance to be a part of the hiring team in addition to assisting you with resume sourcing, especially if it’s for a position they are familiar with. Job seekers frequently value seeing candidates from various backgrounds throughout the interview process.

  • Measure your success

While it’s critical to avoid treating people like statistics, metrics are a crucial component of holding businesses responsible for their commitment to diversity. There is no magic number that will determine how diverse a workplace should be, though. Furthermore, diversity isn’t only about attracting talent; it’s also about keeping it.

Determine the ideal objectives for your team by consulting with your leaders, human resources, and other members of your firm. (Hint: start there if your department or board has too many members that look or think alike.)

  • Transparency

Developing a diverse workplace might not be an easy task. You can change your recruitment and outreach tactics only to discover that you can’t keep diverse staff. You might recruit a diverse group of individuals for a number of roles, but your executive board isn’t diverse enough.

Remember…increasing workplace diversity is not a sprint, but a marathon. However, even when things move slowly, you keep people’s trust by being open about the difficulties and reiterating your commitment.

  • Understand deep diversity

Diversity encompasses more than simply outward characteristics. Promote an inclusive workplace culture that values differences in socioeconomic level, nationality, education, professional experience, and ideas.

People will feel more welcomed and more connected to one another as more connections are made, and connections are made over a variety of topics. People may become friends because they have pets, kids, favorite vacation places, hometowns, or any other common experiences.

  • Educate yourself and your team

The goal of a diversity hiring strategy is to minimize implicit bias, which exists in everyone. With the help of a DEI expert, conduct training, assess your processes, and assess where you’re at now. It can be helpful to put your efforts into context by taking the time to learn what studies and DEI leaders have discovered about workplace diversity.

  • Your job postings should be clear, concise and inclusive

Being specific and deliberate when writing job descriptions for new positions. Already have jobs on the market? Take a good look at what you’ve got and improve the language where needed to encourage diverse groups to apply.

Writing concise, clear, job descriptions is not only advantageous for you; it is also essential for capturing the attention of job applicants.

Think you write the best job description?

Maybe…however, despite the fact that 72% of managers think they write excellent job descriptions, only 36% of candidates agree. In addition, the majority of job seekers only take about 14 seconds to decide whether to apply for a position based only on the job description.

The following guidelines can help you write job postings with great intent:

  • To avoid any uncertainty in your job posts when people see them on social media or job sites, avoid using flowery wording in job titles and choose clarity instead. You want the position for which you’re hiring to be as clear-cut as possible.
  • Make sure you’re writing for humans by using first person and avoiding tangents or unclear terminology in your job postings.
  • Avoid the list trap by emphasizing outcomes rather than tasks and skills so that candidates can see how they’ll affect your organization and what they may expect from the position.
  • Highlight your company’s onboarding strategy. Since many candidates will want to know what to expect after being hired, highlighting your company’s onboarding strategy or program might help them better understand what it’s like to work for you.
  • Be open and honest; don’t be afraid to disclose details about pay, benefits, and other topics that interviewees are likely to inquire about.
  • Modify your workplace policies

According to research, a long commute is one of the top reasons workers leave their jobs. More diversified neighborhoods are frequently associated with greater distance from downtown workplace locations.

Specifically, research shows that:

  • Flexibility is one of the top workplace practices for luring diverse individuals.
  • Millennials value a company culture that prioritizes work/life balance more than previous generations do.
  • Female candidates are most drawn to flexible schedules as the top business culture attribute.

Offering flexibility, such as remote work choices and flexible hours, not only enables you to draw in a wider range of applicants, but it also helps you avoid high employee turnover costs.

  • Use personality evaluations

The standard hiring factors, such as the employer, school attended, and social connections can frequently work to reduce the diversity of the candidate pool.

Fortunately, a valid and trustworthy personality evaluation is an excellent instrument for evaluating candidates’ motives, skills, and personality qualities.

Because personality tests have no negative effects, or in other words, the personality scores of members of minority groups are not different, they encourage workplace diversity.

According to a study of 150 businesses, the workforces of those who used personality tests during the hiring process were more racially diverse.