What is diversity hiring?

Diversity hiring is the process of finding, engaging, and then hiring diverse talent based on the skills and values they add to the organization.
The hiring process is designed to minimize the possibility of unconscious bias creeping in that can lead to the exclusion of skilled candidates from the opportunity.

Hiring diverse candidates

You may be wondering, why bother? Why should extra attention for prospective employees from underrepresented backgrounds be needed during the recruiting process? Don’t all candidates receive equal opportunities in the current work environment?

The unfortunate reality is that much more has to be done on the labor market as a whole. Despite the fact that over half of the population is of color, white people make up the bulk of the workforce in the US (78%). Americans without impairments are employed at a rate that is 2.5 times higher than those who have disabilities.

Only 7% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, despite the fact that women make up 58% of the workforce, and even fewer of those are women of color. Regardless of the gender of the recruiting manager, men have a twice as high chance of being employed. And 46% of LGBTQ+ employees believe they must conceal elements of their identity at work in order to avoid discrimination.Q+

Building diverse teams is not only the right thing to do, but it is also advantageous for the organization. Diverse workplaces are happier, more effective, competitive, and friendlier places to work. Gender, racial, and age diverse candidates make wiser choices and generate more revenue.

But a successful, diverse workplace requires more than just hiring more diverse talent. When managers and leaders ensure that every person feels valued for what they bring to the table, it helps to create a truly collaborative and inclusive workplace.

And it’s the inclusive nature of the workplace where the real magic happens as people feel free to share various ideas and viewpoints that teams experience the best creativity and progress.

Problems with diversity hiring

In theory, “diversity hiring” is fantastic. However, in reality, there can often be a perception (either conscious or unconscious) that diverse hires were chosen more for their characteristics than for their qualifications or talents.

The perception that a woman’s (or any other marginalized demographic’s) marketability lies not in her qualities but rather in her ability to satisfy a quota will only be reinforced by hiring solely to fill diversity quotas. It is our duty to convey to these new employees, as well as to their coworkers, that they are appreciated for more than just their capacity to meet quotas.

There’s no reason why you should ever wonder if you can successfully identify quality individuals while also hiring for diversity. Doing this reveals an unconscious bias towards individuals from underrepresented backgrounds. Demographics and qualifications are not mutually exclusive.

“Diversity hire” versus an inclusive workplace

Being the sole person of a certain background can be unpleasant and isolating. This is particularly true if your company employs based on “culture fit” rather than “culture add”. Being the only individual from a minority background can indicate tokenism in some cases, or it can just indicate that a corporation is just getting started with its efforts at increasing diversity.

Either way, it’s crucial to take steps to make sure that everyone feels accepted at your company. The practice of diversity hiring isn’t about just hiring diverse individuals…it’s about creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable being themselves.

Effective diversity hiring efforts also require accountability at your organization’s leadership levels. In other words, even if you might take diversity into account while developing your recruiting plan, the moment someone enters the door, they’re not just some member of a particular demographic; they’re a new hire who is bringing their talent to your organization.

How will you measure your diversity hiring goals?

Every diversity recruiting strategy’s core goal is to build a more diverse workforce, yet these efforts alone are insufficient. The dedication of an organization to its DEI initiatives must go beyond the obvious, with its organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion clearly conveyed to the entire workforce.

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.

Analyze your diversity hiring progress

While it’s critical to avoid treating people like statistics, measurements are a crucial component of holding businesses responsible for their commitment. There is no magic number to shoot for when hiring more diverse candidates, 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.)

Be transparent

Developing a diverse workforce isn’t always straightforward. If you’re struggling to retain diverse staff, it’s important to understand why.

Or you might recruit a diverse group of individuals for production or middle management roles, but your executive board isn’t diverse enough. It’s important to remember that’s 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.

Ask for help

Our networks typically consist of people who are very similar to us, statistically speaking. By requesting recommendations from the team, organizations can increase the number of viable candidates.

Your staff members 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.

Educate everyone on the team

The goal of a diversity hiring strategy is to eliminate implicit bias, which exists in everyone. To conduct training, evaluate your procedures, and comprehend the state of the workforce, team up with a DEI professional. Understanding the findings of researchers and DEI leaders on workplace diversity will help put your efforts in perspective.

Encourage diverse leadership

When employees perceive representation at all levels, they are more likely to join and stay at a company. Make sure that your workplace diversity measurements apply to all organizational levels as you build them.

Write comprehensive job descriptions that address career development so that all employees understand your business is a place where they may grow.

Make diversity hiring a top priority for your hiring team

First and foremost, your team needs to give top importance to hiring diverse people. Your team will probably fall back on choosing the applicants that are most convenient for them if you do not make an effort to hire diverse individuals. Make sure your team understands how important it is to you to increase diversity.

Above all, you must provide them with the tools they require to successfully hire diverse individuals. Your assistance will be essential in helping your staff find the varied candidates you’re looking for.

Giving your recruiting team the room they need to interact with diverse talent is important since they may be unfamiliar with diversity hiring. For example, giving them more time to fill vacancies allows them to:

  • focus on expanding their network
  • look for diverse talent in different places
  • connect with diverse individuals who will add value to your company

Step outside your comfort zone when searching for candidates

Search for prospects differently than you normally do. It’s time to switch things up if you’ve always hired people in a particular way. Discover fresh approaches to your hiring practices so you can broaden the diversity of your organization.

Search in different locations

Change things up if you’ve been only recruiting people at the same institutions and job fairs. Make connections with a variety of individuals. Find as many diverse career events as you can in your city and surrounding area. Even at smaller networking gatherings, you might not have considered before you can build relationships that can lead to finding more diverse people.

Work with organizations that focus on diversity hiring

Last but not least, partner with sourcing firms that prioritize diversity. Such an agency will be your secret weapon as you work to build a more diversified organization because they have a vast network and processes they can tap to find the diverse candidates your business needs.

Consider your onboarding process

Making your new employees feel at home is one of the most vital things you can do for your employer brand and your business.  The need for creating a comfortable environment is sometimes forgotten but it’s an important factor for retention.

In every office, diverse employees are typically in the minority. Your new hires can find it challenging to defend themselves or express their ideas. It’s your responsibility to reassure them and offer them a seat at the table.

Attracting diverse candidates

The wording you use in your job descriptions can either draw in people with diverse backgrounds or discourage them from applying for the position. For example, avoid using too many “masculine-type” terms (such as ambitious, dominating, and challenging) in your job posting if you want to draw in more female applicants.

Treat everyone with respect

Finally, to build a truly equitable company culture it’s important to recognize that prejudice and stereotyping enable us to be careless in how we perceive, relate to, and connect with others. We simplify our biases down to a single trait and stop there.

However, humans are complicated, and the way people from underrepresented groups have historically been treated is even more so.

Considerate diversity recruiting policies help organizations overcome decades, and in some cases even centuries, of unequal treatment. But more crucially, it aids in eradicating centuries’ worth of ingrained prejudice. The truth is that qualified diverse candidates can be found anywhere and in any field. The task of the business is to enable its success.