When it comes to diversity in the workplace, we have heard a lot about it over the years especially in recent times, but what does it mean and why is it so important? The first is about reflecting the society that is around us whilst the latter is about understanding the more diverse workforce we have, the greater the overall advantages we can create within our businesses and across wider society.
With the many different perspectives and backgrounds on your team - if you do have a diverse team that is - it will help contribute to newer and more diverse ideas that help solve problems and drive innovation. The stats don’t lie, diverse businesses are more competitive, more profitable, easier to change and fulfil a noble role in society and the business world. Building teams from qualified candidates regardless of their gender, background, race, religion, or sexual orientation is long overdue.
In this guide you will learn about what diversity recruiting is, why it is important and the different strategies that you can use to create your own diversity recruitment.
What is diversity recruiting?
Diversity recruiting is the idea that your team should reflect the society that is around you and that your recruitment policies are free from biases for or against any individual or group of candidates. It is still based on meritocratic systems and structured to find the best candidates whilst excluding biases from the recruitment process.
Whilst many may think diversity is primarily related to multiculturalism, diversity recruitment is actually about creating a wide ranging workforce with attributes including; age, gender, race, sexual orientation, education, background, languages, abilities and so on.
Having a more diverse workforce isn’t however easy to create or easy to manage. As a practical application, diversity exists because of conflicting perspectives therefore a diverse workforce will have to deal with conflict in different ways.
Why is a diversity recruiting strategy important?
There are many associated benefits of diversity strategy in your organisation, and through recruitment, you can build a wide range of candidates and employees who can bring these benefits to your organisation as well. In order to benefit from these advantages, you would need to employ diversity recruiting strategies.
Diversity brings about a wide variety of diverse perspectives, but what that truly means is that diversity will show the different characteristics and backgrounds of each individual. From different experiences to wide ranging skills, a diverse workforce has many different access points to a wider variety of perspectives which is extremely beneficial when it comes to planning and executing a business strategy.
It has been shown countless times that a diverse workforce is more creative. The different perspectives that are brought together in an environment will bring fresh, new ideas and in return, improve the creativity of your workforce.
Inclusive companies are “1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market” according to Josh Bersin’s research.
The more employees that are exposed to wider perspectives and worldviews will benefit in more innovative solutions and ideas. Combining these views can often lead to opening the doors to more innovation.
Researchers have found that when diverse teams made a business decision, they outperformed individual decision makers up to 87% of the time. This was research conducted from a white paper from the online decision-making platform Cloverpop.
Again, the more we can create a diverse workforce that focuses on talents, skills and abilities, the more positive impact that it will have on productivity.
One of the latest reports from the consulting group, McKinsey, titled ‘Diversity Wins’, has highlighted the financial risk businesses take when they ignore diversity at the top. Their research has found that companies with the most ethnically diverse boards outperformed those with the least diverse boards by 36%.
Other research points to the cash flows of diverse companies which are 2.3 times higher than those of companies with more monolithic staff. Diverse companies are “70% more likely to capture new markets than organisations that do not actively recruit and support talent from under-represented groups.”
A more diverse workforce is generally more inclusive of different individual characteristics and perspectives. This leads to greater inclusion which means that employees feel more accepted and valued. The more diverse the workplace, the lower the turnover rates.
- Higher employee engagement
As with reduced turnover, the principals of engagement remain very similar. With more people having the shared knowledge and experiences of feeling like they may not traditionally fit into the workplace, the more diverse the teams, the less that this is an issue.
Diversity recruiting strategies
A diversity recruiting strategy should define the goals of recruitment and will often be part of an overall diversity and inclusion policy. Recruitment is just part of making the cultural changes happen in the workplace. Your D&I policy should reflect questions about what the recruitment process is going to look like and how you will achieve diversity and inclusion in your strategies.
The second most important part of the diversity recruiting strategy is identifying who is accountable for the results. Is it going to be HR? Is it going to be department heads? Is it going to be the board of directors? Usually, the task sits in HR but it is then shared across departments to highlight processes and procedures of this recruitment style.
Finally, your diversity recruitment strategy should set out how the results of this strategy will be assessed and measured.
These are just some of the various strategies that are used to develop a diversity recruiting strategy.
1. Psychometric testing in the recruitment process
Psychometric testing is often made up of an activity or assessment, given to potential candidates to assess their skills, abilities and knowledge in specific areas of competence. They can also be used to gain an understanding of a candidate’s personality, making it easier for you to identify individuals who will fit not only your job description, but your company culture and work patterns.
Psychometric testing simply involves selecting the skills and traits of your ideal candidate, allowing them to complete the test as part of your recruitment process, then analysing the results. Allowing you to objectively view each applicant based purely on their suitability against your pre-defined criteria. As such, psychometric testing removes unconscious bias from recruitment as it standardises the process and relies purely on talent to find the right candidate for the role. Helping recruiters to build more diverse teams.
2. Target diverse candidates
Instead of targeting candidates from just one source, i.e. web recruiting platform, reach out to different platforms to get a wider selection of candidates. Something as simple as a job posting on social media like LinkedIn or even Instagram can provide a wider sample alongside web recruitment than you may realise.
You need to identify the relevant channels through which to reach diverse audiences with vacancy advertisements. For example, there are many online and offline groups dedicated to women in technology. This would widen your search to be more directed towards this type of candidate.
3. Encourage referrals from existing staff
A candidate referral programme is something that you will have either heard of or experienced. But for diverse groups it may not occur to them that they can recommend friends or people that they know with similar backgrounds and experiences to put in an application.
The current workforce can be a good lightning rod of getting new job postings out to the wider community and for that specific demographic as well. Key to this is that existing personnel who are in specific, targeted groups are most of the time best placed to introduce other people like themselves.
4. Develop and promote the organisation’s diversity credentials
Undergoing some brand development in recruitment is a good way to showcase your D&I recruitment vision. Discuss the benefits and importance of diversity with your team, get their buy in and engrain those values into your company culture.
Being an organisation which can show that it values differences, people and opinions from all walks of life will help it to become recognised as a diverse employer.
5. Establish diversity and inclusivity policies
You need to live daily values when it comes to recruiting diverse candidates and not just say you do. This is why it has become so important to implement company policies that appeal to diverse candidates.
Things like understanding religious holidays, encouraging flexible working hours so that candidates can see an upside in still continuing to support their communities whilst also working means that you become instantly more appealing to a wider group of people.
One key thing that needs to be expanded on is how employees need to be encouraged to speak up if they think certain policies are hindering diversity in any way. It is easy to get caught up in individual biases and how they navigate across the workplace, so it’s important to encourage open and honest dialogue to ensure everyone feels welcome.
If you want to encourage diversity in your recruitment process, having policies like this and actively promoting them is a great way to get buy-in across the business.
6. Introduce diversity targets
One way to increase diversity is to set diversity targets, this could be as a percentage of the total number of the staff or a number that has been carefully thought of and considered across the board. Whilst this may be appealing to some, the practice can be disapproved by others.
Manage the process correctly and show that there has been no bias in selecting candidates and this mechanism could be beneficial to the business as a whole.
7. Avoid unconscious bias
We are all naturally biased when it comes to a myriad of things. The music we listen to, the people we hang out with, the things we decide to purchase over another and so on. Unconscious bias dictates the way we behave most of the time, and in a diversity and inclusion recruitment strategy, we want to minimise its impact as much as we can.
One of the measures that can be taken is unconscious bias training for all involved in the recruitment process. This will help to mitigate some of the more human prone errors in selecting candidates, from the C.V stage to sending out a job offer.
Another method which can be used is using blind resumes where you “black out” any and all personal information on resumes. Information like names, schools, date of birth, specific locations, and so on can all contribute to some degree in a biased assessment of the candidate - even if it’s not done consciously.
And another measure which can be used is, blind interviews. It works the same way as a resume but it uses text based questions and different recruitment platforms to discover more about the candidate's abilities and skills.
8. Consider diversity when defining job descriptions
Auditing your job adverts to attract more diverse candidates is essential but it's also important not to alienate any groups of people through the language used in job descriptions.
Find a way to be more inclusive in your job descriptions, remove any use of languages or ideas which could make potential candidates think you are looking for a specific gender, ethnicity or any other diverse background only apply.
For example, you could modify any language or terminology which will put some potentially valuable candidates off.
9. Ensure consistent interview procedures
Whenever you standardise something you are making it easier to compare and contrast. Well in interviewing for diverse candidates, you want to be able to do the same and one of the best ways to do so is by using the same questions and the same interview procedures for all candidates. This helps to mitigate the risk of unconscious bias and give you a better benchmark to compare candidates against.
10. Offer remote and flexible working opportunities
As already touched upon, being able to offer solutions which help to increase or widen the diversity of candidates is going to be essential. Remote and flexible working opportunities are just one of the key elements of being able to reach out to a wider range of people.
For those who have commitments like children or looking after a relative with sickness, being able to offer flexible and remote working opportunities will appeal to their needs as well as that of the business.
11. Provide valuable training opportunities
One of the best ways to retain your staff is to provide them with training opportunities, but did you also know that staff who have benefited from employer-provided training tend to be more loyal to their employer?
Also, by providing training it means that people who don’t immediately have the necessary skills for a role might apply because they know that they can upskill in the role.
12. Offer mentoring
As with training, mentoring is an attractive way to encourage many diverse applicants to consider handing in that application. Those who lack confidence but have all the skills find themselves reluctant to apply - this is where mentoring can change that.
13. Build a diverse recruitment team
If you really want to build a diversified team, then you need people who understand what that looks like and what that means. A diverse recruitment team can not only implement the strategy but also add to it.
Improve your diversity recruitment strategy with Thomas
Diversity recruiting is the idea that your team should reflect the society that is all around you and that your recruitment policies are free from biases for or against any individual or group of candidates. There are many different techniques that you can use to create your own diversity recruitment strategy including, getting referrals from staff, providing training, blind CVs and so much more.
A lack of diversity in your workforce and unconscious bias in your decision making processes is harmful to your business can prevent you from hiring and keeping genuine talent. Our talent assessment platform can help you to increase the diversity and inclusivity of your workforce and reduce unconscious bias in your decision making processes.
Alternatively, check out our Rethinking Diversity whitepaper which explores what diversity truly means and the benefits that a diverse workforce can have on a company’s performance.
If you would like to find out more about how we can help you address unconscious bias and increase the diversity of your workplace, please speak to one of our team.