In many ways, the workplace reflects our local community and the country at large. It is natural to assume the places we work mirror the diversity of the real world. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. As a result, employers must make a concerted effort to ensure diversity and inclusion are at the core of their recruiting process.
What do diversity and inclusion mean?
In the workplace context, diversity and inclusion (D&I) can be defined as an environment of varied perspectives and differentiating characteristics. Organizations that are inclusive promote the open
exchange of ideas and welcome a diversity of thought and approaches to work.
Why are diversity and inclusion important in the workplace?
D&I efforts not only help to create a more representative workforce, studies show that some of the best performing organizations are often the most diverse. Generally, a diverse work environment also fosters more creativity. Diverse employees equate to diverse perspectives. That’s why companies that make deliberate efforts to be more inclusive in their hiring practices, also tend to be at the forefront of innovation, and inspire new ways of working.
How to build a diverse and inclusive recruiting process.
Building a diverse and inclusive talent acquisition strategy takes planning, effort, and commitment. The following are five ways any organization can begin to establish a D&I recruitment process:
1. Eliminate bias from the process.
Implementing a recruiting strategy aimed at being more inclusive does not eliminate merit-based candidate evaluation. However, it does seek to eliminate bias from the candidate screening and selection process. Hiring managers, recruiters, and any other key players in the recruiting process should be trained to recognize any biases they are bringing into candidate selection. By mitigating hiring decisions driven by unconscious assumptions about candidates, employers can begin to build a truly inclusive hiring strategy.
A good way to eliminate or reduce bias in the recruiting process is to consider candidates “blindly.” A blind candidate selection process is one where a candidate’s personal information (name, sex, race, age, etc.) are hidden from the screener, thus only revealing the candidate’s experience and qualifications. Many applicant tracking systems have a blind candidate screening feature which does the work of hiding candidate information for the screener.
2. Attract diverse candidates to job postings.
The first step to attracting diverse candidates is to have a diverse applicant pool. To generate a diverse flow of applicants to open positions, an organization must vary and expand where they find their candidates. While posting positions on the major job boards is a start. Employers will be more successful if they leverage social media, engage in on-campus recruitment at culturally diverse colleges and universities, and begin to network with professional organizations with culturally diverse members. Moreover, employers should seek out job fairs geared towards diversity. Ultimately, to find diverse candidates, employers must go where the candidates are.
3. Use a diverse panel of interviewers to screen candidates.
A great way to ensure diverse candidates are being considered is to have a diverse group of interviewers. An inclusive interview team should consist of employees from varying levels within the organization, differing roles within a specified department, and a representative swath of personal backgrounds. The more diverse the collection of individuals making the hiring decisions, the more diverse the perspectives in play when considering individual candidates, allowing for a more inclusive hiring process.
4. Follow a uniform candidate assessment process.
To ensure candidates are being evaluated equally and fairly, interviewers should ask all candidates the same questions during the interview. Additionally, the use of rubrics to evaluate candidate interview performance can help take personal feelings or bias out of the selection process. Rubrics help provide data points whereby candidates can be compared to one another based on their interview scores, as opposed to a subjective standard.
5. Foster an authentic culture of diversity and inclusion.
A diverse and inclusive workplace is born from a company’s culture. Diversity does not suddenly “happen” after a wave of diverse new hires join the company. To attract diverse candidates, employers must consistently walk the talk internally. Diversity and inclusion must be cultivated across the current ranks and fostered consistently at every level of an organization. This enables employers to promote their D&I vision and culture authentically to a more discerning talent pool.
Ultimately, any organization will benefit from establishing a talent acquisition strategy that affirms a commitment to a representative employee workforce.