What is diversity hiring?
Diversity hiring is a recruitment and hiring process that removes barriers to application for underrepresented groups. This process focuses on skill sets, talent, and previous job performance to offer equal opportunity to all candidates.
Diversity is more than just race and gender. It covers all underrepresented people with different backgrounds, including sexual orientation, veteran status, disability, education, socioeconomic status, place of origin, and more. Because you allow more people into your pipeline with diverse hiring practices, it ultimately leads to a deeper applicant pool with a wider set of skills and experience to choose from.
The Importance of Diversity Hiring
Hiring a diverse workforce allows your company a competitive advantage not enjoyed by those who fail to employ diverse hiring practices. The tangible benefits include increased profit, more engaged employees, and improved retention. Forbes even reported that companies with significant diversity initiatives could see 35% better performance than the competition.
Misconceptions When Hiring Diverse Candidates
Diversity hiring is an unjustly controversial topic, with several toxic misconceptions. These misconceptions are based on personal biases and actively harm your company’s ability to get work done. Several common misconceptions include:
- Diversity isn’t an issue – When leadership argues that they don’t have a diversity problem, they usually do. Many underrepresented groups are slowly gaining some representation in the workplace, but there is still much work to be done. The first step to fixing the problem is admitting there is one to begin with.
- Diversity is only about race – Diversity hiring is more than hiring people of color. Underrepresented groups come from all types of backgrounds and differ on many dimensions, like sexual orientation, age, nationality, and gender.
- Someone with a disability could hold our team back – In most cases, this simply isn’t true. A Mckinsey report found that the nation’s GDP could increase by $25 billion if only 1% more disabled individuals were hired. It’s all about thinking outside the box, and matching the right person with the right responsibilities, whether they’re disabled or not.
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are just buzz words – Companies who don’t value these attributes and include them in the company culture are leaving precious profits and innovation on the table. They’re more than just buzz words; they’re an integral part of your deskless workforce, as explained below.
What metrics can you use to measure diversity hiring goals?
Diverse and inclusive hiring practices can lead to tangible improvements in your company, but how should you measure those improvements? Begin by collecting and reviewing baseline information you already have available, such as employee demographics, prior or existing DEI plans, and current hiring policies and procedures. From there, you can start to get a picture of where you may be needing improvement, which you can then write formalized goals around.
Beyond writing hiring goals for specific underrepresented groups, senior leadership should also track data surrounding employee morale and retention. Pay attention to how well your diverse hires are doing in their new roles, how current employees feel about working with their new colleagues, and the overall effect on who stays, for how long, and why. A best practice is to regularly solicit these employee sentiments through text message surveys.
Diversity Hiring vs. a Culture of Inclusion
Many people believe that diversity and inclusion are the same things, but they’re more like opposite sides of the same coin. Diversity hiring is focused on eliminating unconscious bias from the hiring process, creating equal opportunity for all candidates, and removing barriers to application. Meanwhile, building a culture of inclusion means celebrating all aspects of a company’s diverse workforce on a day to day basis. Team members who feel welcome and included in the work environment are less likely to leave. A culture of inclusion helps diverse teams feel connected to the company, thus improving their overall performance.
How to Increase Diversity
Increasing diversity starts with setting diversity hiring goals and evaluating the current level of diversity in your company. Here’s how to make diversity, equity, and inclusion a core concept of your company culture:
1. Commitment from leadership.
Diversity happens when leadership buys into it. These types of leaders define what diversity means, celebrate inclusion, constantly work to eliminate unconscious bias, and seek to reduce microaggressions. When leadership demonstrates an inclusive culture, the rest of the organization will follow suit.
2. Source candidates through community outreach, education & employee referrals.
Filling your applicant pool becomes easier with diversity hiring. Talent acquisition starts with traditional job boards like Indeed and social sites like Linkedin, but hiring managers can also use community outreach to fill the candidate pool with candidates from diverse backgrounds.
Internships and apprenticeship programs can also be effective sources of diverse candidates. These programs provide hands-on training opportunities in a low-risk environment for both the employer and employee.
Finally, employee referrals are one of the most efficient ways to source candidates, since your current employees know the job best, therefore cutting down the effort required to match the right candidate with the right job.
3. Double-check your job descriptions.
Too many “requirements” beyond the essential job functions means you’re scaring away top talent. For example, female candidates are less likely to apply if they don’t feel confident they meet every requirement listed in a job description. Posting inflated job descriptions or requiring a resume to submit an application spells disaster for your hiring process.
Cutting out unnecessary pieces of job descriptions has another benefit—readability. Job seekers increasingly use their mobile devices to search for and look at job postings. Stuffing job descriptions with extra, unnecessary content makes it harder for potential candidates to read, and thus apply.
4. Be inclusive with your interviewing.
As a company committed to inclusive hiring, the interview process is your chance to show candidates that you not only talk the talk, but you also walk the walk.
First, consider using an open hiring practice where anyone who has the physical ability to do the job gets the job. Also, show the candidate your diverse hiring strategy in action by having them interview with current employees who represent a variety of demographics. Lastly, ask interview questions that show interest and respect for their unique skill sets and background, while also keeping the discussion legal.
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Blue-collar jobs are becoming harder and harder to fill. Hiring managers who embody open hire practices benefit from improved bottom lines and happier, loyal employees. Diversity hiring is the key to staffing with top talent by evaluating and implementing diverse hiring practices.
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