Do You Want To Increase Workforce Diversity? 13 Top Tips For Diversity Hiring

Do You Want To Increase Workforce Diversity? 13 Top Tips For Diversity Hiring

‘Diversity hiring’ is a hot topic in the recruiting industry.

Companies are dedicating more resources to increasing diversity. Working to achieve demographic parity is not just the right thing to do. It’s the best thing to do from a business standpoint.

A diverse workforce has a greater depth of experience, knowledge. and skills. It’s more productive and quicker to innovate. A team that includes multiple demographics can serve clients from multiple demographics. It’s impossible to introduce a product into a foreign market if you don’t have employees who understand the culture.

Firms That Increase Diversity Grow Faster

Consider this study by BCG:

Companies with above-average diversity on their management teams had higher innovation revenue. 19 percentage points higher than companies with below-average leadership diversity. 45% of total revenue versus just 26%.

Note that this study involved leadership teams. That underscores the importance of increasing diversity at the highest levels. If you focus only on entry-level positions, you won’t experience the same benefits.

Here are ApplicantStack’s 13 tips for your diversity hiring efforts:

1. Assess Your Current Workforce

Identify the makeup of your workforce. Consider gender, ethnicity, and geographic location (if you have remote workers). Plus age and educational background.

If you don’t use remote workers, why not? Do you have job positions that could be performed remotely? Say, another country? Widen your hiring pool to include people all over the world. This is a quick way to get diverse job seekers to apply.

2. Make a Goal for Diversity Hiring

Pick one underrepresented group. Make a goal to increase your target hires by X amount in X months. When you’ve reached that goal, move on to the second category.

3. Write a Diversity Statement

Articulate your diversity policies and goals. Include it in your employee handbook and hiring team training materials. Put this statement on every piece of recruiting communication. This means your job requisition, job description, job posting, and careers page. Use it on internal documents so it’s always top of mind for your employees.

4. Make it a Company-Wide Initiative

Involve your workforce. Let your employees know about your diversity hiring goals. If you use an HR portal, remind your employees of your hiring values frequently when they clock in. Seek their input to create and carry out your plan.

5. Is Your Hiring Team Diverse?

Does your hiring team include minorities? Are job applicants interviewed by people from all demographics? Applicants will notice. If minority candidates have several jobs to choose from, the makeup of the interview team could be a factor in their decision.

6. Scrutinize Your Hiring Process

Hiring processes are complex. There are multiple touch points in the applicant journey. Dissect each step. An applicant tracking system (ATS) helps you understand each step in the workflow. An ATS stores all candidate communications and recruitment marketing. You can easily run reports on hiring demographics. An ATS makes it easier to create an inclusive candidate journey.

7. Rework Your Job Descriptions

Do you use gender-neutral terminology in your descriptions? Scrutinize your job descriptions and take out any gender-specific language. Instead of ‘he’ use ‘he or she’ or ‘s/he’. You can always use the job title in place of any pronoun.

Remove masculine language. Many words used frequently in job postings discourage women from applying.  Here is a free gender decoder tool you can use. Just paste in your job description.

If your job description templates are stored in an ATS, it makes it easier to prevent problem words and phrasing.

8. Use Structured Interviewing

Ensure your interviewers use a script that has been carefully written to avoid bias. Train your interviewers to use it correctly. Manage your structured interviewing scripts in your ATS.

9. Decrease Bias in Candidate Filtering

If ‘corporate culture match’ is a hiring criterion, remove it. This is an easy place for unconscious bias to creep in. The goal is to eliminate subjective judgments.

10. Seek Diverse Referrals

An employee referral program is a great hiring tool for many reasons. If you have a referral program, use it in your diversity plan.

Our closest associates are likely from our same demographic group. When moving outward in our network, however, we find more diversity. Talk about this with your employees. Ask them to consciously look for referrals from your target groups.

Pinterest created a program designed to increase the diversity in their engineering teams. They asked their engineers to refer potential job applicants from target demographics. They discovered that if their employees made a conscious effort, they could find referrals from underrepresented groups. Pinterest’s diversity referral program was a success. They are taking additional steps to increase diversity in other departments.

11. Improve Onboarding

You might wonder what onboarding has to do with diversity hiring. It comes after a candidate accepts the job, after all. The reason onboarding is key is because good onboarding reduces turnover. Hiring more employees from inadequately represented groups is the first step. Retaining them is the second step. Look at the employees who have quit your company in the last five years. Identify whether minorities or women have shorter tenure. If they do, you’ve got additional problems. Your corporate culture may not be welcoming to workers from underrepresented groups.

The topic of turnover leads me to my next section.

12. Use Exit Interviews

Hopefully, you don’t have a lot of employees quitting. If you do, use exit interviews to learn why they are leaving. You may discover you have problems with your managers. Perhaps your company doesn’t support work/life balance. Maybe there are few opportunities for advancement. Are your advancement policies discriminatory? Find out what’s going on and fix it.

13. Do Your Benefits Benefit…Everyone?

Does your company support employees in different life stages? Do you offer flexible schedules? Do you support working mothers and fathers? If your benefits are designed for a homogenous workforce, it will hamper your efforts.

The team at ApplicantStack wishes you success as you pursue your diversity hiring goals.

By Liz Strikwerda