A diverse and inclusive workforce should be a primary focus for organizations because companies with higher rates of diversity across gender, race, socioeconomic status, geography, and age have proven to be far more innovative and financially successful than those with homogenous employee demographics. Glassdoor recently reported over three-quarters of employees say a diverse workforce is a crucial factor when deciding upon accepting a job offer. An inclusive workplace not only improves the organization’s bottom line, but makes it more attractive to future candidates, as well as fostering a better corporate culture. The benefits of a diverse workforce far outweigh the challenges, as it creates a dynamic environment composed of individuals from a variety of backgrounds, experiences and skillsets who can bring unique and creative perspectives to the workplace.
Although gender, race, and sexual orientation have long been a controversial workplace issues, in the past few years these topics have risen to the forefront of mainstream media and society, causing many companies to reflect on their positions, policies, and initiatives.
Last summer, at the peak of the BLM movement, major companies such as Facebook, PepsiCo, and Estee Lauder committed to increasing the percentage of minorities and people of color on their leadership teams. Many smaller companies followed suit, declaring they too were aiming to increase the representation of minorities in their workforce, the boardroom, their target customer and beyond. The only way for organizations to successfully achieve these goals is to hire new talent through the creation of a robust and diverse pool of candidates and establish a tactical recruitment strategy.
The first step companies must take is investing in specific measurable goals and initiatives. DE&I work can be challenging because it’s not a check the box kind of activity. It’s the kind of broad organizational change and that takes time. The qualitative culture at large needs transformation and that kind of work is never really done. Company leadership along with HR departments must realize that in order to make a holistic change, they have to hold their vendors, suppliers, customers, and partners to the same standards they have.
When I began my career in recruiting, I was struck by two things: how homogeneous the pool of candidates was and how many times those candidates were assessed based on their appearance, pedigree, or what school they attended. These characteristics weren’t judged explicitly — but the bias was certainly there. I have set out to change that through the reinvention and implementation of new recruiting strategies and policies. For organizations wanting to shift their thinking when it comes to diversity and inclusion in hiring, I have these five tips:
1) Get comfortable with a remote workforce.
Don’t let geography be a limiting factor in recruiting a diverse candidate pool. There is a wide variety of HR technology and all-in-one solutions that allow employees’ to legally work remotely from anywhere in the world. Technology management tools can give companies a competitive edge, as they allow them to expand their talent pool and recruit top-tier talent from anywhere in the world.
2) Review your position descriptions.
When drafting criteria for an open role, here are a few questions hiring manages should ask themselves:
·  Are you asking for a list of qualifications that are “nice to haves” or “need to haves?”
·  Is there a training or professional development opportunity for job candidates who are missing one or two of the skills you’re looking for, but have a ton of potential?
A job description is most likely the first thing a potential candidate will scrutinize, even before they investigate the company. It is important to be aware of what kind of candidate your description will attract, and who will be turned away or filtered out based purely on the description.
3) Assess your application and interview process.
With the rise in virtual work models, the recruitment and application process has been turned upside down. Now is the perfect opportunity to reflect upon which parts of your application and recruiting process work and which do not. The application process should be accessible for every applicant.  Even things that may seem small like guaranteeing the application is user-friendly across web browsers and mobile devices is important. Each candidate’s application materials should be viewed from a holistic and equitable perspective. Are you asking all candidates the same questions, and is each candidate experiencing a consistent process? Are all your interviewers trained on implicit bias?  It is important to review the entirety of your organization's interview process to ensure it is as inclusive as possible.
4) Be active — not passive — when it comes to the recruitment process.
A talent acquisition team should be proactively reaching out to candidates that represent a diverse pool. Simply posting the role and screening candidates that happen to see it won’t move the needle on making your workforce more diverse. Are you moving fast enough to secure top talent? According to a LinkedIn hiring report, 87% of active and passive candidates are open to new job opportunities and 89% of talent says being contacted by their recruiter can make them accept a job offer faster. It is important organizations have an effective recruitment strategy in place that supports the active pursuit of diverse and qualified talent.
5) Resist the urge to do things how they’ve “always been done.”
The motivation to disrupt traditional recruitment processes that didn’t support the development of a diverse workforce is what made me go into recruitment in the first place. Changes can be tough to make at an enterprise level, especially at an established company with a specific way of doing things. However, in order to achieve true change, you need to be willing to take on some risks, try some things, and be okay with failure.
These five tips are ones hiring mangers or directors can utilize to help their organization think strategically and build a recruitment strategy to support a diverse and inclusive workplace. In addition to the five suggestions above, there are countless smaller steps organizations can take towards making those larger organizational shifts. A few examples include investing in diversity-focused job boards, using Boolean searching, and networking with diverse groups to create an inclusive organization. A vital aspect of recruitment team's role is to constantly educate themselves on new processes, strategies and initiatives they can implement to grow and develop into a diverse and inclusive organization.