Finding, hiring and retaining top talent is tough. Throw diversity and inclusion initiatives into the mix and your job gets even more complicated. But it doesn’t have to be. 

Improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace isn’t just the right thing to do. Study after study has shown that gender, ethnic and cultural diversity in the workplace is correlated to financial performance

Companies are waking up to the importance and urgency of diversity, rushing to pour money into diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and setting ambitious goals for their heads of HR and recruitment.  

Hiring for diversity is hard work for sure, but over time, a diverse workforce will attract diverse candidates and will make your job easier in the long run. 

With that said, let’s dive into all the things you can do to recruit smart, skilled and diverse talent. 

Evaluate your current hiring process

First, conduct an audit of your existing hiring process. It’s probably not your favorite activity and you will be tempted to ignore it. Trust me, that initial effort is bound to reveal flaws that will need to be fixed. 

Use blind hiring methods

During your audit, you may have come across biases affecting your candidate pipeline. To fix that, use blind hiring methods such as anonymized resumes. Evaluate applicants for their skills and potential, free from biases about their gender, race, or education level. 

Affirm your commitment to equal opportunity employment 

Most employers with at least 15 employees are covered by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) laws. Make sure you’ve clearly stated that your company is an “Equal Opportunity Employer.” Although including the phrase is not the law, the EEOC pointed out that by including it in job postings and your website’s careers section, you’re pledging not to discriminate and encouraging a diverse set of individuals to apply. 

Encourage referrals from diverse employees

Encourage women, minorities and LGBTQ employees to refer their friends. 

Keep current employees happy

Talking about referrals, make sure employees feel comfortable with the company culture and HR policies. If you spot something wrong, escalate the issue to leadership. Remember, word of mouth travels fast, especially when it’s bad. Besides, potential hires are reading reviews on sites like Glassdoor to decide if they want to work for you. 

WP _ The Economy Is Good.

Eliminate human biases by using recruitment software

Recruitment software will help you shortlist candidates based purely on merit. Choose a platform that will help you find, engage, and deliver diverse candidates who are also the best fit for your open roles. 

Offer flexibility where possible

Collaboration tools are getting better, making it easier than ever to get work done remotely. Flexibility appeals to parents, women, and Millennials. Granted, some jobs will require onsite work at all times. But wherever possible, mention in the job posting that there’s room for a flexible work schedule.

Train hiring managers to be objective

Organize workshops to educate everyone involved in the hiring process on how to identify and drop their biases when evaluating potential hires. For example, research at the Stanford Women’s Leadership Lab shows there are two small but powerful ways managers can block bias: first, by closely examining and broadening their definitions of success, and second, by asking what each person adds to their teams or what the researchers call their “additive contribution.”

Add class to your diversity criteria

The subject of class tends to be awkward. But it’s an important factor to consider from a business standpoint. According to the Harvard Business Review, “Class migrants have unique skills that people who grew up economically privileged may lack… class migrants who are CEOs have increased risk-taking sensibilities to propel them further up the corporate ladder.” 

View it as “culture add” instead of “culture fit”

Often, you’re trying so hard to fit an otherwise brilliant candidate into a culture mold that you forget to realize that their being different is irrelevant. If a candidate turns up at an interview wearing an outfit that’s different from what their team wears, it doesn’t make them a less desirable hire. A disabled candidate who requests flexibility for frequent medical appointments should not be seen as less committed to their work. 

Talk about your company’s diversity groups

Have groups inside the company comprised of diverse candidates? Talk about them in your external communications like your social media accounts and your website. If there’s a group for black female engineers and you post pictures of a summit they organized, you’re not just attracting black female engineers to apply to your company but also demonstrating to all other candidates that you value and promote diversity and inclusion. 

You don’t need to do every single thing on this list to ensure diversity in your hiring. 

Take into consideration your company size, budget, and overall hiring and diversity goals to create a customized hiring strategy. 

Ready to kick off your diversity hiring?

Request a meeting to see how Hiretual can help you achieve your diversity hiring goals