4 Key Steps to Adding Diversity as a Recruiting Strategy

It’s no secret that diversity has become a hot button-topic, especially in regard to equal opportunity in the workplace. While companies with equal employment opportunity (EEO) goals have the right intention, sometimes the implementation can be a bit flawed. According to the Center for American Progress, people of color made up 36 percent of the workforce in 2012, including Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians, while women made up 47 percent of the workforce.

Diversity is not only necessary, but incredibly beneficial. The Boston Consulting Group found companies with a Blau Index (a measure of diversity) above the median experienced “38 percent more of their revenues, on average, from innovative products and services when compared to those companies below the median.” Harvard Business Review also found diverse teams are able to solve problems faster than teams who are incredibly similar.

With benefits being high, let’s identify some key ways to add and improve on diversity as a recruiting strategy.

1. Re-think Language in Jobs Postings

People responsible for writing job descriptions don’t always think along the lines of EEO. Have your HR teams watch for unnecessary requirements and strange numbers, like seven years experience (a trend identified in a social talent analysis). Why? A Hewlett-Packard internal report found that women apply for positions where they feel they meet 100 percent of the criteria, unlike men, who will apply if they feel they meet 60 percent. Leave out arbitrary requirements if they aren’t foundational to the position.

Also, encourage writers to avoid trigger words that might turn certain candidates away. Undercover Recruiter cited words like “exhaustive,” “active,” and “dominant” attracted more males, while “loves learning,” “inclusive,” and “considerate” attracted more females. Even better, train writers to avoid gendered and biased words altogether as a 2016 study cited job ads saw a 42 percent increase in applicants.

2. Identify and Rid Bias at the Root

Companies would be wise to consider Unconscious Bias Training — designed to expose biases, provide tools to adjust automatic patterns of thinking, and eliminate discriminatory behaviors. Small changes in screening, like removing names and addresses and replacing them with numbers, can also assist in keeping the focus on talent and experience.

3. Build a Strong Pool

Be sure recruiters expand their resources and seek strong networking opportunities. Studies have shown 65-75 percent of jobs in the U.S. get filled through employee referrals, or networking. An organization’s recruiting efforts should focus on networking within diverse individuals, communities, and universities.

Companies can also encourage referrals from other minorities within the company and be openly willing to look into their recommendations. Much of this approach boils down to building strong relationships with trusted connections. These are leaders who desire to foster creativity and varied mindsets to develop diverse workplaces.

4. Foster Diversity in the Day-to-Day

Diversity doesn’t — and shouldn’t — just reside in the hiring process. It needs to originate and circulate within the day-to-day culture.

First, allow for collaboration within departments or teams that usually don’t talk to one another. While their projects might look different, shared goals might create new ways of thinking.

Second, review your company’s communication and branding to external people. Are gender-specific words or key phrases pushing diverse hires away? Does it display a culture of inclusion and acceptance? What’s not being said that might be important to consider?

Lastly, take time to speak with diverse individuals who are already in the company. Learn what they like — and don’t like — and seek their input into effective strategies. See if they’re willing to be featured in the company blog or ask if they would be willing to help screen new employees.

The more diverse your workforce becomes, the more likely it will be for diverse employees to want to work for you.

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