4 Recruiting Strategies to Increase Workplace Diversity

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Smriti Rajan comes from a political science and literature background, having an immense passion for writing across varied topics. She has written several articles and blogs for diverse audiences worldwide. She has produced several research publications, policy frameworks, and opinion pieces for think tanks, government institutions and corporates. Alongside this, she writes for a large Fortune 500 clientele and is a key contributing writer for Wikistrat on their EMEA desk. Currently, she resides in India.

HR leaders and professionals have been looking at ways to increase the diversity of their organizations through their recruitment and selection processes. Hence, addressing key areas of your recruitment and selection processes can help your organization attract and hire more diverse candidates. Below are 4 recruiting strategies to help increase diversity and inclusion in your workplace. 

1. Defining Diversity for Your Workplace

Before you begin you need to consider how your organization defines diversity, what you are trying to accomplish by increasing diversity, and in what areas of diversity you are currently lacking? Answering these questions will help you identify the best path forward. 

2. Sourcing the Perfect Candidate 

One of the most effective ways to improve diversity is by carefully examining your recruiting processes.

Put employee referral programs on hold:

Many organizations promote employee referral programs because they help find quality talent quickly and without the risk of the unknown. However, if your employees are not particularly diverse, your referrals are likely not diverse either. An issue with these programs is that current employees sometimes put pressure on decision-makers to hire their referrals in order to get the bonus amount. 

Identify diverse recruiting channels

It can be easy to continue using sourcing channels (e.g., particular colleges, professional organizations, recruiting websites) that your organization has been using for many years. However, often these sources are not particularly diverse. Below are some suggestions for finding diverse sources for your applicants:

  1. Search the internet for professional groups and contact them about listing your job openings on their job board or newsletters.
  2. Search social media sites for organized groups around a particular profession and contact them about listing your job openings on their social media platform.
  3. Recruit at more diverse schools such as community colleges, technical schools, or historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs)
  4. Get involved with minority organizations (e.g., form mentoring programs with students in universities, encourage employees to become active volunteers within societies, become sponsors for events)

Review your job descriptions

Finally, it can help to carefully review your existing job descriptions and posting language to ensure it is inclusive (e.g., there is no gender or ethnically biased wording in the descriptions). Explicitly mention your organization’s commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive workforce.

3. Evaluate All Stages of the Selection Process

Another effective way to increase diversity in your organization is by evaluating all stages of your selection process. Often companies carefully monitor the adverse impact of their tests but do not pay as much attention to the effect the rest of the processes and procedures can have on diversity.

Minimum Qualifications

Minimum qualifications have been around for many years; however, these qualifications can often restrict the diversity of applicants. For example, some jobs may require certain physical abilities (e.g., ability to lift 50lbs) which could disadvantage women or people with disabilities, or they may require a college degree, which could limit groups with traditionally lower socio-economic status. Carefully review your minimum qualifications with an eye towards whether they are truly necessary. 

Develop assessment programs with the goal of eliminating bias and improving inclusion: 

Work with your assessment vendor(s) to ensure that your assessment process is unbiased. Ensure that the assessments have been selected in a way that minimizes the likelihood of adverse impact. Additionally, make sure your tests and interview questions use inclusive language (e.g., tests are compatible with screen readers, reading levels are appropriate).

Think beyond just tests

Companies often carefully monitor their testing programs. However, issues often occur with the steps that occur before or after the tests. For example, decisions made regarding the next phase of the interview. Often this process is highly subjective and leads to unintended bias (e.g., mostly employee referrals are onsite).

4. Monitor and Incentivize Diversity

Companies often aren’t aware of where diversity is being stifled in their recruitment and selection process. Taking the time to collect, analyze, and share data about diversity can help determine where things are going well and what improvements can be made.  Additionally, it can be helpful to include incentives for increasing diversity, for example by writing these into recruiters’ yearly goals or recognizing the efforts and achievements of staff.

The bottom line is that a little effort and patience can lead to a persisting diverse pipeline and high-performing organization. Reviewing your hiring programs, and monitoring and incentivizing organizational diversity can help to uncover areas of opportunity. This is to reduce bias and attract more diverse applicants to your workplace. 

ALSO READ: 6 Ways to Bridge the Talent Gap With People Analytics


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