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How to Improve Your Diversity Hiring Strategy

Somen Mondal

May 5, 2021

Diversity hiring and creating an inclusive work environment have been top priorities for HR leaders for the past few years. Companies have been given the long overdue opportunity to focus on their employees, customers, and DEI hiring practices. However, many companies are moving ahead with good intentions, but unclear strategies that aren’t moving the needle forward enough.

To start – the framing of “diversity hiring” can be misleading and an oversimplified description of HR’s intentions. The goal is attracting, hiring, and retaining a diverse group of people, with a talent acquisition strategy that gives every applicant a fair chance.

63% of companies in 2021 are currently relying on DEI training to provide insight and education which doesn’t address the root of the problem.

Aptitude Research

There are numerous benefits to a diverse and inclusive workforce, such as better employee retention, more innovation, and increased profitability. The most important factor in 2021 is being left behind. Top organizations are building better reputations, stronger workforces, and capturing larger market shares.

Here are some recommendations to make your hiring process as inclusive as possible, and improve your chances of increasing your organization’s DEI.

Data-Driven Approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Download

Problem: Legacy DEI training programs aren’t making an impact

“Diversity, equity, and inclusion is a hotly discussed topic and clearly essential to business success. However, there are no clear guidelines on how to effect lasting, meaningful change,” says Josh Bersin, global industry analyst.

When diversity, equity, and inclusion are treated as a compliance issue within organizations, meaningful change is a constant uphill battle. While diversity training and education are important to help your employees understand unconscious bias and being welcome to people from all backgrounds, providing them with the tools to mitigate this bias is equally important.

Solution: Actionable diversity metrics for HR to track and report on

Data alone isn’t enough to achieve workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion, but it’s an important starting point for identifying gaps in your processes and policies. Here are some key metrics to help your team with better decision-making.

In Your Talent Acquisition Process

How diverse is your current talent pool? Most talent acquisition teams don’t have insight into this demographic information or the time to analyze the wealth of data in your ATS. From the start to the end of your acquisition process, metrics to track include:

  • Percentage of diverse candidates at each stage of the acquisition process
  • Percentage of diverse candidates interviewed by hiring managers
  • Percentage of job offers for minority candidates

Within Your Organization

Diversity doesn’t stick without an inclusive workplace. While it can be difficult to qualify how welcomed and happy your employees are, here are tangible metrics HR can measure for DEI progress.

  • Percentage of minority demographics at different seniority levels at your organization
  • Retention rate of minority demographics
  • Turnover rate of minority demographics within one year of hiring
  • Employee satisfaction score on your organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion
How to Improve Your Diversity Hiring Strategy

Problem: Your new hires are churning too quickly

Hiring a variety of different demographics is a great way to grow your workplace diversity, but do your retention rates reflect this diversity after the first year. Diverse hiring practices don’t always translate into a diverse and inclusive workforce, and can be discouraging if new hires are churning after the first year.

Gartner’s 2021 Post-Election Survey reveals 68% of employees would consider quitting their current job to work at an organization with a stronger stance on societal and cultural issues.

As the economy beings to recover, job numbers are suggesting a surge in employment opportunities. If people value another organization’s reputation and company culture, they could view that as a better opportunity than staying put.

Solution: A more multi-dimensional approach to your workforce diversity

What are the current people groups within your organization? Before starting your diversity efforts, take stock of your current workforce demographics. Diversity is a broad concept with many intersecting factors, including race, gender, culture, age, physical abilities, and other ways we each identify.

Retaining diverse talent is just as important as your hiring efforts. Delving into the “why” of your turnover problems is a key element for your new hire retention.

With diversity intelligence software, organizations can objectively measure demographics across their talent acquisition process, as well as the full employee lifecycle. With actionable insights, HR leaders can develop new policies and initiatives to reduce bias based on their organization’s own data.

As a real world example, Harvard’s diversity recruiting program starts with understanding what constitutes diversity and what’s missing on their team. Consider:

  • What are the diverse strengths of this department/team?
  • What are the diversity challenges of this department/team?
  • How can I address those challenges?

Once your team is starting to measure diversity objectively, HR leaders can start developing initiatives to understand where the lack of inclusion is developing and help minority demographics feel more welcome. Inclusion is key to encouraging retention.

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Problem: Your team is struggling with your shortlist

The majority of HR managers say the hardest part of recruitment is identifying and shortlisting the right candidates from a large applicant pool. The average time a recruiter spends manually reviewing a resume is 6 seconds and is susceptible to unconscious bias.

Upon a quick manual scan, small details such as shared schools, familiar names, or notable past workplaces can, unfortunately, catch people’s attention, as opposed to the applicant’s actual qualifications.

Solution: Blind resume screening to include, rather than exclude

Blind screening ignores name, age, gender, and other personal factors to focus on the applicant’s qualifications. Every applicant deserves a fair chance at your job opening. Enable your talent acquisition team to consider a shortlist of candidates with an open mind and create the opportunity for more diverse and fair hiring practices.

AI can be an incredibly effective tool for reducing bias in your shortlisting process. It’s important that the decision-making done by technology is always validated and explainable. Talent intelligence tools need to always provide transparent logic behind every recommendation made, such as Ideal’s report card for every grade.

When organizations build a reputation for valuing difference, they create the foundation for attracting a larger pool of talent. Your diversity hiring efforts have value from both short and long-term perspectives, with effective strategies and the ability to track.