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5 Recruiting Tips To Increase Diversity In the Workplace

Adrian Dixon

May 17, 2017

A new Deloitte survey finds companies’ interest in diversity in the workplace is focused on bias in recruiting and the use of new tools to reduce this bias.

68% of companies they surveyed measure and monitor diversity and inclusion in their recruiting.

increasing diversity in the workplace through recruitment

The appeal of diversity in the workplace is recognized by both sides of the recruiting equation. A Glassdoor survey found 67% of job seekers believe diversity is an important factor when considering companies and job offers, whereas 57% of recruiters say their talent acquisition strategies are designed to attract diverse candidates.

To help you capture this competitive advantage, here are 5 recruiting tips for increasing diversity in the workplace. 

First, some definitions.

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace: A definition

Workplace diversity is understanding, accepting, and valuing differences between people of different races, ethnicities, genders, ages, religions, disabilities, and sexual orientations, as well as differences in personalities, skill sets, experiences, and knowledge bases.

Inclusion is having a collaborative, supportive, and respectful environment that increases the participation and contribution of all employees.

Diversity and inclusion together is a company’s mission, strategies, and practices to support a diverse workplace and leverage the effects of diversity to achieve a competitive business advantage.

According to Deloitte’s new diversity and inclusion maturity model, only 12% of organizations have achieved a truly inclusive culture.

diversity in the workplace - Deloitte maturity model

The benefits of diversity in the workplace

Deloitte’s research finds diverse and inclusive workplaces are:

  • 2x more likely to meet or exceed financial targets
  • 6x more likely to be innovative
  • 6x more likely to anticipate change and respond effectively
  • 30% higher in revenue generated per employee

Recruiting tip #1: Use software tools to address bias in recruiting

Reducing bias in recruiting requires a systematic approach including monitoring candidate screening, interview scoring, and job offer patterns for signs of gender, racial, or age discrimination.

Luckily, there are now tools available that help address hiring bias such as software that uses AI to replace manual resume screening with a system that objectively and consistently applies screening criteria across all candidates.

This type of AI software lives inside your ATS and uses your existing resume database to learn about employees’ qualifications and applies this knowledge to new applicants in order to rank and shortlist the strongest candidates, free from human biases.

Recruiting tip #2: Use the “two in the pool” effect to increase of odds of hiring a minority candidate

Research has found that when the final candidate pool holds only one candidate from a demographic minority group, that minority candidate has virtually no chance of getting hired.

A “two in the pool” effect, on the other hand, dramatically increases the chances of a woman or person of color being hired.

The research found if there are at least two women in the final candidate pool, the odds of hiring a woman are 79 times greater and if there are least two people of color in the final candidate pool, the odds of hiring a person of color are 194 times greater.

Recruiting tip #3: Encourage referrals from diverse employees

Although referrals are the most popular source of hires, hiring through referrals can be a bottleneck for diversity in the workplace.

This is because people’s social and professional networks are generally comprised of people who are demographically similar to them.

You can take advantage of this “similarity attracts” effect by encouraging referrals from a more diverse array of employees. This way, you gain all the benefits of hiring from referrals with the added bonus of improving your diversity at the same time.

Recruiting tip #4: Include diversity in your employer branding

Research has found that the language you use in your job description makes a difference.

For example, to attract more female candidates, you should avoid using too many masculine-type words (e.g., dominate, challenging) in your job description and include more feminine-type words (e.g., committed, dependable).

A Software Advice survey found that 51% of job applicants are more attracted to job postings that contain images and videos.

Take advantage of this by creating a media-rich career site with images and videos that demonstrate the diversity of your employees, leadership, and company culture – or the diversity you aspire to achieve.

Recruiting tip #5: Tie recruiting performance to diversity outcomes

Experts argue that the only way to move the needle on diversity in the workplace is to create accountability.

Deloitte suggests that one way to do this is to tie compensation to diversity and inclusion outcomes, a practice only 6% of companies they surveyed do.

A Forbes Insights survey found that senior executives are held accountable for their diversity and inclusion programs performance through a variety of metrics such as:

  • 66% performance reviews
  • 51% bonuses
  • 48% business/department reviews
  • 42% salary increases
  • 41% promotions

These same compensation measures can be used to tie recruiting performance to diversity outcomes.

Summary: 5 recruiting tips to increase diversity in the workplace

  • Tip #1: Use tools to address recruiting bias such as AI recruiting software that automates sourcing and screening for you
  • Tip #2: Use the “two in the pool” effect to increase the odds of hiring a minority candidate
  • Tip #3: Encourage referrals from diverse employees to increase the diversity of your pipeline
  • Tip #4: Include diversity in your employer branding to attract diverse candidates
  • Tip #5: Tie recruiting performance to diversity outcomes to increase accountability