By: Kim Pope

Diverse workplaces that foster a sense of belonging have many benefits, like increased innovation, improved employee retention and higher revenues. But, business advantages aside, all companies should take diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) seriously because it’s the right thing to do.  

Fact: Employees want to feel a sense of belonging, so providing a workplace culture in which everyone can be their true selves, is critical. But it’s about much more than having a diversity statement on your website. Real action is required. There should be no misalignment between what an organization says about DEIB versus what it does.  

One thing that’s become clear over the past year is that many organizations are figuring out how to prioritize DEIB. I’ve seen this firsthand during WilsonHCG’s roundtable series with global talent leaders; there’s not a session that goes by without a question being raised about diversity. We also conducted a global survey among talent leaders late last year to ask if they had amended their DEIB strategies recently. Just under a third (30%) said they had.  

One of the most common questions I get asked from our clients is how to accelerate diversity hiring. I decided to put pen to paper to provide some tips on just how to do this.  

Understand your current state.

To define your DEIB plan, you’ll need to first understand what your organization’s current state of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging is. Internal surveys can help to gather a holistic view of diversity beyond age, gender and race. You should anonymize your surveys to encourage people to answer freely – this will provide more accurate results. You can then use the findings as a benchmark to make improvements and build a robust DEIB strategy.

Use recruitment marketing to promote your stance on DEIB.

Start with your career site. Show candidates that you take DEIB seriously and are not just paying it lip service. Remember, today’s candidates want to work for employers that care and they also want to work with leadership teams they can identify with.  

One of the first things to consider is site accessibility. Your career site (and wider company website) needs to be accessible to all so people with disabilities can navigate it easily. There is technology that can help to improve your site’s accessibility with a simple plug-in. But you don’t need to wait for it to be implemented; you can make some simple changes immediately. For example, add subtitles and audio descriptions to videos. Including alt tags with images to describe what the image is can also be a simple but effective way to increase accessibility.  

Employee voice is hugely important to candidates, so the use of employee testimonials throughout your career site will have a significant impact on job candidates (more so than corporate speak). Research from Glassdoor revealed that 66% of jobseekers (and employees) say they trust employees most when it comes to understanding an organization’s stance on DEIB.  

Video testimonials can also help provide a platform for employees to tell their stories. You don’t need heavily edited, polished videos to tell the story. Candidates seek and trust raw, authentic content. The pandemic has meant that many employees have had to self-shoot and record their own videos because they’ve been working remotely, and it’s become more accepted – and sometimes preferred. Employee-generated content has long been used by consumers and we’re now seeing it take off in B2B too.

Brand advocates are another way to showcase your stance on DEIB. Advocates should be encouraged to be brutally honest. Remember, no workplace is perfect so there’s no point trying to pretend. Attracting culturally additive candidates requires transparency.  

Don’t forget to promote other companywide initiatives that are linked to DEIB via your career pages. For example, if you have supply chain diversity, highlight it. It shows you support diversity with a supply chain that reflects your diverse values, while helping to develop the communities you serve. It ultimately shows, both candidates and employees, that you take real action.

Harness talent acquisition technology to improve diversity.

There are multiple technology platforms that can help improve diversity in hiring. You need to think carefully about what you want to achieve though. Don’t have tech for tech’s sake. Determine which platforms will help your organization to reach its goals. And look at what you already have. Many organizations have huge tech stacks that aren’t being utilized effectively.  

For example, there are plenty of artificial intelligence (AI) platforms that can determine the best candidates based on skills and experience and can help to remove the bias associated with gender, name and age. Be cautious though as bias can still occur in technology; in fact, because AI mimics human behavior, it can perpetuate human bias that may have previously been present. Therefore it’s important to incorporate mindset-shifting strategies within your culture so that humans and tech can work together to support diversity in your recruiting efforts.  

The use of technology to streamline hiring processes can also widen the talent pool, which naturally results in more diverse talent pools. Don’t forget to promote your diversity efforts through your talent communities – tech can help to automate this. It can also help improve job descriptions to ensure they don’t contain bias, which will increase the number of applications.  

Host transformative diversity and inclusion learning programs.

Creating an inclusive workplace requires an open mind for learning about different perspectives. Therefore, incorporating strategies and programs aimed at truly transforming DEIB in your culture is an important part of supporting what you’re selling to candidates. This is critical on a companywide basis, but even more so for those working in talent acquisition.  

I talked about how talent acquisition technology can help to reduce things like unconscious bias earlier, but there’s more to an authentic approach to DEIB that goes far beyond bias. A transformative approach to DEIB strategy and programming within your culture can counteract this, along with regular validation of results from human experts so processes can be adjusted if necessary.

Talent acquisition teams must deliver the right mix of talent that will make their businesses better, so delivering diverse pipelines of candidates is essential – but it doesn’t stop there. Talent acquisition professionals have a responsibility to hold hiring managers to account to ensure diverse candidates are moving through the funnel. Whether it’s building diverse interview panels or mandating reporting against diversity goals, talent acquisition teams should adapt hiring processes to reduce selection bias.

The above tips will help to accelerate diversity hiring, but your DEIB practices can be a differentiator when done thoughtfully.  

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