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How Talent Acquisition Teams Can Drive Diversity Hiring

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16 February, 2022

When an establishment remains mindful about hiring people from all walks of life, they're known to be practicing diversity hiring. The aim is to create a balanced society within the workplace such that it becomes a melting pot of culture.

This way of recruitment ensures a balanced workforce with people from all cultures, socio-economic backgrounds, genders, and religions. Bringing balance to the workplace is the end goal; the hiring is purely based on skill. 

This approach also includes diversity in skillsets, educational backgrounds, experience, values, and much more. This latter overview is called "acquired diversity," which adapts into the establishment over time. 

Here are some ways you can gauge your office for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 

  • Each and every employee at the office has a voice, and their opinions and ideas do not remain suppressed by ideological or cultural differences. 
  • The whole workforce feels a sense of belonging, without treating any people as "outsiders" or "newcomers." 
  • The overall growth of all employees occurs without biases or favoritism. This also means the entire staff has the same rights and freedoms in the workplace. 
  • An environment of collaborative efforts and alignment of all individuals, from upper management to interns. 

Importance of Diversity in Recruitment

The intention to focus on diversity hiring isn't just to create a standout statement for the world; it also helps your business in many ways. Here are a few practical reasons to hire with diversity in mind.

Firstly, it helps create a more inclusive workplace. Having people from all walks of life makes no one a "minority." This process also helps bring in more ideas and perspectives. People from the same cultural background tend to have overlapping thoughts, envisioning your company's future through a concentrated lens.

Based on research by McKinsey in 2019, companies that paid attention to diversity hiring are 25% more likely to have above-average profits. They also noticed these companies outperform the others in their domain by almost 33%.

Diversity at the workplace also exposes the workforce to more languages, cultures, and demographics, and all these factors create a better community.

Recruiting for diversity also opens up a larger candidate pool for the company. Having more people from various backgrounds means every individual in the office will contribute differently.

8 Ways Your Talent Acquisition Team Can Drive Diversity Hiring

1. Examine the Existing Company Pool

Start by looking at where you stand in terms of at-work diversity. It's essential to conduct an audit of both your workforce and your processes.

Consider your whole office; for larger companies, segregate them into regions or departments for better auditing. Divide your audit by diversity in gender, race, cultural background, people with disabilities, etc.

Ensure this survey is confidential and conducted by a trusted small group. The data of these results are purely to track your progress and roadmap, and this information is not for publishing or sharing with other sources.

Next, examine the process of hiring. Note which channels you use, who are the primary decision-makers, whether the hiring practices are fair and impartial, etc. Ensure that this data is free of bias; it will help you implement the next few steps better.

2. Revisit Your Recruitment Ads

Your job ads and listings represent the first impression of your company's hiring culture. These invitations for recruits must remain as inclusive and diverse as possible.

Speak broadly about the person you are seeking, do not use specific references to non-professional aspects on the listing. Writing job ads targeted to a particular group of people to improve your company's diversity is welcome. However, ensure that you explain the reason behind a highly-focused requirement.

For example, a company looking for a men's wellness writer would ideally hire a male writer. This decision is not a question of diversity by practical applications, and such an ad needs to be properly composed to put forth a clear message.

The images and graphics used in these placements must also reflect your company's culture.

3. Try Blind Recruitment

Blind recruiting is one of the best ways to discourage bias in hiring. The hiring or acquisition team is only informed about details relevant to the candidate's work, and factors like name, photos, cultural background, etc., are kept a secret.

The first method is using a blind resume. A group of people must "blackout" or redact all of the candidate's personal information, leaving only information a recruiter needs. These "blacked-out" details include their address, name, date of birth, gender, locations of education, etc. Such details are the primary factors that induce a conscious or subconscious bias. 

The second more popular method is that of a blind Interview. These are interviews conducted with minimal influence of one's physical presence. The most common are text-based questions and answers through an anonymous form or recruitment platform. 

The end goal is to reduce bias. However, this blind-recruitment effect can also cast a shadow on personal traits like in-person communication, punctuality, body language, etc.; thus, it is used mainly at the early stages of the recruitment process. 

One last way to take blind recruitment to another level is using AI or automated systems, using software or computer programs for merit-based shortlisting of candidates. Many software allows businesses to create groups and filters focusing on special skills and experience. These programs remain entirely impartial and focus only on the relevant fields. 

4. Encourage Internal Recommendations 

Maybe you've checked all the boxes of recruiting for diversity but focused on getting the word out to the wrong demographic. You must ensure that your recruitment ads and job offers reach all communities. Another way to do this is to share this information on portals and forums that cater to unique groups. 

You can also create a candidate referral program. This system encourages the existing workforce to pitch candidates from the same community and help boost diversity hiring

Furthermore, your company can establish an internship program for specific communities. This process provides you with a chance to train and later hire up-and-coming candidates. Such a program can be made possible through collaborations with local schools and community groups. 

5. Showcase Your Diversity 

Suppose your company already has a healthy, diverse workforce—boosting it further helps showcase the same. Aim to create a brand for your business that emphasizes how welcoming and inclusive it is to all communities. Ingraining this into your company's culture is a step in the right direction. 

Some businesses share stories of people from underprivileged or struggling communities within their establishment. This presents their workplace as an emphatic and encouraging organization that's also willing to educate the world about the importance of recruiting for diversity.

At times a brand could look like it's suppressing diversity without even realizing it. This lapse could be attributed to something as simple as not changing with the times. One classic example is the Indian dishwashing scrub "Scotch Brite." Their old logo featured a woman holding the scrub as they mostly catered to homemakers. Over time as society changed, so did the brand. The most recent logo of scotch Brite is free of any such stereotypes. 

6. Merit-Based Hiring Processes

While the crux of diversity hiring is placing merit over other parameters, it is critical to incorporate different methods within the process. 

The most common approach is using a cognitive or intelligence quotient test as the first round of the screening process. At the time of screening, this kind of testing lends importance to skill over other factors that are influenced by bias. 

Another alternative is a virtual on-the-job assignment—a prevalent option in tech companies. The candidates face a series of on-job tasks that they must finish within a designated timeframe. This helps companies examine their work abilities and skills without looking into any details about their background. 

7. Understand Your Company Policy

For an old establishment looking to course-correct their policy, they must also look into the company's working style. Many establishments might have an archaic work culture.

For example, some factories would forbid women from working on the industry lines as they were deemed unfit at the time of the company's inception. However, such opinions have changed over time as society has progressed, and the same must be amended on paper as well. 

Many job opportunities are stationed in cities and seek staff that accommodates the urban culture. This approach eliminates the chances of someone from an underprivileged region to take up the role, no matter how strong their skills are. This issue can be fixed with flexible policies on remote working to encourage recruiting for diversity

Some companies also provide relaxation on work limitations to encourage people from more extensive walks of life. For example, if you manage a delivery service, and your agent's culture does not allow them to work with meat, there must be policies in place to help make them feel more welcome. 

8. It's a Team Effort

Bringing diversity to the workplace cannot be a one-person task. Although you need one person to spearhead the movement, all departments and limbs of the hiring team should work in harmony. 

For instance, many companies seek the assistance of an external recruiting firm. Here the new partner in the process should also share the same passion and ideologies as your business. The same should also be true at the various levels of the hiring chain. The people taking the final call should also believe in recruiting for diversity. 

Recruiters might also have to challenge top-level management or company founders on their rigid ways. While this is rare today, some talent acquisition teams do face this additional roadblock. 

If you wish to know more about how global enterprises are approaching diversity recruitment, visit here.

Challenges with Recruiting for Diversity

While diversity hiring aims to create a more inclusive workplace, it's not free of challenges. Here are a few typical difficulties and their solutions: 

  • Communication Barriers - Having a workforce with diverse backgrounds could lead to a confluence of languages. This should, however, not come in the way of getting work done. Companies must invest in language learning workshops to help bridge this gap. 
  • Hostility among workers - Many employees look at hiring those from minority groups as a shortcut or low-barrier of entry. This hostility can be dispelled by educating the workforce about the importance of diversity through seminars and workshops. 
  • Additional workload for the recruiter - By shifting the focus on recruiting for diversity, the hiring team is also assigned more work than they already do. This might seem like an arduous task at the initial stages of adaptation but will later become second nature to the acquisition teams. 
  • Infrastructure changes - While some changes in an establishment's physical and structural aspects might occur by adding a diverse workforce; these are a minor and short-lived inconvenience. 
  • Retaining the wrong talent - Some establishments also find it hard to lay off employees for fear of misplacing diverse individuals. The person shouldering this responsibility must ensure the wrong message is not conveyed. A pure, merit-based dismissal of employees is better for the company. 

Final Thoughts

Lastly, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to improve diversity hiring. Every step will showcase new challenges that the recruiter and talent acquisition teams must overcome to create a better workplace culture.

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Tanvi Sharma
Tanvi Sharma
Tanvi Sharma is a Content Strategist at iMocha. A seasoned marketer and branding consultant, she likes sewing stories together to help brands find their true and unique voice. A perfection enthusiast, she believes each and every word should serve a purpose while writing. When she’s not writing for work, she is writing fan fictions and theories, and volunteering at local animal shelters.
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Topics: Diversity & Inclusion

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