How to Create a More Diverse and Inclusive Recruitment Strategy

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There are an abundance of reasons to place workforce diversity at the top of your HR agenda. Having a diverse team is proven to positively impact your bottom line as diverse ideas power the innovation driving today’s rapid changes.

By building a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce, your company will enjoy a wealth of insight spawning from more creativity and better problem-solving. What’s more, diversity of thought leads to better, more inclusive decisions and higher employee engagement — passionate employees perform better.

To help you attract and retain a diverse workforce, here are our top three diversity recruiting solutions that you can introduce right now to bring you all the benefits of employing a diverse workforce.

What is Diverse and Inclusive Recruitment?

Diversity recruiting isn’t about hiring underrepresented groups to tick off boxes. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are about diversifying your talent pool so that you hire the most qualified candidates before your competition does.

You could define a lack of diversity in recruitment as any classification of job seekers based on criteria other than their ability to perform. Common biases that exclude otherwise qualified candidates could be gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, and age.

Inclusion is about valuing and welcoming everyone in an atmosphere of social and cultural acceptance so that everyone feels like they belong to your team.

Why is DEI Important in Recruitment?

When you create a diverse, inclusive environment, you encourage an array of ideas, perspectives, and methods. Decision-making speeds up and improves while meeting times reduce, resulting in higher profits.

Research by McKinsey shows that companies who are more diverse and inclusive are 36% more likely to outperform their competitors. Whilst over 75% of job seekers and employees say that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers.

Removing any unconscious bias in your talent acquisition strategy opens your recruiting process to a broader pool of diverse candidates, increasing your chances of discovering and hiring the top talent.

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How to Create More Inclusive Job Adverts 

Building a diverse workforce begins with the first step in your hiring process — the job description in your job advert. A well-written description presents the specific skills needed, not a laundry list of hoped-for abilities. Sensitive, thoughtful word choices are crucial. 

Use Neutral Language

The use of gender-coded language is usually unconscious. Gender-based terminology is baked into most languages rendering it easy for human advert writers to miss. Using an AI tool to highlight and suggest replacements for biased terminology attracts more diverse applicants.

List Only Necessary Job Requirements

Limiting your job requirements to must-haves increases the proportion of women applicants and boosts overall application numbers. Most women feel that they must meet 100% of the listed requirements to have any chance of being hired.

Avoid Corporate Speak

Not using jargon and business-speak is critical as these can make the best candidates feel like outsiders. Hiring managers need to express terms like "KPIs", "ROI", and "game-changer" in ordinary language.

Utilize Your Employer Brand

Candidates often use social media – like LinkedIn – or company review sites – such as GlassDoor – to research a company before applying for a job to get a feel for their culture. It’s beneficial to encourage your current employees to share positive referrals of their daily experience online to showcase your inclusivity.

By improving your corporate brand image, you’ll begin to attract people who align with your values to your candidate pool.

Remove Bias with Blind Application Screening 

When your hiring team evaluates applications manually, it’s challenging to eliminate unconscious bias. Studies by Princeton and Harvard found that when job evaluators couldn’t physically see the applicants auditioning for their orchestra, women’s chances of being hired increased by 25% to 40%.

Unconscious bias also exists in the language choices of applicants submitting resumes. Women choose different word sets to describe themselves than men do. These linguistic choices vary according to industry.

Some recruitment software can remove all identifiable characteristics from a resume or application, such as name, age, gender, nationality, and more. This enables recruiters to focus on screening individuals solely based on skills and experience.

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Use Diversity Benchmarking Data 

A data-driven skill acquisition strategy fills your talent pipeline with the most qualified candidates from different backgrounds, giving you the workplace diversity needed to produce unbeatable results. Diversity benchmarking data helps you evaluate those results.

Comparing your in-house data with publicly available demographics data can help you uncover hidden biases within your recruitment workforces, optimise for best practice, and improve diversity initiatives.

For example, you may identify that the number of females being hired into supervisor roles for your hospitality business is below the industry standard in your location. This highlights that you need to review and optimize your recruitment processes to improve your female attraction rate. Or you may identify that your retail business is successfully attracting and recruiting more Asian people in management positions in a set location compared to your other settings. This will allow you to roll-out this location’s best practices company-wide to optimize your success.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics produces a wealth of free data and tables, as does the US Census Bureau. In the UK, Labour Market Overview data from the Office for National Statistics provides employment data broken down by industries and individual characteristics.

The Growing Importance of a Diverse and Inclusive Recruiting Strategy

Movements like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo are currently bringing diversity and inclusion to the forefront of public awareness. McKinsey’s 2021 report states, “The business case for gender equality, diversity, and inclusion is strong and growing stronger.”

When you source candidates implementing the top diversity recruiting solutions, your brand will have a positive company culture image. This makes it even easier for your recruiting efforts to impact your bottom line positively.

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