Diversity Recruiting as a Strategy


It has been proven time and time again, diverse teams are remarkably more effective than teams who have the same experiences and perspectives. But, this is not limited to gender and ethnicity. Diverse teams also means different backgrounds, skill sets and different ways of thinking.

Diversity and Inclusion Are No Longer Optional.

A new Deloitte survey estimates that 63% of millennials would consider quitting if their employer didn’t value diversity and inclusion. Employers who want to execute more diverse, inclusive recruiting strategies must simultaneously engage with wider, more diverse candidate pools while designing recruiting processes that root out bias and promote inclusion.

Today it’s impossible to deny the strategic value of diverse teams supported within an inclusive environment. A Wall Street Journal study clearly shows the stocks of companies that score well on Diversity Recruiting Metrics outperform those who score poorly in both the short and long term.

“A diverse workforce promotes fresh, innovative thinking that translates into a competitive advantage, which in turn translates into winning products for our customers,” said Mary Barra, chairwoman and chief executive at General Motors Co.

McKinsey conducted a study showing firms with the most gender diversity at the executive level are more profitable than those that do not have as much gender diversity. Leaning toward blind recruiting seems to be the most logical solution, but is this method actually gender blind? Unfortunately, simply removing names from CVs or resumes is not enough to remove our subconscious biases and hire these profitable diverse teams.

Diversity Recruiting as a Strategy

The future is diverse, and it is coming fast. Millennials are currently the largest generation in the U.S. workforce (35%) and they are more diverse than the generation before them. Gen Z is about to graduate from college over the next two years, and they’re even more diverse than millennials. A recent study shows 81% of Gen Z’s have one or more friends of a different race. Diversity is not new to them. However, the issue is most organizations are completely unprepared and treating recruiting like they always have.

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Diversity recruiting should not just be a program put in place. It’s a strategy that benefits everyone and if we can harness that in our roles, we can make a huge impact. In U.S. commercial banks, even with the use of diversity programs, equality is not improving. Within the last few years, white women’s representation in management dropped from 39% to 35%. The numbers were even worse in investment banks. Even in Silicon Valley, where many leaders tout the need to increase diversity for both business and social justice reasons, most tech jobs are still held by white men.

Is the failure of these diversity programs really shocking? Even though companies are saying they are focusing on diversity, they are only using some bells and whistles while still doubling down on the same approaches they have used since the 1960s. Rather than reduce bias and foster an inclusive work culture, the goal of these outdated approaches are to preempt lawsuits within the office.

But Diversity Alone Isn’t Enough: Inclusion Is Key.

Even highly diverse teams fall short unless they also feel a sense of inclusion. When teams feel inclusive, they work 12% harder and are 57% more collaborative than noninclusive teams. In addition, 74% of millennials, set to be 75% of the workforce by 2025, believe their employer is more innovative when it has a culture of inclusion.

Although four out of five leaders agree that it’s important to foster a climate where employees know they are expected to voice different points of view and feel comfortable doing so, just 31% of employees agree that “[t]he leaders at my company promote an inclusive team environment.”

Current recruiting processes echo the diversity and inclusion (D&I) contradiction, with just 37% of recruiters reporting that their function has implemented a strategy to increase diversity hiring.  As businesses strive to improve diversity and inclusion throughout their talent processes, Recruiting Enablement is about not only expanding WHO you hire, but HOW you hire.

Recruiting Enablement helps recruiters automatically root out bias during every stage of the recruiting process, from debiasing job postings to attracting more diverse candidates, to serving up more inclusive content and using intelligent selection to more fairly rank candidates on their skills and competencies.

Making a Case for Blind Recruiting

A study in 2003 by MIT and The University of Chicago found applicants with a white sounding name versus a black sounding name were 50% more likely to get a first-round job interview. A follow-up study in 2015 found if you had a black sounding name, but went to an elite university, you would be selected for a first round interview at the same rate as someone with a white sounding name from a less selective school. Many organizations have implemented processes of removing name, nationality and university names from resumes/CVs when given to hiring managers so they can solely judge on merit and experience.

Studies by the Social Mobility Commission show numerous industries are failing to hire talented young people from less advantaged backgrounds because they recruit from a small pool of elite universities and hire those who fit in with the culture. Specifically, they are favoring middle and higher income candidates who come from a handful of the country’s top universities.

Furthermore, recent studies from Royal Holloway University of London and the University of Birmingham suggests managers often select candidates for client-facing jobs who fit the “traditional” image of a role, with many placing as much importance on an individual’s speech, accent, dress and behaviour as on their skills and qualifications. This introduces disadvantages for candidates whose upbringing and background means they are not aware of certain dress codes – for example, some senior investment bankers still consider it unacceptable for men to wear brown shoes with a business suit.

We have the opportunity to remove bias and get back to being human. For more information on how to remove bias, download our eBook Diversity Hiring: A Guide to Gender Blind Recruiting and Overcoming Bias!

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