You and your team are probably thinking about how to improve your company’s diversity and inclusion efforts for the long-term now more than ever before. Given the current climate, even companies with time-tested D&I programs are evaluating whether or not they are doing everything possible to ensure they have a diverse workforce and company culture as well as goals for the future that support these efforts.
We need to find more ways to recruit and retain diverse employees. One of the most important things your company can do for long-term success and real, actionable change is to provide support, information, and training for your hiring managers. Your hiring managers are key to creating and sustaining an inclusive company culture, as well as in ensuring parity in your hiring efforts.
Diversity Initiatives and Strategies for TA Leaders
There are several areas to consider that go beyond basic diversity initiatives into longer term programs that can ensure that your organization is able to meet the goals you and your company leaders have set in order to have a more diverse workforce.
Establish hiring manager training focused on reducing interview bias.
Because bias can be both conscious and unconscious, training hiring managers to remove bias can be challenging. In simple terms, the purpose of diversity training is to increase participants’ cultural awareness, knowledge, and communication. There are many levels of this type of training, and you want to ensure that you’re focusing on bias in candidate assessment. It’s not an easy topic, but learning about how bias works and how it affects our decision making is the best way to retrain how we think when we assess candidates. If we don’t understand bias, we can’t remove it.
There are other steps you and your team can take to help your hiring managers retrain how they think, such as implementing blind hiring: the practice of obscuring job candidates’ personal information like a photo, age, gender, and name. This allows hiring managers to make a decision solely based on qualifications, experience, education, references, and the quality of the person’s resume. You can also standardize your hiring process to ensure all candidates are asked the same questions and that those questions are scored in the same way.
Give your hiring managers the space they need to connect with diverse candidates. Understand that we must shift from trying to fill positions as quickly as possible to a slower, more communicative process that allows your hiring managers to seek out diverse candidates, grow their network, ask for employee referrals, and find people who genuinely fit the culture of your company.
Partner with HR and executive leadership to offer continued support and D&I training.
Many companies bring in outside experts to conduct diversity training, as it can help participants be more open in acknowledging bias and pledge to do better. There are corporate trainers who specialize in this training, but it is imperative to plan and budget for it. Diversity training doesn’t really lend itself to a “train the trainer” model, nor should you expect your diverse employees to educate others on your company’s behalf. Support can also come in a shift in expectations for time to hire, if only temporarily until a specific percentage of your hiring goals have been met.
Provide quarterly updates to senior leadership on diversity numbers while holding TA professionals and hiring managers accountable.
Set specific goals that reflect your leadership team’s expectations for diversity hiring. Quarterly updates are a reminder of what your company leadership has outlined in a statement (whether internally in an employee statement or externally through media) and ensures that you are on track to meet or exceed what has been promised. It is also important to communicate the impact of training on these goals and to highlight the hiring managers that have been performing particularly well to reinforce positive results.
Create candidate marketing materials that share stories about diversity goals and programs directly from employees.
This means tossing out the stock photos of diverse employees on your website and social channels and creating visuals around your current reality: not quite there, but on the road and moving swiftly. You and your team should take a measure from your workforce through focus groups or surveys so that you understand what the current climate is. As you roll out diversity programs and cultural awareness initiatives throughout your company, revisit that survey, take the temperature frequently, and identify employees that are engaged with these programs.
While you don’t have to put a hold on your recruitment marketing until you are able to create workforce programs that support diversity – from training to employee resource groups (ERGs) and beyond – it is important that you wait for actual success stories before promoting your diversity programs. And the messages should not just be genuine, they should come from your employees rather than from company leadership.
Share case studies and best practices of more diverse business units.
While you are implementing and promoting diversity and inclusion programs in your workplace, it’s likely that you already have data from business areas that are more diverse to serve as success stories. If not, there are many studies out there on how diversity can directly impact your bottom line. For example, a 2019 Gartner study predicts that through 2022, 75% of companies with diverse and inclusive decision-making teams will exceed their financial targets. The study also found that gender-diverse and inclusive teams outperformed their less inclusive counterparts by 50%.
Make your job postings more inclusive with our practitioner guide.
As a whole, this sounds complex, because it is. However, it only takes one success story to really drive home the focus and impact of D&I hiring in your workplace. It starts with many small acts that create a steamroller effect that turns into bigger ones.