May 12, 2021

build-a-diverse-workforce

The following article discussing workforce diversity was originally published in October 2015. All copy and relevant statistics have been updated as of April 2021.

Higher revenue, better job performance, a more trusted employer brand, and an increased customer base are just a few of the benefits of a diverse workforce. Not to mention, 67% of active and passive job seekers say a diverse workforce is important to them when evaluating companies or job offers. Recruiters today need to take time to assess their diversity recruitment strategies. If your company wants to attract the best talent and reap the benefits of a diverse workforce, you should look at what you’re currently doing and integrate these tactics.

@ClearCompany says recruiters need to evaluate and rethink their #DiversitySourcing strategies before their hiring demand ramps up. Read more on their blog:

1. Embrace Diversity in Your Culture and Brand

To truly embrace diversity and inclusion in your workplace, you need to evaluate your company culture. Statements promoting workplace diversity only go so far. Employers now need to back up their words with actionable efforts. Job seekers want to see the initiatives and support you provide employees and want transparency when it comes to information regarding DE+I in your organization. To be seen as a diverse company, diversity has to weave throughout the entire organization. Otherwise, efforts could be interpreted as hollow and ingenuine. It should be apparent that your company is open to diversity and seeking new perspectives and ideas. To help weave diversity and inclusion into your brand, you can:

  • Feature diversity-driven content on the Careers Page. Include a diversity mission statement, diversity images, and diversity awards.
  • Use social media to spread the word about your diversity efforts. Share pictures from events or diversity workshops.
  • Update print materials to embody a diversified company. This could include workforce demographic statistics, related images, and information about employee resource groups.

Not having a culture that accepts and supports diversity doesn’t just negatively impact turnover, but it also damages how potential job seekers view your company. While a diverse workforce can’t be defined as the sole factor to a company’s success, it is apparent that there are benefits to having multiple perspectives and personalities in a workplace. A true focus on inclusivity and the development of a diverse workforce can help a company build sustainable growth. Ways to enhance your workplace culture include:

  • Diversity training and team-building exercises
  • Unconscious bias training to help identify and reduce potential biases
  • Reinforcement from upper management

2. Use Keywords to Source for Diverse Candidates

Studies have found that the keywords you use in your job postings impact the kinds of candidates that apply. When organizations aim for a truly diverse workforce, they need to be mindful that their tone and keywords don’t actively discourage underrepresented populations. Keep an eye for the following barriers to apply:

Industry jargon — When job postings use corporate or industry jargon and terminology, it alienates individuals who do not understand the terms. Rather than include a bunch of slang your industry uses, try to write your job postings from the perspective of an outsider. Present the information and job description in terms that most candidates will understand.

Gender terms — Certain words are often associated with specific genders. When you use too many gendered terms in your postings, you risk discouraging applicants from a wider pool of talent. For example, job postings that use terms such as “independent, ambitious, or driven” are perceived as more masculine roles, and can alienate female applicants. To attract and engage with a diverse group of applicants, recruiters need to balance the use of masculine and feminine terms.

Unconscious ableism — Just like with your gendered terms, the way you describe your workplace can impact who applies for an open role. When job postings use words such as “dynamic, fast-paced, or demanding,” they risk discouraging applicants with disabilities. These terms carry weight behind them and should be used sparingly to create an environment that feels inclusive and respectful.

3. Collaborate with Colleges

Companies can (and should!) partner with universities and institutions with a large population of minority students to establish a reliable recruiting source. The National Association of Colleges and Employers provides diversity resources to employers, such as a list of minority institutions and diversity statistics for minority schools. Employers can seek out these groups to form meaningful and equally beneficial relationships. In addition to creating a more diverse workforce, close collaboration with colleges can result in developing a young workforce that is more tailored toward fulfilling your company’s needs.

67% of active and passive #JobSeekers say a #diverse workforce is important to them. @ClearCompany offers advice for how to genuinely weave DE+I into your workplace:

PepsiCo is a wonderful example of this initiative. They participate in on-campus recruiting at some of the country's most minority-permeated schools. They are lead sponsors in 5 different diversity recruiting conferences. In addition to partnering with universities from historically underrepresented populations, PepsiCo provides transparent data showcasing their diversity efforts. Currently, 35% of employees in entry-level positions are people of color at PepsiCo, with 30% of entry-level employees identifying as female. PepsiCo’s continued commitment to workplace inclusivity showcases how having a strong diversity strategy can help you achieve your hiring goals.

4. Consider Your Hiring Practices

New solutions to recruitment and interviewing cater not only to job seeker trends but to diversity recruitment. One such method is called blind hiring. Blind hiring has become popular due to its perceived ability to reduce unconscious bias in the recruiting process. Information about the candidate, such as name, gender, religion, or socioeconomic background, is removed from the application, leaving only necessary details and work experience. This means candidates are judged based on skills — not where they came from. But, does blind hiring work for all organizations? Before you commit to changing your hiring practices, consider the following blind hiring benefits and drawbacks:

Benefits:

  • It can allow more diversity in your organization — recruiters aren’t screening for people who look like them, since factors like ethnicity, age, locations, and economic background are removed from applications.
  • It promotes a more objective view of candidates — blind hiring creates a process free from implicit bias since candidates are chosen for interviews based on their skills and experience.
  • It expands your talent pool — when recruiters use blind hiring techniques, they often find a wider and more diverse pool of talent from which to draw upon.

Drawbacks:

  • It can create roadblocks for diversity hiring — without any personal information to base your recruiting decisions on, recruiters cannot focus on hiring for diversity.
  • Hiring for cultural fit can be difficult — while knowing a candidate’s experience and skills is undoubtedly important, it doesn’t provide the whole picture of what their personality and work ethic are like. Recruiters might face troubles with hiring a skilled employee that doesn’t mesh well with their existing workplace culture.
  • Recruiters miss out on referrals with blind hiring — many organizations announce open positions within their company and encourage and rely on current employees to refer candidates for a role. However, when organizations utilize a blind hiring process, the referral process is eliminated since it creates a level of bias in hiring.
  • It doesn’t solve the problem completely — By just removing key information from the candidate’s profile, the issue your hiring team may have with biases is still there. To truly create a more diverse and equitable team, companies must invest in DE+I training and processes.

As you analyze your current hiring efforts and diversity initiatives, consider whether this approach is actually a benefit for your company. For a truly inclusive hiring process, your recruiters need to continuously educate themselves on how to identify, embrace, and look for future opportunities to weave DE+I into your workplace.

At ClearCompany, we believe that diversity impacts more than just company culture. The best DE+I strategies are backed by a holistic approach to diversity, and that’s where ClearCompany comes in. We’ve compiled resources, best practices, strategies, and tips for organizations to customize their DE+I efforts and embrace inclusivity in their workplace.

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Sara Pollock
Sara Pollock
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As the head of a department in the midst of a sustained period of rapid growth, Sara has spent thousands of hours interviewing, hiring, onboarding and assessing employees and candidates. She is passionate about sharing the best practices she has learned from both successes and failures in talent acquisition and management.

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