Our biases get in the way of discovering potential stars for our workplace, thus limiting our company’s growth. Talent and career-driving traits are not exclusive to any certain group of people. A BCG study has shown that companies with more diverse teams had 19% increased innovation revenue over teams with below-average diversity scores.
On top of that, it’s not a very attractive image when people notice you only hire a certain ethnicity, gender, or group of people. Being non-biased towards accepting applicants is just the right thing to do in this new age.
With that in mind, here are some diversity hiring strategies you can try.
7 Diversity hiring strategies
1. Launch a mentoring program for diverse talent when they join
Hiring diverse talent is only the first step in building an inclusive and equitable workplace. For that reason, just getting diverse talent on your team isn't enough. Top talent want to know that after they join your company, they'll be supported. A diversity mentoring program does just that. Mentoring programs connect more junior employees, or those just joining your team with seasoned leaders across the organization. These leaders act as guides, advisors, and critical pillars of support for diverse candidates.
Not only is their feedback and coaching incredibly practical, but mentors of diverse employees open up opportunities for future advancement.
All this to say, diverse talent has a lot to gain from mentorship. Whether its benefits are concrete career advancement or a boost in confidence, diverse talent want to work for companies where they'll continue to grow. It's both a great employee development tool and a key differentiator in a competitive hiring market.
2. Reach out to underrepresented candidates
Study shows that BIPOC employees have fewer opportunities in the workplace than white workers.
In order to create a diverse workplace, you can try to proactively reach out to these sectors without making it seem like you’re coddling them. Take to LinkedIn and invite underrepresented individuals for a chance to work for your company or you could also use freelancer platforms to widen the pool of talent. Here’s how you can actively search for underrepresented candidates.
- Search for any job title on LinkedIn, just like you would normally. But place a higher priority in selecting underrepresented candidates from the results.
- For foreign ethnicities such as Latin and Asian, you may turn on filters for profile language. Foreign candidates are likely to be bilingual.
- If you’re building a remote team where geographical location isn’t a concern, you may turn on location filters.
- Search for graduates of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), tribal colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, women’s colleges, or specialized schools for disabled individuals.
- Join groups for alumni of institutions in the categories listed above.
- Reach out to the Veterans Administration office in your area and programs like Suits for Soldiers to encourage military veterans to apply for open positions.
- Reach out to these potentially diverse employees at the community level, you can place QR codes at different community centers that focus on the upliftment of these ethnic groups. These QR codes can help candidates to apply for jobs easily.
You may use email finder tools to shoot these people an email if an email isn’t shown on their LinkedIn profile. Once you have your pool of applicants, you may subject them through a fair and unbiased interview process. More on that later.
3. Build an inclusive employer brand
Imagine you’re a well-renowned restaurant by consumers. People love the food you make and spend a lot of time at your branches. However, as some of your loyal customers apply for a job at your company, they see all these one-star reviews left by current and former employees.
That will turn a lot of people off, not just applicants. You’d want your brand to still be pleasing and inviting to potential applicants as it was to your customers. Here’s a list of how you can achieve that:
- Give your employees competitive salaries. Employees of a certain rank should receive the same basic salary regardless of their ethnicity or minority status.
- Give your employees proper benefits. This includes but is not limited to health insurance and paid vacation. Let your employees take the day off for holidays such as Kwanzaa, Cinco de Mayo, or Diwali.
- Take a stand on socially pressing issues. For instance, you may encourage LGBTQ employees to participate in Pride activities or issue statements in support of social movements.
- Highlight the contributions of minority employees to your company in its corporate newsletters and internal communications.
Even after they’ve moved on from your company, they’ll remember you well and tell their friends. Additionally, you’ll start getting 5-star reviews on your job listings.
4. Create an inclusive recruiting and interview process
When you’re building a diverse workforce, you should plan around inclusive values. It’s key that the applicant you’re hiring has shown openness to working in a diverse working environment. Here’s how you can do that:
- Bring up diversity in the workplace. Ask your applicants what they’ve done to pursue that in their previous job. You may also ask them about their experience with working in a diverse team.
- Ask them what they do on the weekends. Initiate small talk about their personal life. If they bring up acts of kindness such as volunteering at the local shelter, or that their pet is adopted, those are good factors.
Here’s another thing to think about – when applicants show up for an interview, you would only be hiring one or two of them. That leaves the rest to go about their daily lives remembering how their interview went. If it wasn’t an inclusive experience for them, they’ll have a bad takeaway in their mouths.
- Use inclusive job descriptions in your listings. Don’t require any trait not necessary for the role (i.e., looking for a particular gender).
- Be fair with your candidate assessment. Try to incorporate tests and essays in your assessment so that the process is more objective.
Remember that what you’re showing is not pity for specific groups; rather, you are opening the doors a bit wider to attract and accommodate a more diverse candidate base. The final hiring decision should always be based on the applicant’s skills and experience.
5. Use blind resumes and interviews
Aside from enforcing an inclusive recruitment process, implementing blind resumes and interviews reduce the possibility of bias.
Blind resumes are just like regular resumes, but with all personal information blacked out. This information includes the applicant’s name, address, gender, age, and ethnicity and only focuses on an applicant’s educational achievements, skills, traits, qualities, and previous work experience. You can use software that redacts personal information from candidate CVs.
Blind interviews, on the other hand, are interview processes where the applicant anonymously answers questions through text. The absence of an in-person appearance eliminates the employer bias in interviews. Only when a candidate has been shortlisted will they be invited for an in-person assessment.
A blind hiring process might yield surprising results, especially because you narrow down your pool of applicants solely on the strength of their skillset and experience. By removing potential points for bias from the equation, you get new hires based on merit alone. When you hire on merit, you build a workforce that focuses on their performance regardless of their background.
6. Create a safe space at work
A diverse workplace won’t necessarily mean a safe and inclusive one. Your diversity hiring wil be all for naught if your workplace treats different groups of people as an invasive species. The point of a culturally diverse workplace is so that employees learn, and develop as individuals.
Here’s what you can do:
- Have sanctions in place for sexual, racial, or ableist discrimination in the workplace.
- Have team-building exercises, and group together employees from different backgrounds.
- Encourage your employees to speak out against discriminatory practices. You may implement an open-door policy and grievance process to empower your employees.
You may want to implement a more objective way of tracking progress, you can use SMART goals to help set appropriate objectives, so that biases are excluded from evaluation processes. Also, see to it that you log employees’ work hours properly and everyone gets paid fairly. Use a work schedule template compatible with Google Sheets and Excel.
7. Create and track diversity recruiting KPIs
Many companies, especially those with federal contracts, are required to create Affirmative Action Plans to ensure that they interview and hire people from diverse backgrounds. Even if your business doesn’t have a federal contract, you can use equal opportunity principles to guide your diversity hiring KPIs.
Here are some diversity KPIs you can measure to gauge the effectiveness of the recruiting method.
- How many more underrepresented new hires were onboarded post-diversity hiring?
- What’s the percentage of female employees in your workplace post-diversity hiring?
- How many candidates are disabled or military veterans? Do you encourage your candidates to declare their disabilities or veteran status?
You also need to count HR reports on racial or sexual discrimination, and see if these counts rise in proportion to a more diverse workplace. Your duty isn’t only to create a diverse workforce, but also to foster a culturally inclusive one.
Unlock an untapped talent pool with diverse hiring
BIPOC employees have far fewer opportunities in the workplace than white workers. The same goes for women, LGBTQ, disabled, and army veterans. However, these sectors represent a largely untapped pool of talent.
By applying diversity hiring strategies, you’re not just giving more opportunities to underrepresented minorities. You’re also giving your business a competitive edge because of the unique skills and perspectives that a diverse workforce brings to the workplace.
First, you need to find reach minority employees on LinkedIn by joining groups where they gather. Second, you must build an inclusive brand for your company. This includes creating a recruiting process that actively seeks out potential candidates who are also advocates for their sector, then subjecting those candidates to blind interviews.
Next, you need to retain your new hires by creating a working environment where they are respected and heard. Finally, you must constantly track your hiring process and ensure that you’re getting the right candidates from different underrepresented groups.
Following the processes above will give underrepresented groups equal opportunities to thrive in your organization and contribute to its continued growth.
Author bio: Nico is the founder of Launch Space. The company works with enterprise SaaS clients, helping them scale lead generation globally across EMEA, APAC, and other regions.