Diversity hiring best practices: Improving your organization’s DEI

Read on to learn more about the importance of utilizing a diverse workforce and the best practices for successful diversity hiring moving forward.

Diversity, equity and inclusion efforts are not only an increasingly important focus for business leaders but for employees and job seekers as well. A report from CNBC found that nearly 80% of workers want to work for a company that values diversity and works harder to achieve these goals. The growing importance of DEI in the workplace is quickly turning organizations' attention toward implementing and promoting diversity initiatives.

Diversity hiring has quickly become a key focal point, helping companies ultimately foster true workplace diversity. As organizations work to improve diversity hiring processes, we're taking a closer look at the best practices to keep in mind and the pitfalls to avoid along the way — helping you reach diversity hiring goals efficiently and effectively.

The importance of diversity and inclusion

Workforce diversity essentially encompasses the individual characteristics employees have that make them unique — this can include anything from gender, race and ethnicity to religion, age, sexual orientation and more. A diverse workplace is an important asset that acknowledges the individual strengths of unique employees and the potential they bring, which leads to more productive, collaborative and successful teams in the long run.

Overcoming unconscious bias

To foster workplace diversity successfully, business leaders and team members - especially talent acquisition teams - need to actively mitigate the chance of unconscious bias, which continues to plague workplaces. According to a survey from Deloitte — whether on the basis of ethnicity, race, gender, age or sexuality — more than 60% of employees reported a presence of bias in their workplace. Bias impedes innovation, and employees who perceive this in their company or culture are likely to disengage and reduce contributions. In fact, employees who perceive bias are 2.6 times more likely to say that they've withheld ideas and market solutions over the previous six months, per a report from True Office Learning.

How workplace diversity can benefit your organization

By employing successful diversity hiring practices and leveraging a diverse workforce effectively, your organization can achieve extraordinarily positive business outcomes. The key advantages of workplace diversity to note include:

  • Leveraging unique perspectives: When diverse talent is given the support and encouragement needed to voice their thoughts freely, organizations inevitably see a greater variety of perspectives as a result. These perspectives, along with the unique skills and experience a diverse workforce can provide, are highly beneficial when planning and executing business tasks and strategies.
  • Improving creativity and innovation: Creativity and innovation are at the cornerstone of every great company — and strong diversity efforts are an effective way to improve these aspects. According to Bersin by Deloitte research, companies that look at inclusion as a hallmark of their talent strategy are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market.
  • Faster problem solving and better decision-making abilities: As diverse employees are increasingly sought after and listened to, organizations can quickly elevate both their problem solving and decision-making abilities. In fact, research from tech firm CloverPop concluded that inclusive teams not only make better decisions up to 87% of the time but also delivered 60% better results.
  • Increasing profits: Research consistently shows that a diverse team is more likely to achieve greater profits. This is typically a result of the greater innovation, faster problem solving, improved collaboration and better decision-making abilities that a diverse workplace can provide.
  • Boosting employee engagement and satisfaction: There are significant correlations between diversity and employee happiness. In fact, research from Boston Consulting Group found that of employees who reported working in inclusive environments, 81% also claimed they were satisfied in their role–3 times more than those who don't feel included. Diversity and inclusivity will ultimately prove to be key factors in boosting engagement and satisfaction long term.
  • Establishing a better employer brand: Organizations that are committed to both implementing and promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace are more likely to be viewed as socially responsible — inevitably establishing a better company reputation in the long run. This is not only appealing to job seekers and consumers but also strengthens the company brand, opening the doors to new markets, customers and business opportunities.

The best practices for successful diversity hiring

With the importance and benefits of workplace diversity top of mind for organizations across industries, many are wondering how they can reach their DEI goals successfully. This has quickly put a spotlight on diversity hiring, which has shown to be a significant boon to diversity efforts when leveraged properly.

Understanding diversity hiring

Diversity hiring is about much more than simply hiring from a diverse pool of candidates. Instead, this process focuses on the development and implementation of a strategy that is designed to correct bias — while attracting and retaining qualified candidates.

It's critical for organizations to recognize that by not employing an effective diversity hiring program, they're limiting themselves significantly. It can be tempting to use the same recruiting strategy and processes across candidates and assume you're effectively reaching and recruiting all possible talent. However, the truth of the matter is not all applicants have the same level of access. This means, if you're assuming traditional approaches, with no intentional recruitment strategy in place, will reach a comprehensive group of candidates — you are mistaken. Leveraging outdated strategies in this way only allows organizations to see a partial picture of what could be a substantially larger candidate pool.

As companies increasingly introduce thoughtful and comprehensive systems to better reach diversity hiring objectives, here are the top six strategies for diversity hiring to keep in mind:

1.Establish your commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion

Building a company brand that's shown a dedication to DEI and attracts a wider range of job seekers is only possible after establishing and demonstrating a clear commitment to diversity initiatives. This means more than simply hiring a single Chief Diversity Officer - it means dedicating a team and significant resources to the tasks of recording and tracking diversity data, organizing outreach, and developing inclusive business processes. Without this commitment, any DEI leader, however well-intentioned, risks being not much more than a figurehead.

2. Understand what candidates are seeking

When developing strategies to reach diverse candidates, it's essential to remember that diverse talent will have unique needs. This will require effort and dedication from employers and organizations to understand the individual needs that should be addressed and, subsequently, align their diversity initiatives accordingly. For example, ensuring you offer inclusive benefits or your plan provides equitable coverage can be an effective way to support same-sex couples who may not always be considered.

3. Introduce opportunities for diversity and inclusion training

Implementing thorough training opportunities is becoming a progressively critical way to drive diversity efforts. In fact, 92% of business leaders agree that a strategic DEI education and training program can aid in reaching organizational diversity and inclusion goals. These programs are intended to increase employee knowledge and awareness of cultural, religious or racial differences — while simultaneously providing information on how individuals can change their behavior to be more inclusive. As a result, team members across the corporate ladder will be better equipped to support and encourage these efforts, while maintaining an open mind along the way.

4. Ensure DEI is a continuous priority

The right diversity recruiting strategy can help your hiring team successfully reach underrepresented groups. Once these candidates join the team, organizations stand to benefit significantly from the diversity they're able to bring to the table. However, to retain this talent and keep these employees satisfied long term, your diversity efforts can't stop at your recruiting and hiring practices. Your commitment to DEI should ultimately touch every aspect of the business and be a continuous focus moving forward for better results.

5. Mitigate unconscious bias

With an understanding of the detrimental effects unconscious bias can have, it will prove vital that an organization's hiring manager or hiring team trains to identify their own implicit bias, and actively works to mitigate the risk of bias throughout diversity efforts. A few best practices to do this effectively can include ensuring your hiring managers represent diverse cultures and backgrounds — likely having a more comprehensive understanding of what diverse candidates need — or conducting blind resume reviews to emphasize a focus on qualifications and experience.

6. Work with dependable partners to streamline the process

Introducing systems for diversity hiring efficiently and effectively can be a time-consuming and overwhelming process at first glance. But, with a dependable partner, like Beacon Hill, at your side to provide the support you need to achieve unique organizational goals, these processes can be considerably less stressful for your hiring teams — and likely to drive better results along the way.

The pitfalls of diversity hiring efforts

  • Failing to move from design to implementation: A comprehensive diversity plan can be thorough and potentially beneficial in design, but organizations are unlikely to reach diversity and inclusion goals if it's not properly implemented. Companies in pursuit of fostering genuine workplace diversity should focus on implementation while holding themselves accountable for the results of these DEI efforts.
  • Focusing on diversity at the surface level: Some businesses are guilty of simply going through the motions of diversity initiatives without truly establishing and committing to these policies. An underrepresented candidate may initially appreciate your expressed commitment to diversity, but working where they don't truly feel welcome, heard or valued will do little for your long-term retention and diversity goals.
  • Lacking inclusivity in job descriptions: When it comes to inclusive hiring practices, your job descriptions and requirements can quickly alienate a diverse — and potentially valuable — talent pool. Considering biased or gendered language can quickly turn off a qualified candidate, organizations need to ensure job descriptions are inclusive for all applicants. It will prove equally important to ensure job descriptions refrain from being too rigid in requirements, which can possibly exclude a qualified candidate that may not seem like the right fit on paper.
  • Implementing inadequate interview processes: To achieve diversity hiring goals successfully, an interviewer shouldn't improvise. Whether they're an experienced interviewer or new to the hiring process, it will be a necessity to prepare sufficiently for a more successful outcome. A successful interview starts with a strong, consistent process that can be applied universally. However, having a consistent process does not necessarily mean having an inflexible approach. Such an approach, where an interviewer does not consider soft skills and abilities that a candidate possesses, as well as how a candidate's qualities can augment the talents of the current team, can prove rather detrimental. A successful diversity hiring initiative will also be adaptable in terms of scheduling, understanding that not all candidates may be able to conduct interviews during traditional business hours. As a result, organizations need to implement greater interview flexibility while prioritizing the interview itself.
  • Neglecting employer branding: Making substantial progress in your diversity recruitment is critical, but these efforts and successes can go unnoticed if your employer brand is overlooked. This inevitably limits your potential reach. Utilizing employer branding to express your commitment to diversity and inclusion, as well as share tangible results, can serve as a valuable resource for reaching diverse candidates.
  • Taking on diversity efforts alone: Diversity recruitment demands close attention and continuous effort to produce successful results. Taking on the process alone can be daunting for organizations across all industries. Working with a reliable partner and implementing valuable solutions is an effective way to help your human resources team streamline and simplify the process.

Diversity hiring checklist

Overall, the specific diversity initiatives your organization should focus on will likely differ from others. However, we've compiled the key questions to ask yourself amid diversity hiring efforts to help your business more effectively reach DEI goals.

  • Have your job postings and descriptions been audited to remove bias?
  • Are you targeting sources that serve and are focused on diverse candidates?
  • Are you encouraging employees to reach out to their network?
  • Have you considered offering internships designed for underrepresented groups?
  • Are you leveraging blind recruitment strategies to mitigate the risk of implicit bias?
  • Does your employer brand showcase both a commitment to DEI efforts, as well as diversity in action?

Checking off these questions is a good sign that your strategies are on the right track.

Employing solutions to elevate your HR processes

Diversity and inclusion efforts are quickly becoming integral for organizations to remain productive and competitive in the modern workplace. However, only 41% of HR professionals believe that their organization's DEI initiatives are at advanced stages, per a 2021 HR Research Institute survey. This emphasizes the need for companies to review the systems they have in place and determine whether they're doing enough to support and achieve diversity goals — and your diversity hiring practices are no exception.

For organizations in search of the support, resources and solutions needed to streamline and simplify their hiring process, Beacon Hill can help. With years of experience in providing valuable integrated staffing solutions, Beacon Hill can help your organization find the right people at the right time and solve your unique talent needs. With our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, our teams can help you drive both hiring objectives and diversity goals — across labor market conditions.

To learn more about working with Beacon Hill Staffing Group, get in touch with us today.

Related Resources