The workforce is increasingly becoming diverse. One doesn’t have to work outside your home country to experience the rich diversity of the work environment. No wonder that diversity hiring is a hot topic these days.
Organizations are realizing that there are many benefits to hiring people who have a variety of backgrounds and abilities. Despite this, there are still groups of people who have been consistently passed over when it comes to opportunities. Companies need to be inclusive of these individuals, as they are often overlooked in hiring practices. This inclusivity is often said to be important for many different reasons, such as reducing turnover, attracting top talent, and reducing the risk of litigation.
Let’s look at how to develop inclusive hiring practices. Inclusion is more about who you are, rather than what you do. It is about hiring and retaining people who bring fresh ideas, skills, and perspectives to the table. If you think about it, it isn't that different from how you hire for your team. You look for people who can bring something new to the team, rather than someone who is exactly like you. But then it isn’t easy as it seems.
As humans, bias is built in our way of thinking. It is not surprising therefore to see that the organization has built-in biases in their systems, practices, and policies created by their people.
Hiring team members with diverse experiences, competencies, and background is key and requires deliberate and conscious efforts on the part of the organization’s leaders. It’s now looking beyond hiring from a diverse pool of candidates.
Here are 3 strategies on how to improve your hiring practices to make them more inclusive:
1. Have a strategic approach
The organization’s recruitment/ talent acquisition strategy should embed diversity, equity, and inclusion practices. This requires having a DEI strategy that is aligned with your recruitment strategy. It is important to note that these 2 strategies should not be separated from each other as any comprehensive DEI strategy should be embedded in all the business functions and areas of the organization.
A key question to ask: “Does my organization’s DEI strategy include recruitment metrics that are realistic, achievable, and aligned with the overall business strategy?”
Examples of important metrics to include:
- Workforce Representation
- Internal Talent Mobility
- Employee engagement scores
- Retention rate
- Number of DEI training delivered for hiring managers and HR staff
2. Have an inclusive hiring approach
To increase the diversity of hires, HR and hiring managers need to focus, not just on simply sourcing from a more varied candidate pool but also looking at the candidate experience of the people from the underrepresented groups.
Candidates from the BIPOC group (Black, Indigenous, Person of color) and people with disabilities deal with barriers that might hinder them from applying for a job in the organization. One strategic approach would be to look at the full talent acquisition/ recruitment process from end to end to identify and break down these concealed barriers.
Typically, candidates experience roadblocks in each of the areas in the recruitment/ talent acquisition cycle.
A. Job Requirements/job description
Specifying requirements based upon work results/ outcomes gets rid of the requirement for applicants to have qualifications that might not be required on the job. Doing this will expand the candidate pool to individuals from diverse and non-traditional backgrounds who are likewise effective in being successful in the role.
The job description can also be made more inclusive by playing down the requirement for specific previous qualifications such as specific degrees or work history. As mentioned above, describing the work outcomes instead of recommending the credentials required to do a job will provide more flexibility in looking at transferable skills and will be more inviting for job candidates to submit their applications if they know that their skills and competencies in their current role will be considered in the application. This is a more inclusive practice than counting on previous experience alone.
B. Job ad/ job sourcing
Hiring leaders should likewise look at the way the job ad keeps qualified candidates of diverse backgrounds from applying. Avoid using biased language in the job ad that might inadvertently prevent women, racial minorities, and individuals with physical disabilities. Some organizations use language processing software to examine job descriptions for any biased language. If a software is not available, do the intentional route of examining your job ad meticulously for use of gender-neutral titles, using s/he pronouns or you when describing job tasks, avoiding the use of superlatives, focusing on the “must-haves”, eliminating “nice to haves” and avoiding the use of gender-charged words. Some tools can help identify problem spots in your word choices such as Texio and the free tool, Gender Decoder.
Include a "reasonable accommodation statement" in your job ad. Employers should strive to provide reasonable accommodations to candidates who require them. Candidates who have mobility, hearing, or vision needs will require accommodations for their interview process, work with them and listen to their needs.
Expand your reach by ensuring that you’re job ad is seen and can be accessed by diverse groups of people. Nowadays, organizations have various options when posting their ads, such as job boards, educational institutions’ websites, industry association sites, cultural organizations, and social media. These are some of the most effective sites where you can tap into a diverse talent pool.
C. Organization messaging
When posting a job ad, does it reflect any diversity, equity, and inclusion messages that will give applicants an idea of what your organizational culture looks like? If there is a DEI statement on your website, but nothing is mentioned in your job posting, how will the applicants know what’s like to work in your company?
If the job ad doesn’t have a statement like this, start including this now. Applicants do due diligence in researching the companies they would like to apply for after they have seen the job posting. Any inclusive statement showcasing the way you engage and support your current employees will increase the way you’ll attract the right talent to apply for your company.
D. Assessment & Selection
Are your hiring managers/ recruiters practicing inclusive screening and interviewing?
As soon as you begin considering candidates, bias, specifically, gender bias can sneak into the process, starting with your evaluation of résumés. Research studies have revealed, for instance, that candidates whose résumés reflect that they are from traditionally disadvantaged groups are less most likely to be considered for interviews. Acknowledging such patterns is a vital initial step in assisting hiring managers/recruiters when considering applicants impartially.
When it comes to assessing an individual, hiring managers/ recruiters should keep an open mind. The fact is that the skills/ abilities that appear perfect for a role today might no longer even be the right fit after a year. Look for ways in your screening and interviewing to check out the abilities that will allow the individual to thrive in an ever-changing work environment.
Hiring managers/ recruiters should undergo training on inclusive interviewing techniques. It is also important to provide training to your hiring managers and recruiters on intercultural competency.
3. Train for intercultural competency
Recruiting and supporting employees from different cultures involve a range of challenges as well as opportunities. Intercultural competence training increases awareness of different cultural behaviors and how these diverse candidates present themselves during the interview process. By gaining intercultural competence, hiring managers and recruiters will understand how cultural values and behaviors can give an insight into the expectations and motivations of employees from other cultures.
A candidate who is a new immigrant from an Asian background may be showing some different communication style in answering interview questions than someone who was born and raised in North America. Recruiters should not assume that because they have presented themselves this way, they are not competent to do the role they have applied for. Hiring managers/ recruiters who have the skill of intercultural competence would be able to minimize bias in the way they screen and assess people from different cultures.
For the behavioral interview to work, the hiring managers and recruiters must understand how culture and behaviors come into play, must know cultural agility well, and display it themselves. They need to know what to listen for and what to look for as they assess candidates.
Intercultural competence is the bridge between diversity and inclusion. Without intercultural competence, efforts to build a diverse and inclusive workplace can be an arduous struggle. With it, personality and cultural differences are seen as assets that people bring to the organization, and that’s how we can tap into the goldmine of diversity.
Inclusive hiring can bring a significant impact on increasing diversity in your organization. These 3 strategies represent the minimum your organization can do to improve diversity and inclusive hiring practices. It is not an exhaustive list. Each organization’s recruitment challenges are unique and would require a strategic approach to address these challenges.
As a DEI strategist, this is where I can help you. I offer both audits of the recruitment process and help your hiring manager/ recruiters build inclusive hiring competencies through training and coaching.
Who is Maria Drueco?
Maria Drueco is a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) strategist and a Certified Intercultural Trainer, helping businesses build a healthy and inclusive culture so that they attract diverse talent who possess the right competencies, increase employee engagement and productivity and save on the expensive cost of employee turnover. She is skilled in needs analysis, and DEI audit using different tools to identify organizational gaps. Integrating a DEI lens, she guides leaders in achieving organizational excellence and coaches them on how to lead a diverse team. She has worked with various industries, from medium to large-sized organizations, including the public sector, and coached leaders at all levels: Executives/ Senior Leaders, Managers, and front-line supervisors. Her knowledge of inclusive leadership development, intercultural communication, team alignment, and psychological safety gives her the ability to deliver end-to-end solutions that she applies when she does strategic consulting, coaching, design and delivery of DEI programs.
Website: The Inclusion Journey