During the past few years, many company executives have publicly spoken about their intention to improve diversity among their employees. CEOs from more than 900 companies have pledged to support more inclusive workplaces for millions of employees.
Hiring for diversity is not only something to be done because it’s the right thing to do, but businesses should also strive for it because of benefits like new perspectives, increased revenue and the ability to capture new markets. However, improving diversity — which includes hiring more people across the spectrum of age, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, cultural backgrounds and more — does not happen overnight and instead requires careful iteration and thoughtful planning.
Here are seven tips for companies looking to hire a more diverse set of employees.
If your company wants to start seeing changes in diverse hiring, it doesn’t hurt to have a board of directors and an executive team that reflect your ideals. The Harvard Business Review conducted a 2019 study on diverse company boards and concluded that focusing on just one form of diversity is not enough. It suggests that “social diversity (e.g., gender, race/ethnicity, and age diversity) and professional diversity are both important for increasing the diversity of perspectives represented on the board.” The study also strongly suggested avoiding “tokenism,” and ensure the person you are adding to the board is not there to simply check a box — they also should be highly valued for their expertise.
Embrace ‘blind hiring’ techniques
In the world of human resources, the idea of “blind hiring” to increase diverse candidate numbers has become more popular. Blind hiring effectively means to obscure personal and demographic information in order to evaluate candidates on their abilities without adding unconscious bias. Masking names and colleges from resumes, for example, will reduce associations they may have with gender, race and/or age. Additionally, not using social media profile data (which can include loads of identifying information) to make upfront judgments also ensures your starting applicant pool is more diverse. Once you begin face-to-face interviews, the process will no longer be “blind,” however.
Expand where you recruit
One simple way to broaden your candidate pool is to expand where you post job listings and where you attend in-person recruitment events. If your company has, for example, only posted on LinkedIn and popular job boards, then also seek out job boards, message boards and other digital sites dedicated to groups that are underrepresented at your company. Examples of lesser-known job boards include 70 Million Jobs (which targets job seekers with criminal records) and Higherpurpose (which targets veterans). As for in-person opportunities, sending recruiters to job fairs at majority-minority colleges can help with diverse hiring.
If a company wants to attract a more diverse hiring pool, it should be able to show instances of diversity in company life in videos and social media.
Measure diversity goals annually or quarterly
You can’t improve upon your company’s diversity if you don’t really know how your employees are represented. Executives and hiring managers should assemble data and metrics on a yearly or quarterly basis in order to assess how well the company’s hiring matches set diversity goals. Companies looking for guidance on how to structure a report and what metrics to track may want to look at the publicly available Google Diversity Annual Report 2020.
Offer inclusive paid internships
Many people get their first on-the-job experience through internships while in college or following college, and in some cases, interns are hired for entry-level positions at the same company at which they interned. As such, companies looking to improve diversity can offer some internships specifically to those in underrepresented groups at their companies.
Rewrite job listings
One reason your company may not be getting the most diverse set of potential candidates could be simply that your job listings don’t use neutral language. For example, some words psychologically are subtly associated with gender and thus can turn off some applicants from applying for a job. This free Gender Decoder app can show you instances where ad language is not neutral.
Showcase diversity on your career site and marketing
Companies should pay special attention to how they are perceived on their websites and in public marketing materials. If a company wants to attract a more diverse hiring pool, it should be able to show instances of diversity in company life in videos and social media. In some cases, the company could also show off the diversity it aspires to have. A survey by Glassdoor found that 67% of active and passive job seekers said diversity is an important factor in job seeking, so showing diversity can help encourage a broader set of candidates to apply.
CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.