5 Ways Companies Can Improve Diversity in Hiring
The increasing awareness around discrimination and social justice has motivated many companies to prioritize workplace diversity hiring efforts across the country. It's no longer enough to say your company values diversity and inclusion: diversity claims must be backed up by action and provable change. Companies from all industries are examining how they can do more to attract, hire and retain diverse teams. By improving diversity in hiring, it’s possible to identify areas of improvement and tackle them effectively.
Defining Diversity Hiring
Sometimes, companies think that the main purpose of workplace diversity recruitment is to increase diversity just for diversity’s sake; to hit quotas and check all the right boxes. At its most authentic, diversity hiring is still merit-based, but with other considerations. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provides a checklist to help eliminate hiring biases—even unconscious ones— around age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and other, non-job-related characteristics. Your ideal, qualified, diverse candidate is out there. However, without intentional diversity hiring efforts, they’re less likely to find you.
The Benefits of a Diverse Workforce
Diversity creates space for a greater range of talent: It’s not possible for people with unique worldviews, ethnicities, ages and gender identities to have identical ideologies. Differing opinions — versus those more likely to come from a monocultural team — bring new pain points, solutions and innovations to light.
McKinsey & Company’s 2020 research continues to prove that, when done correctly, diverse, inclusive teams outperform others. They report:
Diverse, top-quartile companies were 36% more profitable.
Gender-diverse executive teams were 25% more likely to report above-average profitability.
Companies with at least 30% female executives were more likely to outperform companies in the 10-30% range, and even more significantly than those with even less.
5 Ways to Improve Diversity In Hiring
Since diversity recruiting is beneficial to both improving company culture and overall profitability, how can you increase diversity hiring efforts and make room for new faces and new points of view within your organization?
1. Audit Your Existing Processes
How your company currently handles talent sourcing, identifies potential bottlenecks and addresses discrepancies says a lot about the effectiveness of your diversity hiring. You can’t build an accurate roadmap to gauge diversity progress without first knowing how your diversity efforts are lacking. Send out a company-wide survey, get your People team to help gather existing diversity data and re-examine every step of your process to gain a clearer view of what you do well and what can be improved.
2. Acknowledge Hidden Diversity
Diversity hiring also includes best practices to accommodate candidates with hidden or non-obvious diversity. Learning disabilities, language barriers for non-native speakers and mental health diversity should also be acknowledged as potential roadblocks. By brainstorming new ways to make room for hidden diversity, you give every candidate the freedom to bring their unique talents to a table that's inclusive to all.
3. Look Beyond Numbers
Using metrics and data to track your diversity is vital, but seeing diversity statistics as just numbers can make it too easy to stop seeing people as people, and see them as quota fillers instead. Hiring for specific diversity goals can unintentionally box you into a segmented candidate pool or exclude your ideal candidates from consideration. When your sourcing, vetting and hiring efforts are truly focused on finding the best candidates, the results will speak for themselves.
4. Don’t Forget Inclusion
McKinsey & Company’s research highlights the importance of a more systematic approach to increased diversity and inclusion -- it also focuses on whether the companies included in 2020 research took “bold action on inclusion.”
Inclusion prioritizes “fairness and transparency so that the playing field is level (or at least moving in that direction). This includes areas or processes related to things like pay, promotions, developmental opportunities and more,” according to McKinsey. Hiring diverse talent is invaluable. However, if you’re unwilling to focus on actual inclusion or don’t see its lasting value, your diverse workforce will feel unseen — or worse, tricked into joining a team that only claims to champion diversity and inclusion — and leave quickly.
5. Choose Talent Partnerships that Prioritize Diverse Hiring
Whether you’re outsourcing with a BPO, hiring through a staffing or recruiting firm, handling everything in-house or partnering with an on-demand remote team marketplace solution, diverse and inclusive hiring should always be a priority. Ask your current outsourcing and recruiting stakeholders how they ensure diversity and inclusion and stress the value of a diverse workforce to encourage increased mindfulness in this area.