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Decoding Diversity Recruiting

Updated: Nov 26, 2023

Diversity Recruiting at Workplaces

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are a top priority in most organizations. The ways in which organizations go about introducing DEI initiatives varies according to its DEI maturity level. However, recruiting right is a common step for all organizations and diversity recruiting is a process that needs to be understood and implemented in the right manner.

What is diversity recruiting?

Diversity recruiting or diversity hiring is a proactive, streamlined hiring process that is free of any bias and is committed to recruiting candidates who are right for the job. It aims to provide equal opportunity to all applicants irrespective of their gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, visible and invisible disabilities. Diversity hiring also aspires to undo any unconscious stereotyping based on the job profile or industry of the organization. It also encompasses corrective measures taken to improve the diversity in a firm that was consciously or unconsciously hiring candidates of a particular profile.

Why is diversity hiring needed?

An organization that does not reflect the diverse society it caters to, is setting itself up for failure. A diverse workforce is a source of invaluable consumer insights and also helps bring different perspectives to the table. Product, service and policy innovation is possible with the power of diverse teams. Companies are already leveraging diverse employee resource groups to create tangible business impact.

Diversity recruitment is also imperative to build workplaces that the new generation is proud to join. Employees prefer an employer that prioritizes DEI initiatives as it demonstrates an unwavering commitment to employee well-being.

How does an organization implement diversity recruiting?

Implementing diversity recruitment at any organization depends on the existing nature of its workforce. There are two possibilities: either the workforce is extremely homogeneous or the workforce is diverse but in small proportions.

For an organization that belongs to the first type (a homogeneous workforce), past recruitment data should be analyzed to uncover the reasons for non-diverse hiring. The reasons could range from recruiter bias, non-inclusive job descriptions, limited number of hiring institutions/locations, job role stereotypes to systemic discrimination leading to very short tenures. In such cases, a deliberate change in hiring practices is imperative. For example, women should be actively considered for roles in all-male sales teams. Though this might seem counterintuitive to providing equal opportunities, a correction is needed to change years of prejudiced recruitment. Training sessions to overcome unconscious bias should be mandatory for all those involved in the hiring process.

For an organization that belongs to the second type, - a fairly diverse workforce with potential to grow - a different strategy may need to be implemented. These organizations must nurture Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to attract diverse talent. ERG members can share the challenges they faced during hiring and can also help tweak existing policies to be more inclusive. Quality referrals from ERG members could help accomplish diversity goals. Showcasing existing ERGs during the recruitment process could highlight a sense of community and belonging. An exercise in identifying gaps in diversity should be undertaken by these organizations to move to the next level.

Gender-coded job descriptions that emphasize certain personality traits and a stringent list of qualifications should be avoided. Anonymous screening of resumes plus guidelines to help recruiters overcome any unconscious bias should become the norm. Finally, companies should explicitly state their commitment to being a fair and equitable workplace in their job descriptions to appeal to candidates belonging to all backgrounds.


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