Tips to Better Utilize Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Recruitment Practices
As a consultant I have the opportunity to work with many companies and am privy to an internal understanding of organizational hiring goals. As you would expect, each company has its own individual needs, wants and reasons for why they are hiring. Over the past several months, one recurring theme has been more and more prevalent in each client conversation: How do we include Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in our recruitment practices?
Through Titus’ own journey with DE&I as well as our consulting with our Partners, we’ve compiled a list of potential practices that can be used in your recruitment to begin to make healthy changes in your organization. From a decade of talent acquisition experience and exposure to the environment that 2020 has created, these suggestions are viable and achievable by most clients I have worked with. However, these are only a few suggestions and not all-encompassing as DE&I are ever-evolving practices for each organization.
Set Goals and Seek Diversity
Having a discussion and a want to have greater diversity in your recruitment is a great start! Often when discussions are had there is a lot of energy to begin this process but when it becomes difficult, companies give up because it seems impossible. Start by understanding where you currently stand, how many diverse candidates are interviewed and hired in your typical process and then create a goal of where you would like to be. SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Based) goals are always best to hold yourself accountable as well as understand what progress is being made even when it is not evident.
Create a Diverse Interview Panel
Candidates are learning about your culture through the interview process and are also in a very nerve wrecking situation (for most). When being interviewed by a panel it becomes more difficult for candidates who do not have a person who they can relate to. If you have ever walked into a room where you do not look or communicate like everyone else, you understand how intimidating this can be. To get the best out of the candidate, it helps to make them comfortable. Allowing current diverse employees to be a part of these panels will not only help bring the best out of the candidate but will also allow the candidates to understand they can align with the company culture. Plus, with diversity often comes unique perspectives and points of view which can allow your interview panel to be more effective in assessing the quality of each candidate.
Adjust Requirements to Allow Others Not Historically Qualified
Often in recruiting we are looking for candidates who have experience with very specific, niche skillsets. However, today’s economy and work environment has become more fast paced and unpredictable than ever before. In fact, many of the skills we are targeting today may be outdated or unneeded much quicker than we ever imagined. It is much more critical to evaluate decision making and adjustment to challenges over specific experiences as those abilities are far more relevant to driving business performance. According to research, diverse teams make better decisions than non-diverse teams 66% of the time which in turn drive 95% of business performance.
Get Actionable Feedback
How we perceive ourselves and how we are perceived are not always in alignment. Becoming better in any area typically includes learning and growing from feedback that you do not always want to hear. Create a process after the hiring decision has already been made that allows candidates to provide feedback on what they felt went well and potential areas of improvement. Allowing this process to be anonymous and after a hiring decision has been made will typically give the most truthful feedback, though admittedly it may not always be possible to keep it anonymous.
Be Conscious of Unconscious Bias
We all have unconscious biases. Accepting that our biases affect our decision making when it comes to hiring is deeply needed. In today’s world, unconscious bias can be partially overcome by technology and automated evaluations. As a Predictive Index Certified Partner, we promote the use of this technology to help in this arena as it has been validated over 500 times and proven to be culturally neutral. The Predictive Index has also been in existence for over 60 years without a single lawsuit dealing with discrimination in the interview process. Whether using The Predictive Index or another behavior and cognitive assessment tool, it’s imperative to do your research on whatever tool your organization uses to ensure it aligns with your quality standards.
Provide Mentors and Paths to Opportunity for Those Within Your Organization
One of the biggest concerns in diversity recruitment is finding leadership-ready candidates who are diverse compared to the current leadership team. According to Greg Spencer, member of the first advisory board for The Advanced Leadership Institute to help grow the regional presence of African Americans in corporate and non-profit leadership roles, “The HR leadership needs to have and maintain a developed pool of diverse candidates for various positions throughout the organization. Since relationships are important, high-performing, high-potential diverse employees will work with a mentor to assist these individuals to develop a personal and professional development plan. A copy of that plan will be housed in the HR department and ‘signed’ off by the employee’s department head. It needs to be a working, living document.” In other words, one of the best approaches is to continuously develop and train the employees you already have!
Bring the Opportunity to the Talent
At the beginning of 2020, working from home was still a large benefit for many companies. In our current landscape, it is expected. In the past, you may have gone to different areas of the country to diversify your candidate pool and hoped to relocate them. With the opportunity to work remotely, you are able to access candidates anywhere which vastly opens up your pool. If you’re able to use remote work to your advantage, consider how your brand stands out in the market. Perhaps in your current location you have a very strong and attractive employment brand. However, in other areas of the country your brand may be entirely unknown. It is your responsibility to bring the opportunity and brand to the potential employee. Target the employee directly, get in front of new universities or development programs, or find advocates in the area to help you access the local community.
As we consider recruitment tactics to be more comprehensive, it’s important to remember that is just the first step of many to create a more diverse and inclusive company. Creating a culture to allow employees to feel that they belong is an ever-changing challenge that we must address regularly. “Belonging is being somewhere where you want to be, and they want you. Fitting in is being somewhere where you want to be, but they don’t care one way or the other. Belonging is being accepted for you. Fitting in is being accepted for being like everyone else. If I get to be me, I belong. If I have to be like you, I fit in.” This quote by Brene Brown is a great example of what to strive for. Allow employees to belong, not just fit in.
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