The workforce has seen a significant transformation over the past century, moving from being predominantly male-dominated to having women enter the workforce to the current situation, where marginalised groups are making their imprint.
The transformation was fraught with challenges; discrimination, unjust treatment and unequal opportunities were rampant. This prompted the development of new workplace policies and regulations that would be equitable for everyone. Since then, the subject of diversity, inclusion and equity (DEI) at the workplace has created much buzz.
DEI has become critical to the success of a business, especially in the current globalised, interconnected world.
An interconnected and globalised world offers an ideal environment for the diverse range of skills that people from varied backgrounds bring. Listed below are the leading advantages of workplace diversity:
Given the numerous advantages of a diverse workforce, it is time to consider whether factors such as colour, culture, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, socioeconomic status, education or geography should be used as grounds for discrimination against qualified candidates.
Companies that prioritise DEI not only foster a more welcoming and inclusive work environment but also tend to perform better financially.
However, achieving a diverse workforce requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders, especially recruiters. They are responsible for attracting and hiring new talent.
Whether a seasoned recruiter looking to expand your skillset or a beginner seeking to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace, you are bound to encounter challenges in the diversity hiring process. You will need a guide that will equip you with the tools and knowledge one needs to succeed. So let's get started!
It is unwise to dive into DEI hiring blindfolded. Planning and preparation should be taken seriously.
A survey of the backgrounds and experiences of the current workforce is an excellent place to start. The survey should answer these major questions: What is the current strength of workforce diversity? What types of backgrounds do they come from? What does the workplace need to make diverse candidates feel included? Infrastructure improvement, inclusiveness training programmes?
Identifying the answers to these questions is imperative to setting targets for increasing the diversity of the workforce and implementing strategies to achieve them.
Do your job postings reflect the intended inclusiveness? If not, consider rephrasing them.
Filter out words and phrases such as the following:
There are more such examples. The key is to watch your words.
It is good to begin with a large pool of diverse candidates. This is to ensure that by the time you reach the end of your assessment process, you will be able to achieve the diversity employment target you have set.
However, building a diverse candidate pool requires a more targeted effort. Here are a few options:
Upgrade the infrastructure in your workplace to support your diversity recruitment strategy. This means having:
These are just a few examples. Let your requirements be the driving force; do not hesitate to unleash your creativity.
Hiring people from diverse backgrounds is not fruitful if you don’t make concerted efforts to retain them. It is a well-known fact that happy employees tend to stay longer. And HR policies are significant determinants of the happiness quotient. For your diverse staff to feel comfortable, you could revise some of your policies. Here are some examples:
To engage a diverse workforce, equity and inclusion must coexist.
Did you form an opinion about a candidate based on first impressions? Do you favour some candidates because they fit “your type”? You may not think so; nevertheless, science says otherwise.
While we would all like to think that reason and logic drive our choices, science shows that unconscious brain activity enters the picture early and influences our opinions. Of course, this occurs without our knowledge.
In the employment process, stereotyping starts at the resume screening stage. How closely an applicant matches your picture of an ideal candidate determines whether the candidate gets accepted or rejected.
The bias continues into the interviewing phase. Even seasoned interview panellists are not immune to becoming judgemental.
Luckily, training courses that enable recruiters to engage in more inclusive sourcing, recruiting and evaluation practices are available.
DEI hiring must be approached with the utmost alertness.
Considering the rising trend of skills-based hiring, placing too much emphasis on qualifications could be a mistake. If an applicant has the requisite abilities for a job, it is prudent to forego the expectation of exemplary academic credentials.
Employers who place too much emphasis on academic qualifications risk losing highly qualified and brilliant people who have not pursued higher education. This can result in a loss of talent and diversity in the workplace.
When scheduling for interviews, it is essential to be empathetic towards candidates’ schedules and responsibilities that may affect their availability. It would be good to consider the potential impact of your scheduling decisions on their existing employment or caregiving responsibilities.
This is especially true for members of marginalised populations who may be juggling multiple jobs, caring for family members or facing other barriers to employment.
To ensure that you are not inadvertently excluding qualified candidates, it is essential to offer flexible interview schedules. For example, insisting that all interviews be conducted during regular business hours may prove to be a pain point for candidates who are currently employed. Be open to offering evening or weekend interview slots or allowing candidates to request specific times that work for them.
By being open and accommodating to a range of scheduling needs, you can help ensure that all qualified candidates have an equal opportunity to interview for the position and that they are not forced to choose between existing responsibilities and potential employment with your organisation.
Overall, by prioritising flexibility and accommodating a range of scheduling needs, you can help ensure that you are attracting and considering the most suitable candidates for your workforce.
Diversity hiring is a critical step towards building an inclusive and innovative workplace. By actively seeking out candidates from different backgrounds, recruiters can help their organisations foster a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion.
To implement an effective diversity hiring strategy, recruiters should start by identifying areas where their organisation lacks representation, establishing partnerships with diverse communities, reviewing job postings to ensure inclusive language and training their interviewers on how to conduct unbiased interviews.
Ultimately, diversity in hiring is not just a moral imperative but a business and societal one too. Companies that embrace diversity and create an inclusive environment are more likely to attract top talent, boost innovation and grow their businesses.
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