While companies continue making progress in fostering a more equitable hiring process and inclusive workplace, there is still much more work that organizations across every industry can do. With many potential avenues for improvement, it can be difficult for businesses to decide what external and internal areas need the most attention.
Below, you will find insights and strategies into what organizations can do to promote diversity, so people from all backgrounds feel like they have a fair chance within the application process and feel like they belong within their company culture.
Why Should Companies Prioritize Pushing for Greater Equity?
People increasingly expect companies to make more effort to hire and represent different cultures and backgrounds within their teams. Businesses that don’t prioritize equity have weaker company brands and are less appealing to work at. Organizations that make active commitments to push for greater diversity and inclusion receive several benefits, including better employee engagement and increased profitability.
Increased Team Productivity
Companies prioritizing racial and ethnic diversity at the highest criteria experience 35% more ROI and perform better than those with lower representations. People who feel like they can express themselves at work and feel like they belong are often more productive and participate more than those who feel excluded. More diverse teams are more innovative and make better decisions compared to more homogenous groups.
One of the most significant business costs comes from high turnover and hiring replacement employees to train and onboard, which costs between 6 to 9 months of wages to replace a salaried employee. By creating a company culture where everyone is valued, employees are more likely to stay for more extended periods.
Related Reading: Diversity & Inclusion Are Important In the Workplace
Diversity and inclusion affect many parts of a company, but two of the most influential areas are the talent pipeline and company culture.
How Hiring Teams Should Push For More Equitable Recruitment Processes
Companies looking to bring on new talent can face several challenges in making sure all applicants are considered equally, such as unintentional bias within job descriptions and candidate consideration. Organizations can promote diversity recruitment with the following tips:
Analyze Diversity Benchmarks and Set Hiring Goals
Organizations should assess their internal teams to determine their company-wide representation of different backgrounds. After they have a good understanding of their team makeup, they can set achievable goals to increase diversity to include new perspectives and cultures better. Ideally, companies take on this initiative as an ongoing process to check on representation metrics and determine if they are making progress or should shift accordingly.
Evaluate All Applicants More Fairly
Hiring teams should evaluate the tools and processes available to them to consider applicants more fairly. For example, applicant tracking systems don’t discriminate against applicants because of their names. Another effective strategy to judge candidates fairly is to conduct blind resume reviews to remove information from resumes that could influence hiring team consideration.
In general, companies should assess candidates objectively, considering strong talent based on their skillsets instead of their personality, cognition, or educational background, since those factors tend to feed into existing biases.
Choose Job Description Language Carefully
Another important aspect for companies to consider when posting job descriptions is that the chosen words and phrases appeal more to certain types of applicants or discourage others from applying. For example, certain terms, such as “dominant” or “competitive'' typically describe male applicants, where “loyalty” and “compassionate” resonate more with female candidates.
Hiring teams should evaluate their job ad word choice, using tools such as Gender Decoder to determine if they are excluding certain applicants. If so, they should adjust the language accordingly to open up the position to a larger and more diverse audience.
Related Reading: 4 Strategies to Write Inclusive Job Descriptions
How to Nurture a More Inclusive Company Culture
In addition to creating a more equitable hiring process, companies should also work to create a company culture where every worker feels valued and accepted. While every organization may approach this effort differently, here are some strategies that help nurture diversity company-wide:
Design a Succession Plan After Hiring
Finding and onboarding new talent can be a time-consuming process for any organization. However, it can be more critical to ensure that new hires feel welcome and that they belong to encourage them to remain. Part of this strategy involves providing employees with different platforms to raise any concerns or hardships about them feeling accepted or integrated within their team.
Create a Safe Place to Have Difficult Discussions
Part of the lack of diversity within company culture can be due to a lack of education or a place to talk about workplace diversity disparities. While this can be uncomfortable at first, this forum for learning about what can be unintentionally offensive can go a long way to creating a more understanding and inclusive workplace.
Create Intentional Moments of Engagement
One effective way to strengthen company culture for employees from all walks of life is to offer more situations where coworkers can get to know each other better. Those engagements can take the form of events, including lunch-ins, trivia, office competitions, and happy hours—many of which companies can organize in a virtual or hybrid working environment.
These opportunities for engagement help create the benefit of the doubt for employees when they unintentionally say something hurtful, allowing for quicker healing, and creates a workplace where other staff members are accepted instead of just being tolerated.
If you want to learn more strategies about how your company can create a more inclusive hiring process and accepting company culture, you can watch the recording of the “How Everyone Has a Part to Play in Diversity & Inclusion” webinar here. Also, you can download the "Start Making Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Progress at Your Workplace" guide here.