Despite many organizations improving their diversity hiring and building inclusive workforces, inequality still plagues many sectors across the world. The gender pay gap, for example, is still alarmingly prevalent.
Companies need to do better. Many are trying, but their hiring practices still need improving. It’s not enough to say “we’re hiring diverse” to attract and build a diverse workforce. Employers need to thoroughly evaluate their internal operations and hiring practices and actively work to make them more inclusive.
In this guide, we’ll explore the advantages of building an inclusive workforce and discuss the best practices for improving your diversity hiring.
Diversity hiring is merit-orientated recruitment that reduces hiring biases by evaluating applicants on their skills and qualifications, rather than personal, unrelated characteristics. Diverse hiring practices also proactively reduce age, religion, gender, and cultural bias from the evaluation process.
Diversity hiring gives applicants an equal opportunity to secure a position by evaluating them based on merit and qualifications. Additionally, organizations with inclusive workforces may observe improved performance, decision-making, and financial returns. We’ll discuss these potential benefits in detail in the next section.
If you need to convince your organization about the need to build a diverse workforce, here are some advantages to motivate them.
Diverse workforces are 15% more likely to bring in financial returns, according to a study. This is due to several reasons, including diverse workforces exhibiting improved decision-making and cognitive skills relative to less inclusive groups.
Thus, a diverse workforce can help organizations perform better and increase revenue. A more inclusive team means the best combination of skills and experience, as qualified candidates aren’t screened out due to biases.
A diverse workforce includes people from different cultures who can connect better with various communities. This means having employees who communicate in other languages, opening up the gateway to new markets. In fact, a diverse team is 70% more likely to take your business into newer markets.
About 25% of employees believe in creating a sense of belonging, and 79% of organizations relate the ‘sense of belonging’ to their success. These statistics indicate that making your employees feel more welcome can increase their satisfaction and performance, which is why diversity hiring is vital.
Diverse workforces include people from different backgrounds and communities that respect each other professionally and work as a team. Creating a culture of mutual respect helps new hires integrate into the workspace. Additionally, applicants can find coworkers that share similar backgrounds as them, thus, increasing their sense of belonging.
A report shows that 42% of the candidates would turn down a job at an organization lacking diversity. Talented candidates are forward-thinking and are mostly looking for an inclusive environment and expecting better from organizations.
Therefore, although organizations have an ethical responsibility to improve diversity hiring, it’s also essential to realize how it affects talent acquisition. By failing to embrace diversity, companies may actually lose their most qualified applicants.
Looking to build your own diverse workforce? Here are some pointers.
To effectively implement diversity hiring, employers need to first determine how diverse their existing hiring practices are. This means you need to assess your current workforce and examine how diverse it is. You might need to ask tough questions like:
Conducting an honest, analytical diversity audit is key to improving your hiring practices. After understanding the current state of your workforce, you can establish clear diversity goals to work towards.
Beyond assessing your workforce, it’s also crucial to examine your organization’s policies and practices – are they inclusive? If not, it’s important to reevaluate them too.
Diversity has to be introduced organization-wide, so the commitment has to come from the top. While companies are responsible for being more inclusive, board members should also realize the structural and organizational benefits of having a diverse workforce.
For example, a study revealed that a gender-diverse workforce earns organizations 41% more revenue than a male-dominant workforce. Similarly, racially inclusive organizations have a 35% increased probability of performing better.
With about 81% of employers recognizing a possibility of unconscious bias in hiring, it’s important to actively work towards objective hiring.
Unfortunately, unconscious biases aren’t easy to filter out because, well, they’re subtle and challenging to detect. However, there are tried-and-tested practices to mitigate these prejudices, by moving towards merit-based hiring and quantitative evaluation.
To reduce unconscious bias, it’s important to implement the best practices at each stage of the recruitment process. This begins at establishing clear, objective hiring criteria; ask yourself, what hard and soft skills does the role demand? You should also consider consulting team members for advice here, because their input can help you better understand what qualities to look for.
If your organization’s diversity hiring is weak, it may be due to your sourcing efforts. By approaching talent sources that lack diversity, you’re limiting your diversity hire acquisition at its core. Thus, it’s important to evaluate your candidate sourcing and make any necessary changes.
If need be, you might want to consider expanding into talent pools with more diverse applicants, e.g. ones with more women or culturally diverse job seekers. Improving your sourcing helps expand your pool of hires and gives diversity candidates equal opportunity.
Zip Recruiter’s data scientists found that job posts with gender-neutral language get 42% more responses, making a solid case for the need to create neutral listings. An obvious way to make your job ads more gender-neutral is to avoid the use of gendered language and pronouns, but there are some considerations that many employers overlook.
For example, some research suggests that men will apply for a position even if they only meet 60% of the qualifications, whereas women only apply if they meet all of them. The takeaway here is that if you list too many requirements in the job ad, you might discourage female applicants.
You might also want to avoid using “nice to have” as they fail to communicate the role’s requirements.
Many unconscious biases creep into the screening process, and recruiters may fail to identify them. This puts you at risk of losing top talent.
By standardizing your screening processes, you can improve your diversity candidate acquisition by decreasing the opportunity for biases to influence hiring decisions. If each potential diversity hire is evaluated against clear, objective criteria with measurable results, employers can fairly and reliably vet them.
Structured interviews include a standardized set of questions that assess the applicant’s skills, educational background, and professional experience, making them strong contenders for reducing bias. The interview results rely on data gathered, leaving little room for prejudices and gut feelings.
Similarly, employers can leverage scorecards to objectively evaluate candidates’ characteristics and qualities. You can prepare the scorecard pre-interview and use it as a checklist during the screening process.
Another benefit of using quantifiable evaluation metrics is that employers gain access to data and analytics. You can reliably and accurately evaluate and compare candidates, and identify problems in diversity candidate acquisition.
Resume screening can invite unconscious biases; for example, some research revealed that U.S applicants with ‘black names’ are less likely to hear back from employers than those with traditionally white names.
It takes a recruiter only 6 seconds to scan a resume, which means unconscious biases can take effect quickly and influence hiring decisions. Thus, removing bias from resume/CV screening is crucial, and that’s where blind hiring comes in.
In blind screening, recruiters remove all of the applicant’s identification details and focus on merit-based evaluation. To reduce racial or ethnic discrimination in the recruitment process, you can also remove the candidate’s pictures and even their names. Some organizations also blackout the applicants’ age and gender.
Merit-based hiring evaluates candidates on their practical skills and qualification, reducing the chances of recruitment bias. You can leverage skill-tests to assess candidates’ problem-solving and practical skills, to reliably assess their suitability.
Additionally, skill tests can typically be evaluated using quantifiable metrics, making it easy for employers to compare applicants across measurable results. In recent years, the advancement of HR technology has made it easier for recruiters to leverage skill tests. For example, you can use a recruitment platform to conduct bulk assessment tests that are automatically evaluated across key performance metrics.
Even if you’ve successfully reduced bias from the screening process, bias in the interview stage can destroy your diversity hiring efforts. If you’re using a structured interview, the chances of bias are already reduced.
However, for the final interview, some employers prefer more flexibility than structured interviews deliver. In this case, you might want to consider a panel interview. With panel interviews, there are multiple interviewers, inviting different perspectives and reducing the chance of bias.
Additionally, appointing a panel of diverse interviewers, ranging in age, gender, and organization hierarchy, increased the quality of your diversity hiring.
Building a diverse workforce doesn’t end with optimizing hiring. After implementing the best diversity hiring practices, it’s important to evaluate post-hire data. Talent acquisition isn’t sufficient if you can’t retain diverse hires.
Post-hire data includes the hires’ performance, duration in the company, and their promotion status. Analyzing these quantities helps determine both shortcomings and successes in your diversity hiring and workplace culture. For example, if your acquisition increases diversity hires, but new employees aren’t being considered for promotions, your organization may need to reevaluate internal practices.
Unfortunately, the tech sector doesn’t have the best track record for diversity hiring. The industry is lagging behind in gender pay equity, cultural diversity, and more.
Thus, to build more diverse workforces, organizations need to do better. It’s important to evaluate hiring practices, assess your internal diversity, and work towards building an inclusive workforce.
The most effective way to reduce recruitment bias is to reward merit over unrelated characteristics by tailoring the recruitment process. This is where tech recruiting platforms like WeCP can help.
WeCP is a robust tech recruitment solution that helps organizations secure the best hires and reduce recruitment biases. Our platform contains a rich repository of role-specific questions, so employers can create custom skill tests and evaluate applicants on practical skills. WeCP assesses candidates across 12+ performance metrics and helps recruiters make data-driven hiring decisions.
To learn more about how your tech talent acquisition can be improved, schedule a demo with WeCP today.