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6 Proactive Strategies to Recruit a More Diverse Workforce

diverse workforce

If you don’t think diversity matters to candidates in 2021, you simply haven’t been paying attention. In 2018, 64% of a nationwide poll audience stated that diversity and inclusion are essential to their decision-making process when looking at taking a new job. Now, as we approach the end of 2021, new data shows that diversity, equality, and inclusion matter more now than ever in the past. Why does diversity matter to your business? How can you attract more talent in a job market as tight as it is today? 

The State of Diversity and Your Workplace 

Diversity as an issue at work has perhaps never been as prevalent during the COVID crisis. The summer protests brought our conversations around to the issue again and again. Today, we know that companies large and small consider diversity in their hiring methodology to be a best practice: 

  • One survey showed 93% of the c-suite think that diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives are significant.  

Diversity remains highly important and will continue to be well past 2021. From a business perspective, the rewards are myriad: 

  • Harvard Business Review reports employees are 42% less likely to switch jobs if the workforce is diverse enough to allow bringing “their whole selves to work.” 
  • Boston Consulting Group found companies with a diverse set of management teams generate 19% more annual revenue than those that don’t. 

The Society for Diversity reports there are several initiatives that we’re seeing in companies today that show the longevity of D&I in recruiting: 

  • Diversity is increasingly being adopted as a business model. Instead of just being a necessity for compliance reasons, most forward-thinking companies are shifting their thinking to creating an infrastructure around D&I. Consider this the new normal. 
  • Diversity is moving beyond the obvious race and gender to embrace a more multigenerational workforce. The primary workforce is aging and being replaced by millennials, so we’re seeing even up to four or five generations working elbow-to-elbow in the workplace. This may necessitate some upskilling to level up all the employees for your current tools and systems. But the effort is always worth it. 
  • Gender identity is the newest issue affecting D&I initiatives, and it’s a big one today. How a person sees themselves and their personal experiences within one or more genders, is something that companies are making room for within their recruiting efforts. At this time, we have more cultural awareness of the difficulties inherent in living lives as transgender. Companies that retool their HR practices to embrace more gender-neutral options during the hiring process will win in the long run. 

We know that three in five American workers have seen or experienced discrimination in the workplace based on age, gender, or race. We also know that the majority of workers in this country are highly concerned about this issue and even base their selection of a job on what they perceive to be a company’s commitment to D&I. This leaves companies with one choice in today’s hot job market: Find a way to build diversity into the business so that finding top talent is a little easier.  

Six Proactive Ways to Recruit a Diverse Workforce 

In today’s candidate-centric job market, most recruiters would likely say they’re happy to find any candidate, let alone one that ticks a D&I hiring box on an HR form. But we know the value of D&I to any company; it’s good for business. So, how can you find, recruit, and hire a more diverse workforce? Here are six ways to be more proactive and more successful in your diversity recruiting. 

1. Start with sourcing. 

These days, sourcing candidates is primarily a proactive set of tasks. We are on the hunt for top talent, and most of us find it to be a scarce resource, particularly in certain fields like healthcare or IT. Almost every job search today starts with the advertisement for the role. That’s where things can start to go south from a diversity perspective. We recommend auditing your ads to make them more attractive to a wider audience of candidates. Here are some tips to consider: 

  • Looking back on prior ads, do you see evidence of hidden biases that reflect a certain gender? Words can be gender-coded: “Aggressive,” and “dominate,” tend to be read as masculine.  
  • When creating your new ads, talk with departmental hiring managers to ask them what they really need from candidates. Will equivalent experience work just as well as a BA? 
  • What if the candidate has a slight misdemeanor or even something more serious on their permanent record—but paid their debt to society?  
  • Do your ads have an EOE (equal opportunity employer) statement?  

Check your language, check your ads, and create a neutral job description that is careful not to close the door on top talent accidentally. Then, target sources where your talent pool is more diverse. 

2. Recognize all of the layers of a diverse workforce. 

Hiring a diverse workforce starts with recognition of all the layers that make up a diverse work environment. There are at least seven key areas of diversity to focus your attention on: 

  1. Culture, ethnicity, and race. 
  1. Disability. 
  1. Religion and spiritual beliefs. 
  1. Gender and transgender. 
  1. Generational/age. 
  1. Sexual orientation and identity. 

You can also incorporate areas of diversity in education and experience or other categories. Once you have your diversity target areas, you can begin to search for pools of these candidates.  

3. Develop and promote your diversity-driven brand. 

If your recruiting effort is part of an overall diversity initiative, talk about it. Use social media to promote your acceptance and embrace of diversity as a part of your culture. Create an employer brand that shows you celebrate people from all parts of life. Sell the diverse, rich, and powerful culture that you’re trying to build. Encourage your employees to look for candidates more like themselves. Listen to your workforce and build the kind of company that benefits everyone. 

4. Eliminate unconscious bias. 

To eliminate any unconscious biases affecting your hiring process, start by defining your diversity goals. Are their ages, ethnicities, genders, and sexual preference classes that are underrepresented in your organization? Recognize the organization’s biases in hiring by analyzing the entire process for flaws and areas to improve. Then create a collective organizational effort to include representative groups into your hiring process. Make sure your interviews include a diverse panel of the workforce. Create a structured unbiased interview process that hires based on skills alone. 

5. Create company policies and procedures that support a diverse set of candidates. 

Management teams should reach out to their employees to see what policies matter most to them. Do they think certain policies inhibit diversity? Create a culture where diversity is discussed within the context of corporate policies that could serve to attract more candidates from a wider demographic pool. For example: 

  • The data shows that women struggled more during COVID with childcare issues. You probably will attract more female candidates if you allow more flex time to accommodate these issues.  
  • Increase your family leave time to attract more parents with children.  
  • Remote work attracts all kinds of candidates.  
  • Add more religious holidays to your PTO policies.  
  • Set up your office for inclusivity with non-gender bathrooms. 

6. Use job boards that target a more diverse demographic. 

 Moving beyond LinkedIn and Indeed will help you reach a more diverse candidate base. Here are some suggestions on sites to place your ads: 

  • AARP has a job board for older candidates. 
  • OutProNet is a diversity-based jobs board. 
  • Hire Autism is a jobs board for those on the autistic spectrum. 
  • Recruit Disability is a jobs board for people with disabilities. 
  • 70 Million Jobs is a jobs board for ex-offenders and those with criminal records. 
  • Pink Jobs is a jobs board for LGBTQ+ people. 
  • TJobBank is a jobs board for transgender people. 

Communication, accountability, and follow-through are all good models to employ in addition to your proactive efforts to recruit a more diverse workforce. You can keep the lines of communication flowing by “putting your money where your mouth is” and inviting employee-led tasks forces to help guide your business.  

Connect with Method Recruiting to Meet Your Hiring Goals 

Method Recruiting is committed to a diverse workforce. Our marketing recruiting agency helps organizations staff up to help their growth marketing efforts. We offer digital marketing jobs, analytics careers, and more, to help unite candidates and business owners in a more inclusive workforce. Talk with our team. We can help you meet your hiring goals. 

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