Whether it’s recruiting methods, culture, or problems with bias, it’s time for companies to look at what they’re doing in the area of diversity and inclusion – and potentially make some significant changes. Most talent acquisition leaders have their hearts in the right place when it comes to diversity and inclusion, but in practice may be missing the mark or not doing enough. In order to improve and truly make a culture shift within our companies and our hiring efforts, we must first disassemble all the moving parts, examine them, and make changes before putting them back together. Take it down to the ground, then rebuild.
Many of us get hung up on where to begin, as D&I impacts every single area of employee governance, hiring, recruiting, onboarding, training, and overall company culture. Here, we’ll outline some actionable items to take on to get things moving in the right direction.
The First Step to Creating a More Diverse Culture
Start at the beginning, or where your company stands right now. What are the demographics of your employee population compared to the general population? What about to local offices and business locations? Using the employee data you have now, identify your areas of weakness and do it specifically. Break it down by the entire employee base, then by middle management, by lines of business or organizational structure, by upper management, and finally, by C-suite.
With the data in front of you, determine how close or far away you are from where you should be. That gap analysis is your starting point. Note that if your company is Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) compliant and has an affirmative action program, where you should be is defined for you. If you don’t have a specific diversity recruiting program in place, this is where you define your goals.
The analysis will give you the information you need to be able to align diversity and inclusion objectives with your organization’s strategic business objectives. It’s important to ensure that your company leaders and stakeholders are on the same page as you and your team with regards to diversity and inclusion and that you have executive level buy-in for your goals and objectives. This is to ensure that your work in D&I is phased and in alignment with your organization. You don’t want to sell a Mercedes when you are a Honda Accord. To be seen as a diverse company, diversity has to be genuinely woven throughout the entire organization. Otherwise, your efforts could be interpreted as hollow and ingenuine.
Projecting and Promoting a Diverse Employer Brand
For companies that don’t have a diverse workforce yet, projecting a diverse image will be challenging. A great place to start is to emphasize how your brand values community and functions much like one. It should be made apparent that your company’s culture is open to diversity and seeking new perspectives and ideas.
A few areas to focus on:
Your careers site
Are the stories and information about diverse hiring programs genuine, or are there stock photos of fake employees (worse, a stock photo of gradient shaded employee hands grasped in a circle…most of us have seen this) being used as “placeholder” materials until you have an actual diverse employee community? If so, how long have your placeholders been in place? Candidates will pick up on faux diversity, and your employees will absolutely see it, too. If you’re not where you’d like to be yet, use your careers site to advertise what you’re doing to work towards your goal. Remember that it is a tool for reaching diverse candidate communities, and a sincere statement is going to read better than a fake one.
Are your job descriptions free of bias? Do your postings encourage diverse candidates to apply? Start with the qualifications. Your job descriptions are usually the only connection you have with an employee before they apply for your job. If your job description stops them from wanting to learn more about your company because they don’t meet all of your qualifications, how are you supposed to make that connection?
Rethink the way you word your job descriptions, from years of experience to required degrees. Take a look at who performs at your company and consider the things that really matter. What makes your great employees great? Identify the qualities of the best employees at your company, then write job descriptions that match them.
Learn more about: making your job postings inclusive.
Candidate specific campaigns.
Do you have a user experience on your careers site (think dedicated landing pages) that speaks to groups such as veterans, people with disabilities, women, or POC in leadership? When developing your D&I recruitment marketing campaigns, do you have a specific group in mind? You can use programmatic advertising to target and capture the attention of diverse candidates and adjust the campaigns in real time based on the success of those targeted job postings.
Diversity-specific careers site landing pages are important because they can help you understand your talent funnel and candidate conversion ratios. This helps you and your recruiting team better forecast the candidate traffic you need from various sources and positions that are part of your diversity recruiting efforts regardless of your compliance or company-specific goals.
While you do want to think bigger and broader for the long-term, bigger and broader could be what’s stalling your D&I efforts. It’s important to pick a starting place. For example, look at your careers site and ensure that your company is sincerely represented, that your site and application process is compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG) standards, and that you tell your company’s story in a genuine way, in order to make the long-term happen.