Businesses often pay a great deal of lip service in their pursuit of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. But despite this, overall statistics continue to demonstrate low figures. Women and ethnic minorities will represent in 47 and 40 percent of the workforce respectively in 2022. But businesses continue to underrepresent these groups despite a reported commitment to diversity and inclusion. Why is this so? Primarily because hiring for diversity and inclusion can be more challenging than it appears.
4 Must-Do Tasks for Diversity and Inclusion Before You Hire
- Know What Diversity Is – How do you define diversity and inclusion? Does it involve only gender and ethnicity in the workplace or something more? It can involve a broad range of characteristics and experiences. Other facets like age, education, economics, sexual orientation, and philosophies may be important. Before you hire, know how your business defines it.
- Know Your Company’s Diversity and Inclusion Profile – It doesn’t exist unless you measure it! In order to gauge your efforts, you must first know where your company’s diversity and inclusion stands from the start. Tracking these statistics allows refinements and improvements in your efforts toward an inclusive workplace. Also, use stats to help attract diverse talent by showing your commitment to diversity and inclusion.
- Know the Diverse Skillsets Your Business Needs – Too often, businesses hire for short-term needs without considering the big picture. Identify your business’ long-range vision and the diverse array of skill sets needed for market success. This task will help you pursue diversity and inclusion by expanding your vision of the company’s growth over time.
- Know Your Business’ Biases – Biases are everywhere, and these are the most common barriers to diversity and inclusion. Conduct a “bias audit” of your business using a collaborative team approach. Identify areas where biases may be interfering with new hires. By highlighting these biases and adopting greater transparency, your business will be able to achieve a more inclusive workplace.
Best Practices for Hiring Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
- Develop Standardized Questions and Evaluations – While questions and evaluations are selected wisely, standardization helps achieve greater diversity and inclusion. Once skillsets are known, the objective and unbiased questions can be used to provide all applicants with equal opportunity.
- Consider Blinded Evaluations – Many biases are hidden and unconscious. One way to achieve greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace is to “blind” the interview process. Names and photographs might be removed from applicant materials. Assessments might be performed at home rather than at the firm. By reducing the chance for bias, diversity and inclusion have a better opportunity to thrive.
- Use a Diverse Interviewing Team – Just as it can help your business, having a variety of different interviewers can also help. In addition, this interview approach can showcase your commitment to applicants.
- Critique Your Language and Communications – Believe it or not, the language you use during the hiring process can undermine diversity and inclusion. Companies like Textio will review language used in job descriptions and other communications to enhance your hiring process. Examining both written and verbal communications is thus important when it comes to hiring.
- Broaden Networks and Pipelines – Don’t let your business get in a hiring rut. Expand your search for talent in unusual places. Alternative educational institutions, community events, and minority business are just a few considerations in this regard. It stands to reason that diversity and inclusion in the workplace developed by seeking talent from non-traditional sources.
- Seek Reasons for Inclusion, Not Exclusion – Many hiring interviews often look for “red flags” that exclude a candidate for hire. Businesses should practice the opposite. Be flexible in your judgments and seek reasons for inclusion rather than exclusion. An applicant’s journey is often more valuable than specific success criteria. You will discover a diverse talent.
Removing Barriers to Diversity and Inclusion
For many companies, existing barriers in achieving diversity in the workplace pose significant challenges. Biases, habits, resistance to change, and a narrow focus all contribute to barriers. Business must be proactive in addressing these issues if they truly want to be a diverse and inclusive workplace. With this in mind, firms can take specific steps to remove barriers and embrace hiring strategies. With a committed, organized approach, businesses can attain true diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
John R. Miles
EVP & Associate Publisher
John R. Miles is Executive Vice President of Business Development and Associate Publisher of Bold Business. He is a sought-after motivational speaker and writer. He brings visionary leadership style and talent as a Navy Veteran and an internationally experienced CEO, COO, and Fortune 50 CIO across a multitude of industries. Miles is also an operating partner at the Virgo Investment Group where he is responsible for identifying and pursuing new investments while supporting existing portfolio companies with operational expertise. He is active on Linkedin and Twitter and published in a variety of media. Miles graduated with honors from the U.S. Naval Academy where he was a varsity athlete.