How to Diversify Your Workforce – Part I

By Denise Gatti – Senior Consultant, The HR Source

Attract Diverse Talent

Your company has made a commitment to increase diversity in hiring.  Now what?  The old adage applies here – it won’t work to use the same methods, hoping to get different results.  Applying new and different approaches to attracting talent from traditionally underrepresented groups can generate a broader representation of candidates.

Recruitment is a 2-way street, beginning with attracting candidates who add value culturally.  70% of ALL jobseekers say that a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is important, especially for millennials who are the most diverse generation in U.S. History.  Your company website is usually the first place prospective candidates look. What are they looking for?

  • A statement of commitment to diversity with evidence of actions to support the statement.  Being transparent about current state vs. goals scores big.  Companies have seen significant increases in the diversity of their candidate pool just by showing current real numbers and commitment to specific goals for improvement.
  • The visible mix of your Leadership team sends a strong message, and unfortunately that’s something you can’t change overnight if the group appears to lack diversity.  This does present a perfect opportunity to admit “we’re not perfect, but here’s what we’re doing to change”.
  • Is diversity part of the Company values?  Prospective applicants want to know that the value that their experiences and perspectives bring will be encouraged and valued.
  • “Will I fit in, belong and feel valued?”.  Evidence of employees who look, act, and sound like them is crucial.  Using stock or contrived photos are too obvious so keep it real and honest.  Showcasing diversity committees, Employee Resource Groups, involvement in community events and causes, and recognizing different cultures all provide positive impressions of your company.
  • Job descriptions should be written to include rather than exclude.  Carefully review job descriptions to remove words that are traditionally associated with a particular gender or group of people.  Stating that you are looking for a ‘superman who could leap over tall obstacles and use laser focused vision to solve problems’ could sound creative and clever to you, but it discourages a wide range of talented people.   Is everything included truly a requirement, as in would you NEVER hire someone without X?  GPAs do not correlate to performance on the job, and specific years of experience can vary greatly depending on company size, role, etc.  Focus instead on the skills that are required for success on the job.

It is tough to assess how you stack up if the same eyes that developed your external messaging and job descriptions are trying to evaluate it.   You need a wider and broader perspective that includes those you are trying to attract to see what you might be missing.  The HR Source can provide HR expertise and consultation for all your staffing needs.

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