Eight easy ways to ensure diversity recruiting in your organisation

Diverse recruitment panel

Tiwonge Chipeta is a Diversity and Inclusion consultant for EW Group, who has worked across all sectors in four continents in building rapport with diverse cultures.

Thankfully, you came to the right place. EW Group has almost 30 years of experience in managing diversity recruiting programmes and building inclusive cultures – and we’re here to help.

By explaining what diversity recruiting means, why it benefits your organisation, and how you can achieve it, this piece will guide you through the process of becoming a recruiter of diverse talent, and hopefully leave you a little less confused when it comes to creating a successful diversity recruiting program.

A quick diversity recruitment definition

Although it may sound a little daunting, at its heart diversity recruiting really couldn’t be simpler; all it means is the creation of an organisation that values diversity, not just of people, but of beliefs, faiths, opinions, and perspectives.

Generally speaking, there are two types of diversity: inherent diversity, and acquired diversity. Inherent diversity is just what it sounds like – a variety of people with different innate traits or characteristics, from race, to gender, to sexual orientation.

Acquired diversity is slightly different, and generally refers to our lived experiences– for example, one person may have worked in engineering abroad, while their co-worker has domestic sales experience, this means that both of these employees will have differing perspectives and mindsets, and very different ways of working!

This is no bad thing however, and actually demonstrates how important diversity is in all its forms. Having co-workers with different mindsets and cultural experiences means they approach problems from different perspectives, and find solutions that less diverse workforces don’t.

Diversity recruiting and you – how it helps your organisation

Many people think of diversity as being something ‘done or told to’ them, rather than what it really is – a fantastic opportunity to improve office efficiency, secure the best candidates, and achieve a more profitable and sustainable organisation overall.

As mentioned previously, a more diverse team makes for better problem-solving thanks to differing perspectives – but that’s not all. By contrasting varied viewpoints and experiences, more diverse teams are far more creative than homogenous ones, and tend to be more profitable as a result.

Perhaps most importantly, diversity recruiting guarantees not just the widest variety of staff, but also the best possible choice of candidates. In fact, diversity of employees, especially at higher levels, is one of the best possible indicators of both long-term growth and overall innovation, with more diverse management teams tending to far outperform less-diverse competitors.

In fact, a recent report suggests that the gap between organisations with a clear diversity recruitment strategy and those without is widening year-on-year, leaving many at risk of being left behind in a rapidly changing world. At the end of the day, the real question about becoming a diverse recruiter isn’t why you should become one, but why you aren’t you doing this already?

Diversity recruitment training – where to start and how to thrive

Now that we’ve covered what diversity recruiting is, and how it benefits you, now comes the most important part – the steps you can take to become a diverse recruiter. We’ve come up with eight simple tips and tricks to get you ready for diversity recruiting.

1. Setting goals and establishing metrics for success

One of the first things any diverse recruiter needs to establish is what success looks like for you. Are you aiming for gender diversity in management? Or looking to recruit more Black, Asian and minority ethnic candidates throughout your organisation? There is no “one size fits all” and we have to remember the importance of adopting an intersectional lens when hiring. Whatever your goals, they need to be realistic, long-term, and built around your company values.

This is where EW Group comes in. We offer diversity audits tailored to your organisation, to help you identify diversity recruiting issues, and plan realistic targets to enact real change. Establishing goals is vital to becoming a diverse recruiter, and EW’s audits can help your organisation be the best it can be.

2. From Unconscious Bias to Conscious Inclusion

Now that you know where you want to improve, the next step is how.

As always, it’s best to start with the basics, and that’s where unconscious bias comes in. One of the problems you’re likely facing is not knowing what you need to change, or why you might be struggling to recruit diverse candidates. Unconscious bias contributes to a lack of institutional diversity, and can work to prevent change – which is why addressing it should be one of your first priorities. As humans we are creatures of comfort and habit and therefore tend to hire in our likeness.

This is especially important considering the colossal cost of unconscious bias for any organisation. Unfortunately, there’s no easy solution, which is why EW offers personalised anti-bias training, designed specifically for your organisation. Whether you want to ensure that management is as diverse as possible, or if you’re even looking for wider organisational change, EW Group is here to help.

3. Broadening your talent pool

One of the biggest challenges facing many organisations isn’t necessarily a refusal to hire more staff – it’s about struggling to find diverse candidates. Many employers stick with tried-and-tested methods of finding new employees, but if you’re struggling to come up with diverse candidates, the problem might be where you’re looking.

Everything from posting applications to different job boards than usual, to seeking out dedicated message boards for minority groups, or even organising exclusive open days can be a huge advantage for diversity recruiting. Even job descriptions matter – exclusive language (even if unintentional) can actually drive away potential employees, which is why addressing unconscious bias is a vital starting point for any organisation.

4. Starting fresh with equal opportunities

When it comes to diversity recruiting, it’s best to take a step back, and look at your process as a whole. There are a huge number of potential options for improving diversity recruiting, including accepting ‘blind CVs’. These applications, stripped of personal identification and status indicators, allow you to take a much more unbiased, and critical approach to reviewing candidates.

While this is not a new concept, recent software developments allow complete anonymisation of your candidates, preventing unconscious bias from impinging on the hiring process. This is no pipe dream either; according to Forbes, accepting blind CVs can improve the number of women and minority candidates for positions by up to 40%.

5. Making interviews accessible

Now that you’re receiving applications from a diverse range of candidates, and are able to screen them impartially, it’s time to look at the next step – the interview. It’s important to remember that this can be a real pitfall for diversity – for example, for those with mobility difficulties, an in-person interview might not be feasible, making remote interviews preferable.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the only way interviews can prove inaccessible. Can all of your candidates afford high-quality Wi-Fi? Or even a laptop with a camera? If not, could you conduct the interview over the phone? Keeping interviews accessible means looking at your process from your ideal candidate’s perspective. This might mean keeping a wide range of potential interview times or dates open, as well as making sure that your candidate knows exactly what’s expected of them, and when, minimising potential miscommunications or confusion.

6. Preparing interview panels for success

Interviews might seem like a fairly simple way of screening candidates neutrally – unfortunately, unconscious bias can severely affect the interview process. We often make our unconscious decisions of candidates before they’ve even sat down in front of us! In fact, without unconscious bias training and targeted interview training, even the most well-intentioned interviewers can be prone to letting their biases impact decision-making.

Aside from this training, there are many ways to address potentially non-inclusive interview processes. Consider ensuring a diverse panel of interviewers, incorporating people not just from across your organisation, but from varied backgrounds, beliefs, and experiences. Even more importantly, building a standardised interview process, with set questions, a clear scoring system, and assigned roles for each interviewer can help prevent unconscious bias from choosing your candidate for you.[

7. Listening, hearing, and networking

Many employers struggle to find ways of implementing diversity recruiting programs, one of the simplest approaches is often completely ignored. Office communication is always important, but when it comes to diversity recruiting, it’s paramount.

Encouraging minority employees to voice their concerns, or even better, instituting an anonymous suggestions box, means that you can find out easily what matters most to your minority colleagues, and what you could be doing better. Similarly, networking events dedicated to and run by minority colleagues can provide a great space for discussion, as well as encouraging diverse candidates to apply to an organisation that both respects and reflects them.

8. Building long-term diversity

At the end of the day, if you’ve followed all these steps and are still coming up short, there is another option. Sometimes, it’s not enough to focus on just hiring diversity; you need to be able to maintain it. Building an inclusive office culture, or organising all-staff anti-bias training can help create an environment where minority colleagues feel valued and part of the team.

This won’t just encourage staff retention, but helps create a virtuous circle; if your minority employees feel comfortable and respected at work, they’re far more likely to encourage friends or acquaintances from diverse backgrounds to apply. On top of that, diversity in the workplace tends to make everyone, not just underrepresented staff, happier, smarter, and more efficient.

Diversity recruiting – taking the next steps

Hopefully, this guide has helped you start planning your next steps to achieving a more diverse, more productive office. However, you might find that even after reading through all this, you still have questions.

This is completely understandable as thinking about diversity recruiting can be a long-term project, and one which most people struggle to achieve alone.

That’s why EW Group is here, to coach you through every stage of building diversity in your organisation, in the way that suits you best. From our diversity audits, to our specialised inclusive recruitment course, we know how difficult instituting diversity can be, and we’re here to help.

Not sure where to start? Contact us today and find out how we can design diversity and inclusion training to fit your exact needs. But if it’s just our diversity recruiting programs that caught your eye, look no further; help is at hand.

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