Diversity is defined as “the condition of having or being composed of differing elements; variety; the inclusion of people of different races, cultures, etc. in a group or organization” by Merriam-Webster. While all of us would conclude that promoting diversity and inclusion in recruitment is a positive thing, precious few organizations seem to achieve it, particularly at higher levels of an organization. A 2020 study published by Stanford University found, “Racially diverse executives hold only 16 percent of total C-suite positions. … Twenty-six of the Fortune 100 have no ethnic diversity at the C+1 level, and 6 have no ethnic or gender diversity at this level.”
Diversity in recruitment and selection matters for multiple reasons, some of which we will discuss in further detail below. In this article, we will explain how Austin-area recruiters play an essential role in promoting diversity and inclusion, as well as how Momentum Search Partners can help you implement your diversity and inclusion hiring strategy.
What is diversity recruiting?
According to the recruitment company Robert Walters Group, the vast majority of companies are committed to diversity and inclusion in recruitment with 85 percent saying “that increasing diversity in their workforce is a priority.” However, 46 percent lack programs that would reach out to the very people they want to hire. Doubtless there are many reasons for this lack of follow through, but one of the most basic might be simple ignorance: Companies may not understand what diversity recruiting is.
Examples abound of diversity recruitment plan templates that both fail to understand the nature of diversity recruiting and that also poor efforts to implement it have introduced varying forms of discrimination. For instance, implementing “colorblindness” when trying to introduce diversity and inclusion in recruitment processes can tacitly deny some individuals’ unique experiences. Intentionally selecting hires based on different diversity characteristics may cause employers to inadvertently run into legal trouble. And tying equity diversity and inclusion in recruitment, hiring, and retention to some ineffable idea of company fit may accidentally provide personnel a way to shield their innate biases and unhelpful presuppositions.
Knowing the nature of diversity recruiting can help avoid these problems. Diversity and inclusion in recruitment and selection is a simple concept on its face. It holds that your company’s demographics should reflect those of the surrounding society. However, this has much less to do with counting heads and filling quotas than it does with establishing a certain company culture. Equality, diversity, and inclusion in recruitment isn’t just the job of HR; everyone in the organization needs to buy in to the worldview.
Why is a diversity recruiting strategy important?
Managers and decision makers across industries understand that diversity matters, but when pressed, many couldn’t articulate why diversity hiring is important. There are plenty of good reasons for why diversity, equity and inclusion in recruitment should become a part of your company’s culture, including high-minded abstract terms such as justice, inclusiveness, equity, and equality. However, there are other reasons beyond simply “doing the right thing.” Diverse companies tend to perform better than homogeneous organizations across every metric.
One great problem with homogeneous businesses is something that management gurus liked to call the echo chamber. When people look the same, act them same, and have the same backgrounds and experiences, they tend to think the same. Meetings intended to foment rigorous examination and facilitate important decision making instead become times when employees simply repeat similar suppositions to one another. While this may make people feel good, it doesn’t facilitate strategic reasoning or allow for the introduction of forward-thinking ideas. Diversity helps to address that, allowing for the dissemination of different perspectives and the broadening of mental horizons. In addition to bolstering innovation, it also provides a much-needed buffer against confirmation bias.
There’s an additional reason why diversity is important, and it should thrill stakeholders: Diverse companies tend to make more money and are better able to keep their employees. Consulting firm McKinsey & Company noted, “Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.” Nonprofit Catalyst found that “companies with higher levels of gender diversity and with HR policies and practices that focus on gender diversity are linked to lower levels of employee turnover. … An inclusive environment is especially important for employees of color. Fifty to sixty-nine percent of professional Canadians of color who anticipate or consciously prepare for potential bias report a high intent to leave their jobs.”
Building a culture of diversity and inclusion in recruitment
If diversity is such an important element of a company culture, no wonder HR personnel wonder how to improve diversity and inclusion in recruitment. Fortunately, doing so isn’t a mystery. If you’re wondering how to ensure diversity and inclusion in recruitment, consider the following steps you can take to build a diversity-focused culture:
- Ensure your hiring efforts target diverse audiences. The best way to draw in diverse candidates is to ensure that your hiring efforts appear in the places they’re at. Review your recruitment efforts.
- Tap existing employees’ networks. Hopefully your company has already made some diverse hires. Ask them to leverage their networks for potential candidates when a position becomes open.
- Target multiple diverse candidates in your shortlist interviews. If you’ve come to your final few candidates and only one represents a potential diverse hire, it’s far less statistically likely that you’ll bring the diverse individual onboard. But if you intentionally include multiple diverse candidates in that shortlist, you dramatically increase the chance that you’ll make a diverse hire.
- Create a diversity-friendly company brand. Since a brand includes everything that a company does, this isn’t a step that you can immediately take. However, discipline and focus can send a message to the candidates you want that your business is the ideal place for them.
Measure the success of your initiatives
Intending to implement diversity and inclusion in recruitment policy is all well and good, but intentions alone won’t secure for you the outcomes you want. That requires setting standards and figuring out how to concretely measure diversity, equity, and inclusion in recruitment. Determining what those measurements will look like will vary from organization to organization. However, below you will find some questions you can ask that will help quantify your company’s diversity goals and outcomes:
- What kind of diversity does your organization need (e.g., racial, gender, sexual orientation)?
- What is the diversity composition of your overall organization?
- Are there any departments or divisions lacking in diversity?
- Are the compositions of your entry-level, mid-level, and C-suite level departments equally diverse?
- What messaging is marketing using, and who is responding to it? Are the respondents the diverse candidates you desire?
- What do current employees think about diversity? Do your diversity efforts have the support of management?
- Are you continuing to measure your metrics and stated goals even after it appears as though you’ve achieved them? Is your company remaining diverse over time?
Based in Austin, Texas, the legal-recruiting firm of Momentum Search Partners provides the highest level of attention and expertise when it comes to helping your firm make diverse hires. Contact us today!