When we're working on a shared mission with a diverse team and feel a shared sense of belonging and inclusion, remarkable results start to grow. Building diversity and inclusion within an organization leads to innovative ideas, enriched decision-making, and increased profitability by 20 percent or more. Why? Moving towards a shared vision with others of divergent backgrounds, strengths, and beliefs provides a more comprehensive understanding of your products and customers, and cultivates a more engaged, productive workforce.
Where to start? Diversity and knowing that we are seen and valued, inclusion, starts with the candidate experience. It's where we communicate, and show, our culture
Here are five realistic recommendations to evaluate your current hiring process and candidate experience for opportunities to build even greater belonging, shared success, and diversity across your teams.
First, define your goals and commitment to diversity and inclusion
The first step in increasing diversity and inclusion in your hiring process is clearly defining your goals and making a commitment to achieve them. This commitment should come from leadership and then be communicated throughout the organization. By making your objectives clear, you will build shared understanding, and accountability, for creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
To assess the progress of diversity and inclusion initiatives, it is important to track and measure your own diversity metrics. This can include collecting data on the demographics of applicants, candidates, and new hires, as well as monitoring retention rates among different demographic groups.
Asking the right questions of the state of your current workforce can help with setting measurable and realistic goals. Our guide on Asking Uncomfortable Questions around DEI-B is a useful resource for understanding your current workforce.
This data will help identify any gaps or areas for improvement in the hiring process and allow organizations to make informed decisions and adjustments to their diversity and inclusion strategies.
Implement, or reimagine, your structured interviewing process
Structured interviews are another process organizations can use to increase diversity and reduce bias in the hiring process. These interviews involve asking each candidate the same set of standardized questions, which are based on the job requirements and desired skills and interviewers using the same scales and scoring to evaluate potential.
Structured interviewing also provides the opportunity to communicate inclusion to candidates. Consider asking questions that explore how candidates would recognize, appreciate, and embrace the talents and skills of their team. The structured nature of the interview also provides the opportunity for interviewers to recognize and appreciate the candidate's unique perspective adding to their experience and attraction to the organization.
This approach helps minimizes biases by providing a consistent and fair evaluation framework for all candidates. Structured interviews also allow for better comparisons between candidates, ensuring that hiring decisions are based on objective criteria rather than subjective or biased evaluations.
Invest in mentorship and internship programs
Internships and mentorship programs are influential in driving diversity and showing your commitment to belonging. Internships contribute to the candidate experience by delivering an early employment experience for potential candidates. By creating opportunities for learning and growth, you attract candidates from various backgrounds, thereby enriching your talent pipeline. Ensure these opportunities are openly accessible and widely promoted to increase their reach.
Several organizations we partner with created internship programs for high school and college students for their frontline roles. This provided students with a low-stakes opportunity to explore opportunities in an industry they might not have considered. Interns were given regularly scheduled opportunities to connect with leadership and intentional ongoing feedback on their progress and performance.
Even if an intern doesn't return, imagine how many people, and potential customers, heard about the intern's positive experience?
Building opportunities for mentorship enhances the candidate experience in many ways. Mentors can serve as ambassadors; speaking and sharing with candidates. These programs also influence perceptions during the candidate's journey.
Unconscious biases can often influence the initial screening process, leading to discrimination and a lack of diversity. To counter these biases, organizations can implement screening. While this usually involves the application and assessment, our partners at career.place built a comprehensive tool that goes far beyond these initial steps. Blind reviews prevent non-job related information from influencing your decision-making. This could include frequent sources of bias like gender, and ethnicity, but also less thought about ones like educational or geographic background. By focusing solely on the qualifications and skills of the applicants, this practice helps mitigate bias and also ensures a consistent process is followed for all applicants.
Feeling that's a lot to take on? Consider blind screening for the beginning of your hiring process. For example, hiring managers could review a database of candidates without identifiable information and only job related qualities like education, experience, and assessment results.
Enhance outcomes and the candidate experience with assessments
Adopting a structured assessment methodology gives us a few wins; it elevates the candidate experience by offering a transparent, fast, and educational recruitment process (enter engaging tools like realistic job previews) while simultaneously opening the doors to a diverse range of talents who might have been overlooked in traditional hiring practices.
When well built and implemented, assessments increase candidate perceptions of fairness and opportunity to perform, while also decreasing time-to-hire. Assessments allow us to share who we are and our capabilities. They also communicate clear criteria to candidates, reducing anxiety and strengthening their overall experience. Some solutions, like the realistic job preview we mentioned, provide real-time feedback on how the job matches the candidate's expectations.
The business case for considering diversity and inclusion in your talent acquisition strategy is robust. The question isn't whether you can afford to overlook this strategy, but rather, can you afford not to?