“Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”® – Verna Myers
The conversations around diversity in the workplace have evolved over the years. As our society has changed and opened up, how we talk about “diversity” as evolved too. Now in the workplace, we also talk about equity, inclusion, and belonging alongside diversity. Together, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) help create workplaces where all types of people can thrive.
To continue creating a workplace your people love, it’s important to recognise your personal limitations. As Duane La Bom, chief diversity officer at Cornerstone, puts it in an episode of the HR Labs podcast , “There are two types of diversity: The type you can see, like race, gender, age. And the type you can’t see, like nationality, religion, sexual orientation.”
Kimberlé Crenshaw, a lawyer, civil rights advocate, philosopher, and leading scholar of critical race theory, dug into the concept of personal limited viewpoints when she developed the theory of intersectionality, “a metaphor for understanding the ways that multiple forms of inequality and disadvantage sometimes compound themselves.” There’s just so much you’ll never see.
From a practitioner point of view, we must think differently to consider the invisible factors affecting DEIB in our strategy.
How recruitment is foundational to an effective DEIB strategy
To ensure your people are happy and feel they belong, DEIB must be at the core of your recruiting strategy, including candidate experience, company brand awareness, and external and internal recruitment. Then as you build your company’s culture and values, DEIB will touch every aspect of the company. A data-driven approach can guide you as you implement an effective recruitment strategy in your organisation.
“The common myth in traditional recruiting was that by using narrow education and experience requirements in the job description, your business was 'discerning,' and more likely to attract top talent,” explains Sarah Spence, Senior Solution Consultant for Cornerstone in EMEA. “Thankfully, the link between discernment and discrimination is now better understood — alongside the critical and far-reaching benefits of employing a diverse workforce. It is now up to each business to update their 'selection' processes in order to recognise the true value in their candidates.”
Spence shared the following seven takeaways to help you evolve your recruiting strategy to increase your DEIB.
1. Set goals and define what DEIB looks like in your company. Be realistic with your region and the culture around you. Ensure that you set inspirational but also achievable goals and include the whole organisation in that vision. An internal newsletter can be a very powerful tool for aligning your entire company. Also user surveys can provide you with a deep audit on what your people feel has been happening until now and where they want to see the company go in the future.
2. Embrace empathy. We all know that receiving an apology is one of the most healing experiences we can have. Every company and person should embrace the idea of being kind, apologising, and accepting failure. This is how we will be able to innovate while applauding the people who helped the organisation thrive.
3. Form diverse interview panels. This is a very efficient way to start implementing your organisations DEIB goals. Populate the panels with members from different races, ages, religions, backgrounds, etc. from all across your organisation. This will not only improve your hiring processes but also set an example and show your workers that you have a strong commitment to them and to DEIB.
4. Revisit your application workflow and job descriptions. Have people from around the company (maybe start with the people on your interview panels) apply to open positions and determine how inclusive your hiring flow is. Ask recently hired employees what could be improved and what was great. Revisit your job descriptions, keeping an eye out for biases like how we use certain words, and work with the copywriter in your organisation to make them more inclusive, relevant, and efficient.
5. Deliver ongoing DEI training. Get your Talent Acquisition (TA) team and hiring managers to take unconscious bias training. Support them if questions come up and ensure they have the right interview skills. A lot of hiring is based on potential, and unconscious bias is the enemy of potential, so we have to learn to see our own unconscious biases.
6. Create a safe space to give feedback. Having a community within your organisation where people can share how they feel is very powerful. And that extends to your applicant tracking system too. Candidates need a place to share feedback on how the process was, good or bad. And of course, if your processes are automated, your TA team will have time to debrief with managers and get into the experience during the interview. More importantly still, ensure that the feedback collected is acted upon to drive a fairer and more inclusive environment for all future applicants.
7. Know your Employer Value Proposition (EVP). Work with your marketing team and ensure you are elevating your EVP. How is your social media footprint? Check Glassdoor and Kununu regularly and respond to all feedback. Enable your CEO and leaders to show your company values online with vlogs and social posts. Add employee testimonies on your career page and blog so that you can create a newsletter for your talent pool.
If you want to learn more about improving your diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, listen to this episode of HR Labs.