If you’re a professional in the Talent Acquisition and Recruiting fields, you’ve most certainly heard the term Diversity a number of times, over the course of the past few years. What you might be wondering about is how to create a more Diverse workplace.
If you're aware of the reasons why it’s important for your business to embrace Diversity and you're ready to get to work, then you’re in the right place.
What can you hope for, while pouring yourself into efforts aimed at creating a more Diverse workplace?
A Diverse workplace is an environment where professionals with different backgrounds, from different walks of life, and with different types of abilities join forces. It’s a workplace in which every employee feels free to bring their whole selves to work - which, in turn, allows them to innovate, and blossom.
It’s important to remember how Diversity has different dimensions. In her book “How to Be an Inclusive Leader”, Jennifer Brown talks about the Diversity iceberg. The visible part of Diversity cannot compare to the width and depth of invisible Diversity. The former includes someone’s voice, appearance, physical traits, accent, and spoken languages. The latter, includes work ethic, age, gender, race, values and beliefs, sexual orientation, Diverse abilities, and much more.
Now, it all starts with hiring. Very well, then. But how does one get around it
It begins with looking fearlessly at your hiring process, and fixing it wherever necessary. We hope the following advice can spark change in your organization and lead you down the path to a more inclusive process. Also, remember to be patient throughout your undertaking. Such changes don’t bear fruits overnight.
Before we even start to take a look at your hiring process, here’s a reminder to ask for help when you’re in need. For instance, if you’re trying to hire more neurodiverse talent, you can team up with your country's government or with nonprofit organizations that’ll make up for the expertise you lack. They could suggest neurodiverse candidates and help you throughout the process.
Sourcing is the first step - where are you looking for candidates, as of now?
What type of job applicants do you need for the job vacancy you’re trying to fill? And where do you think that talent might be?
If you use the same platform you’ve always used, you might get the same talent you’ve always gotten. But it doesn’t stop there - you should also think of passive candidates. ProjectInclude.Org advises exploring nontraditional sources such as bootcamps and community colleges. As reported by Frances Frei and Anne Morriss in their book "Unleashed", Duolingo is refusing to recruit at universities where fewer than 18 percent of women are represented in computer science programs - 18% being the national average.
Why not consider helping colleges and high schools set up nontraditional “work experience” programs?
Your job description will often be your first point of contact with your applicant. While you prepare the vacancy post, make sure that the wording is welcoming and inclusive. If you don’t pay enough attention, it’s easy to slip in words that will push some of your candidates away.
For instance, terms like “ninja”, “rockstar” or “wizard” are more masculine, and they could alienate your potential female applicants. The same rule applies to making sure that your language is not too female-oriented either, or else you'll end up distancing applicants with alternative backgrounds.
You could run your job description through tools like textio.com, to make sure that the wording you’re using is neutral.
Other than ensuring that the language you use is welcoming, it’s also important for your job vacancy posting to be exhaustive - and honest. Add all the possible details concerning the role, the company, as well as the benefits. You don’t want your candidates to be surprised once they start working with you.
Now, there are other ways to make sure that you'll get noticed. You could speak at (remote) events, for one.
Naturally, Diversity in itself isn’t sufficient if it isn’t accompanied by Equity and Inclusion.
It’s fundamental for you to take full advantage of relationship-building and word-of-mouth. It goes without saying, but this means that to get more Diverse talent over time you must treat your current employees in an inclusive manner, too. A happy employee can become an advocate over time. Creating paths for employees with different backgrounds will make your business a more attractive environment for Diverse talent.
If you do reach out to a candidate, give it a personal touch - don’t make them feel like numbers you need in order to respect the Diversity quota.
Remember that an odd resume might make you think of inconsistency, lack of focus, or unpredictability, but it could also signal a committed struggle against obstacles. For that reason, it’s good practice to keep in mind someone’s distance traveled, as mentioned on ProjectInclude.Org.
If you haven’t heard of Post-Traumatic Growth, it's a phenomenon that sees people who have faced tragic obstacles developing abilities similar to superpowers.
As explained by Regina Hartley in her TED Talk, when facing two candidates, both qualified, and one of them clearly had it tougher than the other, making a bet on the underdog can be highly rewarding.
When it comes to assessments, you might want to consider giving your candidates take-at-home tests without deadlines, then ask them to explain their reasoning to you. This practice takes into consideration the fact that we all have different working styles and allows you to focus more on your potential employees’ skills and their problem-solving abilities.
Once you start interviewing, make it a point to share all relevant information with them. Surprises could be annoying for some of your applicants, and incredibly stressful for others. What should they expect when it comes to the interview structure? Who will interview them, and what’s expected of them? Imagine how much this could benefit someone who suffers from test anxiety.
The setting and structure of the interview itself are crucial. For instance, interviewing through a speakerphone could put people on the autism spectrum at a disadvantage, as they can have issues with auditory processing. Furthermore, you should provide candidates with a skills-based interview. You should ask direct questions - and expect direct answers.
More useful reminders?
If the candidate asks you to repeat yourself, don’t get upset. Don't focus on getting the candidate that you think you want - get the one you need.
Naturally, something to also always keep in mind is to keep your bias in check. Bias is inevitable, but once you pay attention to it, you can avoid acting on it - unintentional bias in an interview setting could have to do with language and appearance.
Do your best to be fair when selecting talent. For instance, it’d be unwise to rate candidates on their interpersonal communications skills, unless it is an essential function of the job. And when you’re ready to make an offer, make one that doesn’t require negotiation.
In this article, we shared ideas and tools to help you create a more Diverse workplace.
First of all, we advise you to team up with the government or nonprofit organizations to make up for your lack of expertise.
When it’s time to source new candidates there are quite a few things you’ll want to remember: for instance, you might want to explore nontraditional sources. You also need to make sure that your vacancy post is welcoming and inclusive, exhaustive, and honest. To make sure you get noticed, you should consider speaking at virtual events, and if you reach out to candidates, don't forget to give your messages a personal touch.
Furthermore, never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth: to get more Diverse talent over time, you must treat your current employees properly, by prioritizing Equity and Inclusion.
When you're selecting resumés, give a fair shot to people with a different path and keep someone’s distance traveled into consideration. In other words, you shouldn’t consider achievements alone, but someone’s background too.
Assessing candidates? Try to do so with take-at-home tests without deadlines, and make sure that they know what to expect throughout the hiring process. It's best not to interview through a speakerphone when possible, and to have your interaction revolve around skills. You should be direct and expect the same, without getting upset if you’re asked to repeat yourself, and keeping your focus on the candidate you truly need, not the one that you think you’d want. Throughout the process, be mindful of your bias so as not to act on it.
What about when it’s time to make an offer? Make sure that it doesn’t require negotiation.