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6 Simple Steps to Build an Inclusive Team

What’s your diversity recruiting plan look like?

It’s one of the hottest topics among talent professionals and recruiters right now.

Why? There’s a lot of reasons diversity recruiting is getting a lot of buzz. You can thank 2020 for that.

The big question is: What are you going to do about it?

If you want to hire top talent, recruit people from a diverse mix of backgrounds, and stand out as an employer that cares about the bottom line as much as employees, now is the time to develop and refine your diversity recruiting plan.

Diversity recruiting means you’re hiring the best people, without biases related to age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disabilities, or other factors.

Ready to get started? Here are six ways to build an inclusive team with diversity recruiting:

6 Steps to Build an Inclusive Team

1. Review your diversity recruiting process

If it’s already part of your policies and procedures, revisit the guidelines for diversity recruiting and evaluate your performance.

  • Have you been following the plan?
  • What are you doing well?
  • Where can you improve?
  • Does your workforce look like a diverse and inclusive group of employees?
  • If your diversity recruiting process needs work, what’s the weak link?

If you want to get an accurate picture of your diversity recruiting process, you’ve got to step back and look at your policies and procedures and your workforce. This will give you data and information about how to proceed.

2. Pick one diversity recruiting goal you can measure & improve

Once you give your diversity recruiting strategy an honest review, you might be tempted to make major changes. 

How about taking baby steps first? Instead of overhauling your entire diversity recruiting process, pick one thing you’d like to improve that you can measure, like:

  • Female employees in leadership roles
  • Percent of underrepresented employee groups
  • Ratio of older and younger employees

Pick just one thing you can measure and evaluate to improve your diversity recruiting process. Then set a date to evaluate your progress monthly and quarterly, and make adjustments as needed.

3. Improve your focus on diversity recruiting

If your diversity recruiting review shows you’re not attracting a diverse group of candidates, take steps to improve this. For example:

  • Rewrite job listings. Take a closer look at your job listings and descriptions. Aim for neutral adjectives to describe duties, responsibilities, and character traits you’re looking for (instead of masculine or dominant adjectives).

  • Align your hiring practices with your diversity recruiting goals. How? It’s pretty easy. Make sure your website, social channels, employee content resources, and even your calendars and photos on the wall represent a diverse workforce.

  • Provide work-from-home or flex-time options. You might already be doing this thanks to COVID-19 restrictions. If you’re not, consider doing it, especially if you’re located in a metropolitan area. Research suggests that flexible schedules and work from home options decrease commute times, improve employee longevity, and increase employee diversity.

  • Ask for referrals. Let your employees know you’re intentionally trying to improve diversity within your organization and ask for referrals. You may even want to create an employee referral program or update your existing one to encourage employees to give referrals.

4. Change your screening process to eliminate biases

Like it or not, we all have biases. Often unconscious biases we are not even aware of. And it can unintentionally infiltrate the hiring process. 

But you can change this to improve your diversity recruiting efforts with a couple of strategies:

  • Use a personality assessment. Lots of tools are available to help you do this. Invite potential candidates to complete the assessment, and use the results to help you select candidates to interview. It’s one way to filter out biases that might exist based on different minority groups.

  • Book “blind” interviews. Give recruiters and hiring managers access to candidate information without disclosing gender, age, race, education, address, etc. Hiring blind is another smart way to reduce biases and improve diversity recruiting.

5. Create a candidate shortlist based on your diversity recruiting strategy

When it comes down to creating a shortlist of candidates for the position you need to fill, something interesting happens. If you don’t have a diverse mix of candidates on the shortlist, someone from a minority group almost never gets the job.

For example, Harvard researchers found that when there’s only one minority candidate on the shortlist for a position, that person is hired about 0 percent of the time. However, if there are at least two minority-group members on the shortlist, the odds of making an offer that improves your employee diversity are 194 times greater.

When you narrow down your list of candidates to interview, keep this in mind.

6. Measure, evaluate & make adjustments

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to diversity recruiting. It’s different for every organization based on a lot of different factors. It’s why reviewing where you’re at to start and setting a measurable goal to improve is so important.

Once you reach a milestone of making an effort to improve your diversity recruiting practices, take time to measure and evaluate your results.

  • Have you made improvements in employee diversity?
  • How did you do on the ONE diversity recruiting goal you set?
  • What went well? Where can you improve?

When you go through this process, you’re bound to find answers to these questions and identify ways to improve. Make adjustments. Set new goals. And repeat the process. That’s how you build a diverse and inclusive team.

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