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How to Increase Diversity Representation in Your Hiring Process

Whether you are establishing your company’s first diversity recruitment plan or looking for ways to bring in more talent from specific historically-underserved communities, you need to have a hiring process in place that facilitates these goals. Increasing the diversity representation in your hiring process is a must no matter what your goals are because the more people from different backgrounds involved in the hiring process, the more likely it is that diversity recruiting efforts will be successful. If you want to know how to increase diversity representation in your hiring process, the following strategies can help.

1. Get a Buy-In From Leadership 

A truly successful diversity recruitment plan needs to have the organization’s leadership behind it. Commitment to diversity starts from the top, so if there’s no executive commitment, the plan probably won’t be successful. When leaders in your company make diversity and inclusion a priority, they are likely to set an example for all employees to follow, as well as commit funding to diversity recruiting strategies. However, if you don’t already have that DEI investment from leadership, you may need to make a case by telling executives why diversity is so important for an organization to be healthy and strong—from finances to productivity to overall reputation in the community. With this buy-in from leadership, a company can keep diversity and inclusion top of mind.

2. Increase Diversity in Management Teams

True diversity in an organization must start at the top. When there are diverse management teams, there are diverse voices at the table making decisions that impact workers from underserved groups. Having a diverse management team can also attract and retain more talent because when prospective and current employees see someone from their background in a position of power, it makes them confident that the company is a place where they can advance and grow in their careers.

3. Provide Unconscious Bias Training to Everyone

Chances are, no one in your organization is intentionally trying to be biased toward workers from underrepresented backgrounds. But when it comes to unconscious bias in hiring, people just aren't aware that their ideas about diverse communities are affecting their decisions and behaviors. That's what makes unconscious bias training for everyone in an organization so important because the beliefs people hold in their subconscious can be a driving force behind how they treat those from underrepresented groups. This can sabotage any efforts toward diversity recruitment, as well as building an inclusive work environment that makes everyone hired feel welcome and able to thrive.

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4. Establish More Diverse Hiring Teams

The more diversity there is in hiring teams, the more likely it is that diversity recruitment goals will be achieved. When there are people from diverse backgrounds on hiring teams, they act as advocates for candidates who share their same cultures and experiences, and can use their influence to hire more untapped talent. Also, when candidates see people who share their backgrounds already working in an organization, it relieves concerns about a company not being the right place for people like them.

5. Review Employment Policies

The policies a company has can either enhance diversity and inclusion or derail these efforts. In addition to ensuring that organizations don't open themselves up to liability, it's important to establish policies that create a culture where DEI is valued. From flexible time off to gender affirming health care to equal opportunities for professional development, the policies in place should represent the experience of all groups of employees at a company.

6. Get Input From Company ERGs

Employee resource groups, or ERGs, are groups in an organization where employees from specific underserved backgrounds can get together to bond with each other, discuss their concerns about the workplace, and collaborate with management to find solutions to their problems. And if one of the problems your company faces is hiring workers from diverse groups, getting the input of ERGs can be invaluable toward tackling this issue. These are the people who know what those in their community want most from the workplace, so discuss recruitment plans with members and allow them to offer opinions on how to attract talent.

7. Create a Referral Program

Referrals are a great way to source great talent, so establishing a referral program and encouraging everyone to participate can go a long way toward increasing the representation of different groups in your workplace. This also gives workers from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to have a voice and contribute to bringing more people from their own communities into your company.

Increasing diversity representation in the hiring process may be challenging, but with these tips, you can make great strides toward creating an environment that facilitates diversity recruitment. From leadership to rank-and-file employees, everyone can play a part in this process, and make the work environment more D&I friendly.

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