Want to create a diverse and inclusive hiring process? Here are 5 key steps to success

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Improved financial performance, greater creativity, employee engagement, empowerment and retention and of course, talent attraction.

The benefits of building a diverse and inclusive workforce are well documented, yet many businesses struggle to put the right processes in place to ensure their future success.

All too often, we see businesses fall into the trap of hiring for traditional ‘cultural fit’ and not for cultures, behaviours and experiences that are going to enhance their business.

As well as the business performance aspects, as an employer, creating a diverse and inclusive workforce is proof of your morale, fairness and empathy – business characteristics which are increasingly sought after by today’s modern workforce.

So, if you’re looking to create a diverse and inclusive hiring process within your business, here are 5 steps you can take to ensure success:

1. Educate your existing team

We make decisions so frequently and are hardwired to gravitate towards the familiar. This impacts on the way we feel about other people whether we’re conscious of it or not.

Change starts from within, so the first step in the process is to educate the team on biases that come into play when hiring and understand how to remove them.

To be effective, this education needs to be extended beyond simply HR and recruitment team, so involving the whole business in this learning creates buy in across departments and at all levels.

As well as driving change from within, it must be driven from the top.

If the senior team are fully on board with creating the right environment and having a structured hiring process, then these attitudes filter down throughout the business.

2. Use inclusive language across all touchpoints

Consider the language you’re using across your website, on your social media and on your job descriptions. These will most likely be the first-place prospective candidates will engage with your business.

Create neutral job descriptions by using pronouns that are not specific to one gender over another and avoid using Gender-coded words and terms such as “Ninja” or “Rockstar” which can put people off applying.

In addition, does the language promote a certain type of culture and is it geared towards attracting a certain type of candidate? What does the imagery on your ‘about us/ work for us’ section and social media say about you?

The way you describe your business, the role requirements and the perks/ benefits can have a huge impact on potential applicants.

3. Widen your search

If you’re continuously finding that your applications come from candidates with similar backgrounds, education or experiences, your search may well be too narrow.

If you’re focusing your search in the same areas each time this is likely to be the case.

If for example, all your candidates are coming through LinkedIn applications and LinkedIn searches, open it up by focusing on other channels such as job boards, social media or meetups.

If you work with recruiters, challenge them on their approach to sourcing diverse candidates and demand more from them to ensure a wider spread of potential employees.

4. Remove demographic information from the applications

Anonymising CVs is great way to reduce any bias in your recruitment strategy.

Depending on the level of information you want to omit, this can include names, education, date of birth and address. Even information on their hobbies and interests can cause can bias to creep in.

By removing any information that can influence your recruitment team’s judgements or attitudes, it creates a level playing field and encourages diverse talent to apply.

Equally, by stating in the job advert that you follow the practice of censoring CVs and removing the information that can lead to bias, you’ll be emphasising your commitment to diversity and creating an inclusive workforce.

4. Include the team throughout the hiring process

For inclusive hiring to work, having a diverse team involved in the process is essential. This way you get feedback and insight from a variety of employees who will all have their own views and expectations. This in turn leads to a process that’s more robust.

Look beyond your hiring or HR teams and involve employees from other departments in the process as they will have experiences and insights which can be invaluable in the decision-making process.

Also, from a candidate perspective, having the chance to meet and engage with a wider mix of people at this stage will help them see that your culture and commitment to diversity and inclusion is genuine.

Final thoughts

Diversity shouldn’t be just another box to tick; there has to be reason and meaning behind creating a diverse workplace and structured hiring process.

There are many tangible reasons why a diverse workforce is beneficial, but you won’t get one overnight.

The steps you take to improve your hiring need to be monitored and reviewed regularly, with training implemented as a priority. Getting buy-in and passion for what you’re trying to achieve is hugely important too if the process is going to work.

If you’re looking to improve your recruitment process and would like some advice on best practice, speak to one of the Digital Gravity team today.