How To Establish A Diverse Recruitment Strategy

different colour paint pots to represent a diverse workforce built by a diverse recruitment strategy

Ensuring that you have a diverse recruitment strategy is crucial for a modern workplace.

As an IT recruiter, I’m highly aware of the struggles around diversity in our industry. I have personally had a number of conversations with clients on how they can improve their diversity and inclusion recruiting practices to attract a wide range of professionals.

Statistics show that women and the BAME community only make up 26% and 15.2% of tech workers respectively. This is unrepresentative of the diversity of the UK population as a whole.

Diversity recruiting is not a buzzword for large businesses with money. It is important to workplace operations of all sizes. For reasons why establishing a winning diverse recruitment strategy is crucial, please read on.

What is a diverse recruitment strategy?

First of all, we should answer the question “what is a recruitment strategy?”. Put simply, a recruitment strategy is a plan of how a business will go about hiring professionals. This includes analysing and improving current procedures from the first engagement with the candidate to their first working day. A diverse recruitment strategy although similar, focuses on removing bias from a company’s current processes and attracting underrepresented groups.

Diversity within an organisation can include race, gender, socioeconomic status, sexuality, religious beliefs, disabilities, neurodiversity, and more. A diverse team will have an array of experiences and knowledge that will help improve services and products by looking at them through different lenses.

It is also important to remember that while you are recruiting a diverse workforce, your strategy should go beyond the hiring process. You should also be improving your company’s inclusivity. Statistics show that whilst LGBTQ+ tech workers mirror levels in wider society (11%), 75% of  LGBTQ+ tech leaders conceal their identity and 43% of LGBTQ+ tech professionals fear discrimination. If you manage to successfully attract a wide range of individuals to your company but they fear experiencing discrimination at your company, it will make your diverse recruitment strategy obsolete.

The benefits of a diverse recruitment strategy

A diverse hiring strategy will lead to an effective workforce that will help:

  • Solve problems quicker. Having a variety of talent in your team brings multiple perspectives and different problem-solving skills to the table.
  • Increase customer satisfaction. A diverse workforce that reflects wider society is more likely to build products and services that will target a wider range of your customers.
  • Improve talent acquisition. Companies that have a diverse workforce are more likely to attract top candidates. Studies show that job seekers value companies that support DEI (diversity, equality, and inclusion) initiatives, with statistics showing up to 62% of employees said they would turn down a job offer from a company that doesn’t support DEI.

Beyond productivity and work targets, recruiting a diverse workforce is ethically the right thing to do. By building an inclusive workplace and embracing differences, you are helping to achieve greater equality in the workplace.

How to establish a diverse recruitment strategy

Are there potential barriers in your current recruitment strategy for underrepresented groups joining your company? This is something you will need to investigate in order to create a diverse recruitment strategy.

Here are some diversity recruiting strategy best practices for you to consider:

Assess your company policies

Are there any current policies or parameters that could limit your ability to recruit a diverse workforce? For example, having no company sick pay could make people with disabilities or those with chronic illnesses less likely to apply. Non-flexible working hours or limited working from home opportunities could restrict the number of professionals with caring responsibilities from applying. These are just a few examples of why your current recruitment strategy might not be attracting a diverse range of candidates.

Ensure your company is accessible

This encompasses both your physical and digital environments. In addition to ensuring that wheelchair users and people with disabilities can access your building, it’s vital that individuals with audio or visual limitations can read your website. This can include:

  • Adding alt text to images to make sure those with a screen reader can read it
  • Allowing for a larger font
  • Using subtitles for videos with audio

Taking these steps can mean that employees who do come to your website to learn more about your company can access it properly.

Ask your employees

Employee happiness surveys can be a useful way to collect insights for your business. It can help you understand if there are any barriers to working or progressing in your company. Additionally, the results can help identify issues that might impact all aspects of your diverse recruitment strategy, including candidate attraction and employee retention.

Consider alternatives talent pools

Recruiting a diverse workforce should mean opening up your recruitment strategy to talent pools who might not have taken the traditional education route. This can exclude a number of talented individuals who entered/want to enter the industry through apprenticeships, bootcamps and internships. Additionally, some employers limit themselves by only hiring individuals who went to certain universities or studied particular subjects.

Offering an apprenticeship programme would further open you up to individuals who might not want to attend university, but do have the right foundations to be successful in your business. By growing and nurturing your own talent, you will be contributing positively to your industry.

Audit job adverts

You might not think it, but gendered language is often littered across job adverts. Terms that businesses use can be coded as specifically targeting women or men. Language in masculine coded adverts can be “competitive and assertive”, and in female coded adverts “supportive and responsible”. Certain words can subconsciously make applicants think that the business is looking for a certain gender for the role and put them off applying.

Gendered language is relatively easy to correct if you add the utilisation of a gender decoder tool into your diverse recruitment strategy.

Studies have found that women applicants are 10% less likely to apply to a role that includes masculine coded words. This highlights the importance of taking this step seriously.

Anonymise candidates

Making CVs anonymous is an important aspect of an effective diverse recruitment strategy.

Information from CVs that can be removed to limit unconscious bias:

  • Names
  • Dates
  • Education institution names
  • Any personal information, headshots, or links to social media

By anonymising CVs, when reviewing and comparing candidates, you will only be able to compare experiences and skills. Even if you are certain you would never judge someone based on their name, gender, age or country of birth, these bits of information can conjure up an image of a person in your head. This can then lead you to making unconscious judgments about them or their background. The best thing to do when recruiting is to just remove this information.

Standardise interviews

Sometimes this can’t be helped due to practical restraints, but keeping interviews consistent should be a crucial aspect of your diverse recruitment strategy.

  • Have the same set of interviewers in each interview so interview styles and experiences are consistent across the board
  • Standardise interview questions with a set score card to judge each candidate
  • Consider sending neurodiverse candidates some pre-interview questions, so they’re not put on the spot and can answer to the best of their ability
  • Focus on results from skills and personality assessments as a basis for your decision on whether they can do the job well, rather than how well they can talk about their skills in an interview

 

For more information on how to mitigate unconscious bias through a diverse hiring process, take a look at one of my other blogs here. If you want specific and bespoke advice for a foolproof diverse recruitment strategy, contact VIQU today.

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