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Building the Right Diversity Recruiting Strategy

Does your team have a diversity recruiting strategy? If your answer isn’t a resounding “Yes!” then we have the steps that you need to take today to get up to speed.

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What is a Diversity Recruiting Strategy?

A Diversity Recruiting Strategy is a focused attempt to increase diversity at a company. It defines goals, action items, the people responsible, and more. It is also responsible for tracking successes and failures so that your team can consistently grow and learn.

Remember: Diversity isn’t the endpoint of building an inclusive company and culture. It’s a step on a long journey. Ultimately, focusing on diversity recruiting will allow you to build an inclusive and equitable team that fosters belonging.

Why Should You Have One?

It’s simple: Decisions made without data and goals aren’t decisions, they’re guesses. By building a diversity recruiting strategy that everyone on the team can see, understand, and be held accountable for, you’re going to see results.

The most important part of any diversity recruitment strategy is the investment of time and effort. By creating a strategy, you’re taking the first step to making your values and your company culture clear. You want to build the right team and that right team is diverse and inclusive!

How to Build the Right Diversity Recruiting Strategy

Learn Where You Are

The first step for building any strategy is analyzing what you’re currently doing. This is a time to be blunt and honest even when it hurts. It’s highly likely that you’ll find out that you and your team aren’t doing enough to be successful. That doesn’t mean you should shy away from the truth.

This is an excellent time to bring in conversations and consultants. Ask your team how they feel you are doing when it comes to diversity recruiting. Do your existing team members feel like the company is inclusive? Do they feel like they belong? If you hear from even one person that they don’t feel psychologically safe, then you have work to do. Remember that some team members will feel uncomfortable being honest (especially if they don’t feel safe to do so), so conducting these surveys anonymously may help.

You can also use tools like our Diversity Recruiting Scorecard to help start the process.

Define Your Goals

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: If you don’t know what you’re working towards, you’re going to get lost. Your goals likely won’t look like another team’s because diversity means something different for every team. Bringing in an expert consultant to help you define your particular goals is an excellent way to make sure they stick.

Diversity recruiting goals can include things like:

  • Define what diversity means to our team
  • Increase diverse candidates by 50% in our pipelines
  • Grow diverse hires by 60%
  • Increase promotion of diverse team members to leadership roles by 20%

All of these goals rely on knowing what your starting line is so make sure you don’t skip that step!

Define Roles and Action Items

Have you heard about the bystander effect? Psychologists Bibb Latané and John Darley “attributed the bystander effect to two factors: diffusion of responsibility and social influence. The perceived diffusion of responsibility means that the more onlookers there are, the less personal responsibility individuals will feel to take action. Social influence means that individuals monitor the behavior of those around them to determine how to act.”

This effect doesn’t just apply to emergency situations. In fact, the same theory can apply to actions items at work. When you’re making strides towards perfecting something like your diversity recruiting strategy, you need to define distinct roles and actions items to particular people. This will create a system of accountability that significantly increases your chances of success.

When you decide who is going to play a part in this initiative, define the roles that everyone will play and break down action items and assign them to specific roles/people.

Measure Data

Making decisions without data results in unstable decisions. When you’ve defined your goals, you can break down those goals into KPIs that help you measure the right data.

Measuring data may feel like a lot of work for a minor ROI, but that’s just not the case! With the right tools, you’ll be able to easily gather the data and adjust as you need.

Some of the data you can measure includes:

  • Are diverse candidates being sourced?
  • How many diverse candidates are interviewed?
  • How many diverse candidates make it through multiple interviews?
  • Where are diverse candidates are lost in the hiring process?
    • Are they dispositioned by the hiring manager or do they remove themselves? Why?

Adjust and Iterate

Diversity recruiting is an ever-changing process and even if you think you’ve hit the nail on the head it never hurts to keep adjusting and testing new theories. By constantly striving to be better you’ll also create a space that gives people permission to do the same personally. Successful teams are the ones that are always ready to learn and grow together, but it’s the role of team leaders to cultivate that culture.

The Harvard Business Review about how to create cultures of learning and growth at work here.

Ultimately, team leaders must understand that undertaking a diversity recruiting strategy isn’t just about checking a box. It’s about creating an entirely new culture and environment at work. It deserves just as much, if not more, attention as any other recruiting strategy.

It can feel overwhelming to tackle, but there’s no better starting point than today!