Diversity has become a buzzword frequently used by organisations worldwide. Businesses constantly use it throughout their campaigns to keep up with the social changes. However, when it comes to really implementing it, things are less colourful.

Although companies recognise the importance of diversifying their teams, only 23% of HR professionals surveyed by Harver say their programmes are highly effective.

Why Diversity?

As a reminder as to why implementing diversity into your organisation is beneficial, let’s look at statistics.

1. Wider talent pool & better retention

Through the implementation of inclusive recruitment strategies, you’ll be able to attract a wider variety of candidates. To quote the previous Harver report again, 67% of job seekers see a diverse workforce as vital when evaluating job offers. In times when talent competition is fierce, and people are pickier about their options, diverse recruitment helps you cater to a broader audience and stay in the run.

On top of that, diversity helps you attain another recruitment goal – retention. Not only do you attract more candidates – but you also get to keep them more efficiently! Companies that rate highly for D&I can pride themselves in 19% higher retention rates.

2. Performance boost

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It’s not ground-breaking to say that a company’s success depends greatly on their teams’ performance. As found by McKinsey’s research, ethnically diverse companies outperform industry norms by as much as 35%. It’s a massive improvement for your bottom line. 

3. Increased innovation & decision-making

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One of the most valued aspects of a diverse team is the fresh ideas and mindsets they bring to the table. That leads to your teams tackling issues from various fronts and creating creative solutions to drive sales. To picture it with numbers, Forbes reports that inclusive teams can make better business decisions up to 87% of the time.

If that wasn’t great enough, Josh Bersin’s research found that inclusive companies tend to be 1.7 times more likely to become innovation leaders in their market!

4. Higher revenue

With boosted performance, increased innovation, and better decision-making, it’s only natural that all of it will translate into financial gains. Boston Consulting Group’s research data show that businesses with diverse management can benefit from higher revenue – up to 19%!

Why Is Implementing Diversity Challenging?

Now that we can clearly see the benefits of diversity, why is it so difficult to achieve it? Partially because the complexity of the matter can be overwhelming. And partially because you might be skipping the first step on the path to success. According to research, 41% of managers say they’re simply too busy to focus on implementing strategies to promote diversity.

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Having said that, 35% of businesses also think HR should be responsible for bringing diversity into the company. And it’s not entirely wrong. If you change your approach to talent acquisition and get more diverse candidates in the first place – half of the work will be done.

Let’s discuss how you can adjust your recruitment strategies to help you attain your organisational goals and reap the benefits of a diverse workforce.

1. Start with employer branding

The first part of your recruitment strategy always starts with your employer brand. Its impact on a company’s ability to hire talents is undeniable – as agreed by 80% of leaders. And it’s no different when it comes to attaining your diversity goals.

Based on Glassdoor research, 67% of the job seekers pointed at an employer’s stance on diversity being a vital factor influencing their decision on whether they want to work for them – or not.

If your goal is to gain more diverse candidates into your pool, showcase your culture appropriately. Make it clear that your brand values people and their opinions regardless of their background. Perhaps even showcase your team! After all, what proves the point better than showing you not only talk about diversity but actually live by it?

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The more your brand begins to be associated with embracing diversity, the more applicants with aligning values will flock towards you. It’s particularly important in the context of your future workforce – Gen Z. Known for being involved in social matters more than any previous generation, striving for an inclusive workplace is high on their priority list.

A 2020 survey conducted by Monster captured the spirit in a nutshell. 83% of Gen Z applicants stated that choosing an employer with a solid commitment to D&I is crucial for them.

2. Mind your language

Once you successfully showcase your brand supporting diversity, make sure your language in your job ads aligns with the values. The wording we use is powerful as it can attract or deter our audience. Hence why it’s essential to pay close attention to how job ads and job descriptions are crafted. For instance, Milkround research notes that using buzzwords or industry language can often confuse younger applicants – as admitted by almost 50% of the polled job seekers.

Sometimes, the language we use unintentionally targets specific groups and excludes others. As reported by Glassdoor, men and women interpret job descriptions differently. How often have you seen (or used!) expressions such as “a marketing rock star” or a “business ninja”? They sure do get your point across; however, mainly to your male candidates. Words with male connotations are more likely to deter female applicants as they might feel they’re not cut out for the job.

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That may simply further exacerbate inequalities in the recruitment process you’re trying to avoid. Just think about it. What kind of a message is it sending to your candidates? That of inclusion? Unfortunately, not really.

Audit your job descriptions and find a way to be more inclusive in the language you use. Make efforts to appeal to job seekers from any background! Avoid unnecessary criteria and wording that could promote bias. Anything that could lead to filtering out certain groups of people should be removed.

Aim at using neutral language for starters. To enlarge your talent pool, go a step further and even remove experience and education expectations! You might be thinking now that it’ll only reduce the quality of your hires. But to that, we have an answer. 

3. Try an alternative recruitment strategy

If you want to recruit diverse people, you need to evaluate your recruitment strategies altogether. And sometimes, it may mean going outside of your comfort zone. As far as recruitment is concerned, your “comfort zone” means looking for candidates in the same places, using the same selection methods. The result? Lack of diversity.

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Resumés continue to be the most widely used recruitment strategy, with 52% of HR professionals admitting to it as the 1st or the 2nd most crucial screening method. However, the main problem with resumés is that they can be highly biased.

The reason is that, as humans, we can’t fully protect ourselves against unconscious bias about other people. CVs containing personal information, such as the name, photo, information on one’s education and background – all can trigger unconscious bias that may influence our hiring decision. Even if we don’t realise it.

An increasingly popular technique to fight that problem is using blind resumés. In fact, 77% of recruiters believe that removing personal information from CVs would effectively reduce unconscious bias.

Although an improvement, it doesn’t necessarily solve all the issues. Let’s remember that it’s still common for recruiters to even reject candidates because of poorly written applications, as shown by a Murray Resources report.

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At Innoflow, we found a solution – case-based screening. A fully anonymous method that allows you to focus solely on the applicant’s qualifications, with no bias involved. Upon applying, candidates are asked to solve a case (a.k.a. a work sample) based on the skills you’re looking for in the perfect candidate.

The process is faster. Because of its nature, this recruitment strategy attracts fewer applicants. It’s simply more demanding to solve a case than to copy and paste a resumé.

Better quality of candidates. Based on the above, you’ll get fewer candidates, but of better quality. Job seekers will pre-select themselves if they think the task is above their skills. That assures you’ll only get the most competent and motivated applicants.

Increases diversity. Case-based screening is entirely anonymous – the only thing you can see is the case solution and an email address, which dramatically decreases bias. So far, the organisations who chose to use our software report a 62.5% increase in diversity of their recruitment.

Bias, whether conscious or unconscious, is your main obstacle when trying to bring more diversity into your company. To avoid them, it may not be enough to simply blind a resumé.

You need to opt for recruiting strategies that reduce the possibility of discrimination as much as possible – even if it means giving a chance to an alternative recruitment strategy such as case-based screening.

4. Open up to new recruitment channels

As mentioned above, many recruiters are comfortable in their comfort zones and keep looking for candidates in the same places. If you’re struggling to find applicants from diverse backgrounds, perhaps you need to branch out.

Consider turning your recruitment efforts to places where diversity thrives – universities. As reported by Harver, universities and graduate schools are one of the channels used by 52% of employers to recruit a diverse workforce.

Graduates are a great source of fresh ideas, they understand diversity better than older generations, and to them, a diverse workforce is non-negotiable. 77% of the Gen Z respondents in a Deloitte survey stated that working for an employer that values D&I is highly important.

Once you recruit more of them into your organisation, they’ll be more than likely to spread a good word about your brand. Even better so, you can further use that as an opportunity for gaining referrals!

If you still haven’t, consider targeting graduate fairs or opt for student case competitions to attract the youngest talents and bring more diversity into your team.

Diversity – do it the right way

Most companies nowadays understand the benefits a diverse workforce has to offer. However, even if you’re dedicated to increasing diversity in your organisation, making that goal a reality can be a struggle.

As shown, having a solid strategy is a sure-fire way of reaching your recruitment goals. Don’t just blindly follow the quota your company has decided on, as that too can lead to bias and undermine your efforts. Instead, opt for recruiting and hiring people who actually have the needed skills. And rest assured – with the right recruitment methods, diverse candidates will come your way anyways.

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