Diversity Hiring: look for culture add, not culture fit

Posted on July 6, 2020

According to a LinkedIn survey of 9,000 talent leaders and hiring managers across the globe, the number one recruitment priority is diversity. Diversity hiring is not a passing fad or a check box on your employment branding list – it’s a smarter way to do business in the global market and gives your business a real competitive advantage.

Here are some ways to attract and hire diverse people into your business:

1.    Establish a clear and authentic commitment

Establish a clear, written commitment and share it internally and externally. Align your day to day practices with this commitment and focus on initiatives to bring it to life. Developing and following through on an authentic commitment will increase attractiveness of your business to a more diverse candidate base.

2.    Leadership and culture mindset.

Successful hiring for diversity goes beyond HR strategies or action plan goals- it has to be a leadership and cultural mindset that welcomes diverse viewpoints and experiences from candidates. The goal in this case is to broaden the horizons of organisational leadership to be aware of their own unconscious biases in hiring and embrace diversity of opinion and attitude.

3.    Consider how you define diversity.

Gender and racial and ethnic diversity may be visible, but ensuring other kinds of diversity such as educational background, geography, economics family status, disability, sexual preference, gender expression/identity, political persuasion, religious affiliation and age are all important to create a truly diverse workplace.

4.    Recruit from diverse talent pools and offer remote working.

In order to hire diverse candidates, you need to consider your current recruitment methods and widen your talent pool. Post your jobs on diverse niche jobs boards platforms and forums that attract underrepresented groups or dedicated to minorities. One of the most profound ways to attract diverse talent is by offering remote work. This opens up your talent pool to job seekers everywhere, providing more various backgrounds and experience. The more expansive your search, the more diverse your team will be.

Flexible Working People provides access to a diverse and experienced talent pool. Also look at Vercida (recruitment, training and consulting in the diversity and inclusion space).

 5.    Teach your recruiters and hiring managers how to avoid biases.

Implement unconscious bias training for all staff involved in recruitment and train your recruiters to be more sensitive on diversity issues. This improves the representation of candidates throughout the hiring process. Monitor the diversity of applicants at each stage. This helps identify barriers and inform how they can be addressed. Ensure your shortlist is representative. Remove subconscious biases from the hiring process. Write a job spec and test it out to make sure it doesn’t only appeal to one group of people. Think about the words you use, for example ‘dominant’ and ‘competitive’ could attract more male applicants and women might self-select out.

6.    Introduce a diverse interview panel.

One of the benefits of collaborative hiring avoids unconsciousness biases. So, make sure that your interviewing panel includes a diverse selection of your employees.

7.    Offer targeted internships and scholarships.

Create and offer internships and scholarships to people from underrepresented groups. Contact minority organization on colleges and ask for their help in promoting your internships and scholarships among their members.

8.    Look beyond culture fit.

Most employers seek to hire employees based on culture fit. However, the intent to hire only those who share the company’s mission, vision and values can lead to a homogenous workforce that prioritises like minded thinking over diversity. Instead companies should hire for culture add, targeting candidates who bring something unique to the company culture that didn’t exist previously.

9.    Make it part of your message.  

Diversity must be part of your company’s DNA, not only when recruiting, but reflected in company benefits and the ways you advocate for social causes and efforts that advance diversity.

The first place candidates typically look after a job description is your company website. This is a great place to showcase your message that you value diversity and inclusion.  If your company posts on social media, use the space for topics tied to diversity and inclusion or praise other companies who are leaders in this area. Messaging your support and commitment is a great way for candidates to see that you value it.

The most important factor in all of this is an authentic commitment and to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. It will be apparent if this is purely a tick box exercise – it must be part of the DNA of your organisation to be meaningful and have real impact.

Katy Fridman, Founder – Flexible Working People

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