Diversity and Inclusion are terms often grouped together in the workplace, meant to encompass a company’s efforts toward a more equitable workforce and employee experience. However, it’s often the case that diversity is given greater attention than inclusion because of the distinct differences in quantitative measurability. Both, however, are essential to ensuring a fair and nondiscriminatory environment for your current staff and future employees.
Why does inclusion matter?
Having a diverse team should absolutely be the goal of your organization, but diversity doesn’t exist without inclusion. Creating an atmosphere that welcomes all individuals and encourages equal engagement and representation are the fundamentals necessary to build a diverse team.
There’s of course a business case for diversity and inclusion: attracting and retaining diverse talent equips your company with unique perspectives and enables you to make bold business decisions. According to a Mckinsey report, ethnically and culturally diverse teams are 36% more likely to outperform their competitors, and research from Deloitte shows that diversity of thought enhances innovation by 20% and increases the ability to spot risk by 30%.
Additionally, an inclusive culture results in a team that’s twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets, six times as likely to be innovative and agile, and eight times more likely to achieve better business outcomes. There’s also government programs that offer tax credits to businesses that hire individuals with disabilities. But many hiring processes are based on outdated models that don’t promote an unbiased candidate pool, meaning even if you’ve introduced diversity and inclusion efforts into your organization, without inclusive recruitment, you won’t be successful in creating an equitable company.
Inclusive recruitment is designed to eliminate as much bias as possible when hiring for your open positions. Everyone has unconscious biases that can affect the way they interact with others, including who they choose to hire. With a greater understanding of unconscious bias, your hiring team can create a more inclusive process and attract diverse talent.
Addressing how you’re attempting to attract and maintain diverse candidates is important as you develop your inclusive recruiting strategy. Here are some ways to cut down on biases and recruit a more diverse workforce.
An inclusive recruiting checklist
Every job description your company posts should contain nondiscriminatory and gender neutral language in order to avoid unintentionally deterring applicants from applying. Not only is it important to omit obvious exclusive language, but you also should make sure you’re choosing all language used in job descriptions with purpose. Any individual — regardless of disability, sexual orientation, race, or ethnicity — that is qualified for your role should feel empowered to apply.
Consider the qualifications you require for your open roles, as well. Is a college degree absolutely essential, or could your candidates learn on the job? Do you ask for internship experience? These expectations may be omitting great candidates from your application pool.
Some helpful ways to make reviewing applications and resumes more inclusive is to practice “blind” review. This is done by omitting identification details from resumes upon reviewing. If you’re not able to physically blur the names and characteristics, make your team aware that they should not be considerations in the process. Reminding your team that everyone has unconscious biases will help you explain why they should adhere to this new practice.
Continuing inclusive recruiting into the interview process can be done in several ways.
One way is to hold training sessions for anyone that hosts interviews that cover implicit bias awareness, and then request that they complete these Harvard implicit bias surveys. Your training coupled with the survey results will help your hiring managers and other interviewers to acknowledge and understand that biases are natural but steps must be taken to correct them. This will help your team be more aware of their assumptions and more aware when interviewing.
Another option is to include multiple interviewers per applicant, and ensure the process is the same for each candidate. Provide a template or guideline for interview questions to ask for specific roles will make the process more impartial. Another great tactic to make sure you and your team are paying attention throughout the interview is to avoid making a decision until the interview is complete so you have all of the necessary information.
Make sure each member of your interview team is gut checking themselves constantly to make sure they’re interviewing for role requirements rather than personality fit. While it’s important for candidates to align with your company core values, choosing to hire someone solely based on personality fit over someone who is more qualified might have negative effects on an inclusive environment.
Build a more inclusive team
Inclusive hiring and recruitment is only the beginning of operating an inclusive company. Make sure your inclusion efforts continue after your employees are a part of your team. Diversity in your workplace can only be maintained through effort, so don’t rest on your laurels once the job offer is signed. Make sure your company is one that employees of all backgrounds are proud to work at with a strong employer brand, purposeful company values, and an emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion.