Advanced Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Practices to Diversify the Workforce.

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Ayanna Warrington
Expert level
63 Wows earned
Wowledge Expert Team
Principal level
3 Wows earned

This guide is part of a progression set comprised of Core, Advanced, and Emerging Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Practices.

What it is

Employers who understand the value of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) intentionally cultivate a workforce that reflects the diversity of the societies in which they operate. At every point in the recruiting process, biases threaten an organization’s ability to find the most qualified candidate for the job, regardless of that candidate’s race, gender, educational background, or other characteristics. When biases persist unchecked, an organization is at a higher risk of overlooking critical talent and dampening progress toward a more inclusive workplace. As a result, developing a broader-reaching attraction and fairer screening, selection, and hiring processes and practices are considered imperative to an organization's workforce's long-term strength and sustainability.

Creating a workforce that mirrors our world does not happen organically for most organizations. Instead, it requires a thoughtful audit of current recruiting and selection processes to identify unconscious biases and remove systemic barriers to equity. This calls at the surface level for including DEI practices in candidate communications but extends well beyond integrating such messaging into all attraction mechanisms, vehicles, and resources. It requires a careful look into candidate attraction and sourcing strategies linked directly to business requirements, including sources visited, preferred by, and populated with candidates of diverse backgrounds and traits. It also highlights skills-based hiring trends, where college degrees no longer dominate candidate screening criteria. It engages recruiters and managers alike in training and personal background- and trait-free screening and selection processes that are tracked and measured for bias reduction (and ultimately, elimination) in the hiring process. 

Why use it

Every job seeker should have an equal opportunity to be evaluated for a role without being unnecessarily excluded from the candidate pool. However, marginalized groups have long been overlooked and undervalued by traditional recruitment strategies. The implications of this systemic exclusion have been exacerbated by the dramatic labor market shifts over the past twenty years, which have left companies struggling due to substantially decreased labor force growth. At the same time, unemployment rates have reached historic lows, making it extremely challenging for employers to find enough qualified talent to fill job roles. 

The available working population is generally in decline in many advanced economies, and the availability of talent is increasingly what were traditionally considered “minority” populations (especially in the U.S.). Proactively engaging with more diverse workforce segments has become a talent and business imperative. It requires recruiting and management teams alike to accept this reality and adapt and engage in a culturally sensitive manner. This requires broadening the talent pool with more inclusive recruiting strategies that tap into previously undervalued talent sources. It calls out the need to continue evolving leadership, manager, and recruiter perspectives on the make-up of an “ideal candidate, focused more on the required skills and capabilities versus where or how those were acquired. Given the ever-increasing diversity of available labor forces globally, it is a matter of business survival.

Outcomes

Adopting these practices holds the promise of an organizational culture that widely accepts individual differences throughout the talent acquisition process.  It engages leaders and managers in more objective, flexible, and bias-free methods for considering candidates’ fit with job requirements and within the organization’s culture. It creates an environment where recruiting strategies include talent sources that pinpoint appropriately skilled workers who are members of, participate in, or post their credentials on population segment-specific groups, associations, and websites. It creates an employment brand that attracts and provides access to an increased number of potential candidates, promoting the organization as a positive, constructive, and safe haven for workers of all backgrounds. It helps build an environment that is supportive of individual differences, where fair and equitable candidate selection processes (and their success) can lead to improved promotion, advancement, and mobility considerations for all employees. 

Practice guides at this level

Preparing to widen the candidate talent pool to increase diversity of thought, background, and experience.

Widening the talent pool to change the composition of the workforce and unlock the power of increased diversity through an updated employer brand, a diversity recruiting plan, and the use of a skills-based approach to selection.

Removing bias from the sourcing process to enhance fairness and expand candidate pools.

Reducing the bias that is inherent in traditional candidate sourcing through recruiter training, improved and inclusive job postings, and the use of diversity-centric and -specific candidate sources.

Using the selection process to promote inclusive hiring and address unconscious bias.

Reshaping traditional selection processes and minimizing the opportunity for bias to occur from screening through offer while leveraging process and outcome measurement to evaluate the effects of the changes on recruitment success.

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