DE&I

Talent Acquisition Strategies to Promote Diversity

The future of every successful business depends on its human capital because people create products, bring innovation, and drive profit through their work. The challenge lies in hiring the most compatible employees and nurturing their growth every day.

That is why talent acquisition is invaluable for high-performing companies. This process encompasses the attraction, selection, onboarding, and retention of qualified professionals.

Thanks to that, talent acquisition (TA) is the catalyst for a well-rounded employee journey. TA practitioners possess the skills needed to reach the target audience and provide an engaging candidate experience. 

They’re also in charge of recruiting top talents and establishing a productive and healthy workplace to prevent employee turnover. These professionals have inherently challenging responsibilities, making them the pillars of the business continuum. 

Thus, they use various strategies to streamline the recruitment process and attract the best candidates. TA strategies include building stellar employer branding, company culture, and career development programs. 

While TA practitioners must build efficient teams with unique skills and experiences, they also seek methods and approaches to cultivate heterogeneous work environments. For this reason, they’re committed to diversity, inclusion, and equity. 

How Talent Acquisition and Diversity Intertwine

Talent acquisition teams must target candidates from different demographics and backgrounds to ensure fairness, productivity, and innovation. In the past two years, an increasing number of companies made bold promises about promoting diversity in their workplaces.

Yet, most still rarely disclose diversity data. For instance, recent research has shown that only 6.3 percent of America’s largest corporations shared intersectional statistics. 

Moreover, a 2021 Harvard Business Review research has explored the hiring choices of larger and more prestigious employers with diversity and inclusion initiatives. The researchers detected socioeconomic bias and found no aggregate preferences for minority or female candidates. 

These findings shouldn’t be surprising concerning that 64 percent of U.S. workers in entry-level positions are white. Thus, white people still hold 85 percent of executive jobs, while women and minorities continue to under-earn their white male counterparts. 

This indicates that although many companies proudly commit to diversity, underrepresented groups of people still don’t get equal treatment. Because of that, it’s essential to leverage talent acquisition strategies to promote DE&I.

Diverse recruitment helps employers alleviate the talent shortage by accessing new candidate pools and unlocking productivity. However, companies should start by understanding what diversity in the workplace really means and how to achieve it. 

What Diversity in the Workplace Genuinely Means?

More and more companies and organizations around the globe are seeing the benefits of diversity, and understand there’s no more room for waiting.

On the back of this, they have committed to attracting, hiring, and retaining diverse talents. But not every company understands the true meaning of diversity.

Hence, we often see elaborate initiatives with little to no results. The reason this keeps happening is that diversity requires far more than just verbal statements and website taglines. 

Moreover, it isn’t about jumping on the bandwagon and showing good intentions. Instead, commitment to diversity should be about tangible actions, thorough understanding, and measurable results. 

Otherwise, DE&I policies will make no difference. A company will claim to recruit and nurture heterogeneous groups, yet underprivileged candidates and employees will stay at the bottom of hiring preferences. 

That isn’t to say that the majority doesn’t care about whether their efforts make a lasting change. Many companies and HR professionals lack an understanding of what diversity is and how to cultivate it. 

DE&I programs fail because C-Suite executives and managers use the same channels and processes they did before committing to recruiting diverse candidates. Thus, hiring three minority workers isn’t enough to foster heterogeneous workplaces in companies with over 500 employees. 

Every organization should audit its workforce makeup and understand whether the number of diverse employees supports its DE&I efforts. Moreover, they should evaluate their recruitment pipelines to detect gaps and potential bias. 

Another issue is that business leaders have misconceptions regarding DE&I. For instance, most companies believe there’s a shortage of diverse candidates. Hence they often abandon the pursuit of job applicants from heterogeneous backgrounds fast, failing to carry out their inclusion initiatives. 

Yet, a 2021 global study found over 27 million “hidden workers”in the U.S. alone. These are candidates that want to work and are actively seeking work, but that recruiters have issue uncovering or weed out from the recruitment pipelines early on due to the recruitment policies and practices. 

Thus, companies often overlook valuable job seekers because they focus on, for example, missing credentials instead of on their capabilities. They don’t know where to look, attract them, and approach diversity. 

So, what is diversity after all? Diversity means accepting and appreciating people, regardless of their gender, age, ethnicity, race, religion, disability, class, or other demographic and personal characteristics. 

Moreover, it is about understanding that every individual is unique and treating them respectfully and fairly. On the other hand, inclusion helps drive diversity by including and accommodating groups of underrepresented and excluded people. It also ensures these individuals feel welcome and comfortable about being who they are. 

Benefits of Nurturing Diverse Teams

The advantages of fostering diversity in the workplace are no longer a secret or a mystery. Although companies shouldn’t solely focus on how implementing DE&I initiatives benefits them, it’s crucial to understand its effect. 

It has numerous positive aspects, but one of the most prominent is that diversity is a knowledge-based asset because it inspires people to consider various perspectives and seek more advanced solutions. That is why diverse companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders. 

They’re also more agile and change-ready, a prerequisite for navigating the post-pandemic world successfully. However, heterogeneous teams are also more resourceful and creative because multicultural experiences and being exposed to contrasting viewpoints stimulate a solution-oriented mindset and tolerance. 

Thanks to that, companies become more flexible and resilient. But that’s only the tip of the diversity iceberg. 

Organizations with above-average gender diversity and employee engagement levels outperform companies with below-average heterogeneous teams and engagement by 46 to 58 percent. Workers feel at ease in workplaces where everyone is welcome and gets equal recognition for their efforts. 

It’s no wonder that employee performance in diverse organizations is 12 percent higher than those without inclusion efforts. Fostering inclusive work environments is also of paramount importance for attracting top talents. 

Over 76 percent of job seekers say that a diverse and inclusive workforce is crucial when evaluating potential employers. That is particularly significant in reaching young candidates because Generation Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation ever. 

However, their older counterparts, millennials aren’t much behind. These two generational cohorts care about social activism, equity, and having a sense of belonging. Hence, not nurturing DE&I initiatives could alienate many qualified job applicants. 

For instance, 83 percent of millennials say they’re more actively engaged in their jobs when their employers support diversity policies. That shows them their companies care about employees and value their differences. 

As a result, diverse teams are more productive and 87 percent better at decision-making. However, exposure to various perspectives and backgrounds is also beneficial for appealing to customers and developing connections. 

That is why diverse teams are 70 percent more likely to capture new markets. Furthermore, 85 percent of companies with DE&I initiatives notice increased profits. They hit financial goals and have 2.3 times more cash flow per employee. 

In a nutshell, diverse workplaces are beneficial for every party and provide more stability to a company. Ultimately, inclusion enhances every business and recruitment aspect, improving productivity, engagement, candidate attraction, innovation, collaboration, and revenues. 

Challenges You Might Encounter When Implementing Diverse Talent Acquisition Strategies

Despite being an undertaking that causes a lasting positive change for a company, implementing diverse TA strategies can be challenging. It’s a task that takes time, effort, and research. 

Business leaders and TA practitioners must approach it with patience and understanding to get the best outcomes. That includes comprehending what difficulties to expect in the process. 

Here’s what could hinder the introduction of DE&I Talent Acquisition efforts:

An Exclusive Culture

Some organizations have a long history of recruiting candidates from diverse backgrounds, but others are only starting. The latter might struggle with this step if their hiring policies and workplace regulations were overwhelmingly exclusive in the past. 

That often happens unintentionally, but it leaves lasting aftermaths. If your workforce makeup is predominantly white and male and you never expressed commitment to DE&I, job seekers could perceive you as biased. 

Moreover, having a seemingly exclusive background could deter diverse candidates from applying for your job openings. They might expect to have no odds at landing a job in your company. 

Due to this, you must first evaluate your prior hiring efforts and determine whether your selection process skews towards particular groups of people. If that’s the case, you should first address this issue and ensure the candidates know that you aren’t happy with your past choices. 

Bad Reputation

Exclusive company culture is a red flag, a bad reputation is a severe problem that could continuously slow down your diverse Talent Acquisition strategies. People often doubt a person’s ability to change because they fear that offering trust could hurt them.

Hence, if your company has a history of mistreating diverse employees and candidates, you must first address these issues and right your wrongs. It’s crucial to show job applicants that you have changed and understand how your practices and actions have affected people.

Lack of Adequate Technology

Advanced tech platforms help recruiters write more inclusive job descriptions, reach diverse candidates, and remove unintentional human bias from the selection process. For instance, an Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) enables Talent Acquisition practitioners to collect public information from job applicants from different backgrounds and understand their personalities better. 

On the other hand, an AI background screening app eliminates prejudices by focusing on candidate qualifications. Not having efficient tech can hurt your diverse Talent Acquisition strategies and make it harder to access talent pools of qualified job applicants. 

Modern technology can also help you share your job ads across niche job boards and detect exclusive language. 

Biased Employees

Sometimes the problem lies in intolerant employees and lack of diversity and inclusion training. For instance, if some of your workers have expressed bias towards particular groups of people in the past, they might struggle with accepting diverse coworkers. 

On the other hand, they might lack knowledge and education, causing their prejudices and bigotry. Whatever the scenario, you must ensure your team is open-minded and welcomes every colleague. 

Because of that, you should raise awareness about diversity and its benefits. However, if an employee continues showing signs of, for example, racism or homophobia, you should consider stricter measures. 

Top 12 Talent Acquisition Strategies to Promote Diversity in the Workplace

1. Assess Your Job Ads and Current Team Diversity

Get insights into your workforce makeup and past diversity efforts by analyzing diverse employees across departments and job roles. Evaluate your executive level and how easy it is for underrepresented groups of people to reach these positions. Remember to check your job ads and the language you use to ensure that it’s inclusive and speaks to diverse candidates. 

2. Reinforce or Establish a Diverse Company Culture

Ensure that you foster an inclusive company culture that welcomes people from different backgrounds and marginalized groups. Use social media platforms and websites to clarify your DE&I regulations and policies. 

Include testimonials from diverse employees and collaborate with like-minded businesses. Consider asking your workers how to improve the workplace and make it more inclusive. 

3. Commit to Social Causes that Help Diverse Groups and Improve Their Lives

Listen to the needs of diverse groups and understand what social causes matter to them to improve their position. Pay attention to these concerns and reach out to organizations and associations that promote them and offer your support and, if possible, financial help. 

Encourage your employees to participate in social issues that improve the lives of underprivileged groups and showcase these efforts. 

4. Display Your DE&I Efforts and Results

Be transparent about the actions you take to promote DE&I and disclose the results of your efforts. For example, publish regular reports and talk about the positive outcomes of the process.

Use your career site, social media, and company’s print materials to display your diversity vision, statement, and charter, and release demographic statistics, videos, and awards or recognition you received for DE&I efforts. 

5. Target Diverse Candidates and Places They Usually Frequent

Research where your target audience likes to spend time and gather online. It's wise to cultivate a prominent presence in these places and position yourself as an employer committed to DE&I.

Create messages that speak to them and show your understanding and care for their concerns by starting meaningful conversations with diverse groups and using these insights to address their problems. 

6. Adjust Your Workplace Policies to Diverse Employees

Audit your workplace policies and practices to ensure they accommodate diverse groups of people and provide fair treatment. Think about whether your hiring regulations and job ads are inclusive. 

However, you should also assess wage gaps and whether every employee receives the same growth opportunities. Consider adjusting holidays and schedules to working parents, students, and workers responsible for ill or underage family members.

7. Collaborate with Multicultural Professional Groups and Associations

Find multicultural associations and professional groups in your city and region and offer collaboration. You can also team up with student organizations and help with their causes. 

That gives you access to a diverse talent pool and helps you understand underprivileged groups and their principal concerns. Collaborations help you increase your efforts and be more efficient in your practices. 

8. Encourage Your Employees to Refer Qualified Candidates

Introduce a referral program that encourages employees with diverse backgrounds to recommend qualified candidates and help you find the best match faster. Acknowledge their effort and reward them with access to more career development options, internships, or bonuses. 

9. Leverage Tech to Reinforce Diversity

Use advanced technology to find diverse candidates faster and eliminate bias from the recruitment process. For instance, an ATS enables you to easily share your job ads on job boards for targeting minorities, making it easier to reach job applicants from marginalized groups. 

10. Organize Events & Training Programs for Underrepresented Student Groups and Job Seekers

Offer short-term training programs and events for diverse student groups and candidates to help them adopt relevant skills and become more employable. That leads to an extensive talent pool and helps you exert your commitment to inclusion and making lives better. 

11. Make Candidate Screening More Inclusive

Many recruiters disqualify valuable job applicants due to a lack of credentials, education, experience, or even based on their address or name. Ensure that every candidate gets equal opportunities by introducing anonymized resumes. 

12. Offer Internships to Diverse Job Seekers

Consider offering internships and apprenticeships to diverse job seekers and add them to your talent pool. You can also suggest long-term employment to those who develop the necessary skills and knowledge and wish to work with you. 

Diversity is crucial for team productivity, efficient collaboration, innovation, and high revenues. It contributes to workplace happiness and provides employees with a sense of belonging.

Although many companies commit to promoting DE&I, their initiatives often fail due to the lack of understanding, exclusive practices, and appropriate technology. It’s essential to combine efficient Talent Acquisition strategies with modern tech platforms to drive diverse efforts. 

Manatal cloud-based software offers features that streamline processes, making it easier to attract, reach, and recruit qualified candidates with heterogeneous backgrounds. It also provides the necessary candidate analytics and helps you understand what actions require tweaks or a different approach.

Start your 14-day Free Trial today (no credit card required) and leverage Manatal to supercharge your recruitment operations.

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