5 Strategies for HR Teams Looking to Build a More Diverse Talent Pool

Actionable strategies to help you build a diverse talent pool & ensure your organisation’s diversity, equity and inclusion.
5 Strategies for HR Teams Looking to Build a More Diverse Talent Pool
Gaurav Belani

Businesses around the world are exhibiting their commitment to diversity and inclusion. Though the self-scrutiny on diversity that started several decades ago, most businesses have struggled to achieve the diversity goals they set for themselves.

Facebook, for example, has grown from 3% Black workers to 3.8% between 2014 and 2020. Though there’s been some progress, it’s been slow.

Other tech companies that consistently share diversity reports, namely Twitter, Apple, and Microsoft, have shown low single-digit growth. So, what’s coming in the way of businesses committing to diversity goals?

A global survey of 9000 recruiters and hiring managers across 39 countries revealed that the #1 barrier talent professionals say they face when improving workforce diversity is finding diverse candidates to interview.

Image from Linkedin

There’s more to a smart hiring process than merely finding candidates with suitable education and experience. To achieve diversity and inclusion goals, firms should make sure they reach a large and diverse audience.

In this post, you’ll find actionable strategies to build a more diverse talent pipeline and offer equal opportunities for candidates from underrepresented groups.

1. Start by Building an Inclusive Culture

Diversity is a critical subject for every modern business. Before you can attract a diverse talent pool, you need to make sure you create an environment that makes individuals from different nationalities, races, genders and sexual orientations feel welcome, safe, and free.

Start Top Down

Any facet of organisation culture goes from top-down. The leadership should set clear diversity goals and offer the necessary tools and skills required for employees to reach their full potential.

Qualitative Anonymous Research

Further, companies should gather feedback through surveys, review sites, and exit interviews to learn how they can improve their culture and make the work environment more inclusive.

Invest in Employer Branding

Finally, the organisation should invest in employee branding strategies to showcase its culture.

The career page, social channels, and company blog should consistently communicate the business’s desire and efforts towards building a diverse culture.

Check out how Nike’s recent campaigns have amplified the voices of underrepresented communities. Their recent “Until We All Win” campaign highlights the journey of indigenous people and LGBTQIA+ athletes.

Similarly, Google Diversity shares in-depth data on the company’s demographics. The website clearly describes how the tech giant supports diversity in recruiting, the workplace, education, and the communities they serve.

2. Prioritise Inclusive Recruitment Strategies

Once the leadership sets the tone through the company culture, it’s easy to extend it to various aspects of the business. Review your firm’s recruiting strategy and tweak it to foster diversity and inclusion.

Here are a few effective tactics to make inclusive recruitment an integral part of your company’s DNA 👇

Set Clear Diversity Recruitment Goals

Take stock of where you stand with respect to diversity and inclusion and identify the areas of improvement. Set clear and time-bound goals to address the gaps. A few examples of the goals could be -

  • Proactively source 15 candidates from the underrepresented groups across departments.
  • Roll out unconscious bias training to 40% of the staff within a year.
  • Share five evergreen job descriptions in quarter 1.

Moreover, build an ideal candidate persona of the personality attributes and skills that a strong contender should possess. This will encourage your teams to follow the same criteria from the beginning, ensuring a fair hiring process.

Be Proactive in Sourcing Candidates to Build a Diverse Talent Pool

Instead of waiting for candidates from the diverse pool to come to you, it’s wiser to be proactive in sourcing them. One way to do this is to write personalised outreach emails or messages to potential candidates. Tell them about the role and why you think they are suited for it.

You can also add people and communities from diverse backgrounds into your Boolean search strings when prospecting for candidates on LinkedIn.

For instance, as a part of your diversity sourcing strategy, you can include a list of LGBT and LGBT-friendly fraternities and sororities in your Boolean search string.

Count on technology to make the sourcing process more efficient and spend more time building meaningful interactions with potential candidates.

Joonko is an automated diversity recruiting tool that offers a pool of qualified and diverse candidates ready for the job. The tool maintains an automated stream of underrepresented candidates pre-qualified by hiring managers, and it feeds candidates identified as matches directly into recruiters’ applicant tracking systems.

This eliminates spam resumes and reduces the time-to-hire by 16%.

Create Inclusive Job Descriptions

Candidates learn a lot about a company’s culture through its website. Your job description should mimic the tone of your website and all the employee branding you’ve been doing.

If the tone of your job description isn’t closely aligned with the company culture, applicants are two to four times less likely to apply.

Thus, if not crafted properly, your job description could inadvertently dissuade quality applicants from underrepresented groups from applying.

Add an equity statement like IBM’s to encourage candidates from all backgrounds and the right experience to apply.

Image from IBM

Finally, run your job posting through a gender decoder to make sure that the language used isn’t biased towards a specific group.

Check out Gender Decoder

Support Institutions That Recruit a Diverse Workforce

Get involved with institutions that support underrepresented groups. This will allow you to portray your company culture and build relationships with the members.

Sponsor or work with institutions like women and LGBTQ organizations, women in STEM, or an institution for people with disabilities. This will help you gain access to a wide and diverse pool.

Here are a few institutions that support such causes:

3. Conduct Unconscious Bias Training

No one is devoid of unconscious bias. However, a critical part of building a diverse talent pool is to train our minds to recognise and overcome these biases.

Train your hiring managers, talent acquisition professionals, and interviewers on how to attract and retain people from underrepresented groups at various stages of the hiring process.

This will ensure a fair decision-making process and attract diverse talent to your organisation.

4. Look within the Organisation

Your employees can prove to be an invaluable resource when it comes to building a diverse talent pool. The best people always happen through referrals.

Seek advice from your existing workforce on how to attract a diverse pool of candidates.

For instance, if you have an LGBTQ group in your organization, they may point out potential candidates or even share advice on how you can improve your job posting.

5. Track Your Progress

Keep a track of how you are progressing towards your diversity goals and share the results with your team. This will motivate them to uphold diversity and inclusion and create a welcoming environment for all.

Here are a few pointers to help you keep track of your diversity goals.

  • Check the sources of your talent.
  • Review the types of candidates coming through various channels.
  • Explore new talent sources to expand your reach.
  • Share routine diversity surveys to learn more about your candidates and existing employees.
  • Nurture diverse talent with an authentic and consistent brand message.

Summing Up

A diverse workforce will allow them to get a variety of perspectives for improving business performance and productivity. But, attracting and retaining diverse talent is far from easy.

Hopefully, the actionable strategies shared in this post will help you build a diverse talent pool, thus ensuring progress on your organisation’s diversity, equity, and inclusion.

About the Author

Gaurav Belani is senior SEO and content marketing analyst at Growfusely, a content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO. He has more than seven years of experience in digital marketing. He likes sharing his knowledge in a wide range of domains ranging from marketing to human capital management and much more. His work is featured in several authoritative business publications. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter at @belanigaurav.

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