You have the best of intentions.
Like other progressive employers, you’ve broadened your definition of diversity to include differences that influence how employees think, interact and achieve – factors like age, disability, sexual orientation and even physical appearance.
And with good reason:
• Diverse work teams make better decisions. Research from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School found that diverse groups outperform more homogenous groups, because diversity triggered “more careful information processing.” In other words, diversity creates a productive kind of awkwardness and tension that leads to better group problem-solving.
• Diverse businesses deliver better results. Research from McKinsey & Company found that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians, while ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform non-diverse businesses.
• Diversity initiatives instantly expand talent pools. If your organization typically targets men for roles in IT, engineering, data sciences or other “traditionally male positions,” you’re effectively cutting your talent pool in half. Expanding recruiting efforts to make them more inclusive instantly (and in many cases, dramatically) boosts your talent pool.
• Reducing the labor-force participation gap could add trillions to the global economy. A 2015 report published by the McKinsey Global Institute found that, if every country narrowed the gender gap at the same rate as the fastest-improving country in its regional peer group, the world could add $12 trillion to annual gross domestic product in 2025.
Smarter business decisions. Better financial performance. Deeper talent pools. An improved global economy. The value of a diverse workforce is pretty clear, right?
So why is your team still so “vanilla”?
If your diversity recruitment efforts haven’t yielded the results you want, it’s possible you could be making one of these common mistakes. Here are three common diversity recruiting “fails” – and practical tips for fixing them:
1. Hidden recruiting biases.
We’re all human. Right or wrong, we sometimes make snap decisions about people based on limited information. Recruiters are no exception! Without adequate training, they may think that they’re being impartial. But in reality, unconscious biases may impact their attitudes toward candidates – and ultimately, their hiring decisions.
The best defense against recruiting bias is a strong offense:
• Teach everyone with hiring responsibilities about the realities of unconscious biases and the hiring implications premature judgments can have.
• Hide irrelevant information from hiring managers. Scrub candidate information (e.g., address, name, school) that is not a valid predictor of job success from resumes before forwarding to hiring managers.
• Properly train interviewers to achieve better outcomes. Require all interviewers to undergo formal training (e.g., proper interview etiquette, probing techniques) to “level the playing field” and minimize the impact of hidden biases.
• Standardize interview processes. Improve consistency by requiring all interviewers to ask the same basic questions of all candidates. In addition, require interviewers to back-up hunches, ratings and subjective statements with data and/or examples. The more structured, objective and standardized your processes are, the greater your likelihood of reducing biases.
2. Diversity referrals are poorly managed.
Great people know great people. In fact, research published by Staffing.org and the Aberdeen Group showed that referrals are the #1 source for new hire quality.
Don’t underestimate the potential diversity benefits of a killer referral program. If you’re not receiving high quality, diverse referrals, try these three tactics:
• Formalize your program. Invest in technology to simplify the process and ensure that good referrals don’t “fall through the cracks.”
• Solicit reference referrals. Ask the references of diversity candidates and new hires to refer other exceptional (diverse) candidates.
• Include asking for referrals as part of your onboarding process. Make sure new team members know from day one how and why to recommend the talented (diverse) people they know.
3. Using the same tools/tactics for recruiting diverse groups.
You don’t market to 20-somethings the same way you do to 40-somethings (well, you could – but it wouldn’t be very effective). The same principle holds true for recruiting: you can’t expect a recruiting approach that works for young professionals to work equally as well for veterans.
Different people approach the job search process in very different ways. But unfortunately, diversity recruitment programs often use the same messaging, tools and tactics for all groups – and results fall far short of expectations.
So if a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for diversity recruiting, what does? Try these marketing-inspired ideas:
• Think of your diversity targets as market sub-segments. Realize that you may need to target your approach to fit the unique needs of each diverse group you want to recruit.
• Do your research. Identify the motivators, job search behaviors, etc. for the various groups you’re trying to appeal to. You may be able to benchmark subgroups using your current employees, but you may also have to invest in market research to gather the information you need.
• Use the data you acquire to tailor your recruiting message, as well as the tactics you use, to address the unique needs and expectations of each subgroup.
Better recruiting results start with Corps Team.
Want to build a more diverse core team? Seeking experienced professionals who can offer fresh perspectives? Give our experts at Corps Team a call today.