Diversity Hiring: The 101


Diversity and inclusion in the workplace should be an integral part of any company’s recruitment process, and success in this area is actually critical to business performance with studies showing that having a diverse workforce directly correlates to increased innovation and performance, and ultimately an improved bottom line. Diversity is defined as the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, and races. While diversity isn’t only about race or gender, the statistics on these are a telling insight into the inequities stubbornly entrenched in our society. It’s clear that well-intentioned commitments to diversity in the workplace too often don’t actually translate into a diverse workforce.


The challenge lies in moving from a box-ticking exercise to impactful actions. These tips are designed to help either review your current policies or take your first steps to attract a more diverse and inclusive workforce.


First impressions matter

Your candidate's experience begins from their first touchpoint with your company which will likely be your website. Your website is the front page for your efforts in diversity so be sure to have imagery that represents a variety of races, gender, and abilities. You can ensure this isn’t just lip service by having employee spotlights from your workforce, and by publishing diversity and inclusion content. You could even use targeted microsites to reach underrepresented groups.


Expand your talent network

The number one objective of your diversity and inclusion policy should be to expand your talent network by reaching and nurturing underrepresented groups. You can do this in a number of ways such as posting to a variety of job boards including those focused on diversity hiring, or by developing a culture of referrals. Additionally, if resourcing allows, you could develop opt-in talent networks to stay in touch and build relationships with your top candidates.


Reduce unconscious bias

Reducing unconscious bias is critically important not only in your hiring process but in the workplace too. In terms of recruitment advertising, be careful not to use gender-coded words. For example, instead of using the phrase “strong track record” where strong is a male gender-coded word, replace it with a gender-neutral word such as “proven” or “exceptional”. Remove any identifying information from application forms or resumes and be careful not to include too many “desirable” qualifications or experience on the job specification as underrepresented groups are less likely to apply unless they are 100% qualified. Regarding unconscious bias in the workplace, have every employee take training as part of their induction process and periodically to help them recognize their own unconscious bias, and how to control and overcome it.


Measure your progress

It’s important to track and monitor your diversity efforts. By doing so, you will understand how your diverse candidates are progressing through the recruitment process, be able to identify your most consistently successful sources of diverse talent, and monitor which content is most engaging. Only by measuring your progress will you be able to understand your success in your diversity hiring strategies, and make suitable adjustments to improve processes if necessary.


NES Group has been a sector leader since 1997, providing executive recruiting services to both the Enterprise Risk Mitigation and Marketing Services sectors, and serving Fortune 500, mid-tier, late-stage start-ups, and fintech firms – successfully completing over 600 executive-level assignments. Learn more