How talent acquisition is tackling the diversity question

black and white photo of diversity

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Real-life solutions for diversity and inclusion challenges

Diversity and inclusion are topics of discussion at nearly every CareerXroads Colloquium meeting. The challenges around creating and maintaining a diverse workplace are far from new. They are also far from diminishing. Everyone from University Relations to Sourcers to Candidate Experience Directors is working hard to find new ways to enhance diversity and inclusion. Based on actual discussions from CareerXroads Colloquium meetings throughout 2018, we’re going to share some tried and true diversity tactics. Before we dig into that, let’s look a little closer at the definitions of diversity and inclusion.

A diverse workplace is composed of employees with varying characteristics including – but not limited to – gender, ethnicity, physical ability and disability, education, socioeconomic background, working experience, educational backgrounds, religion and sexual orientation.

An inclusive workplace is a place that accepts diversity, embraces the strengths of each person and seeks to provide opportunities for all to achieve their full potential.

The best diversity initiatives will fall flat if the workplace isn’t truly inclusive. And it’s hard to inspire inclusivity if you don’t have a diverse employee group to draw upon. Much as people are clearly recognizing that candidate experience covers far more than just the interview process, organizations are starting to realize that Diversity and Inclusion initiatives need to start before employment and extend long after.

How are companies measuring success in diversity and inclusion initiatives?

At our Colloquium meetings, we hear from too many companies who don’t have specific, measurable goals for diversity because leadership isn’t letting them see the data. In essence, diversity and inclusion goals are aspirational because they can’t always be measured. Some organizations won’t even call them goals at all, preferring to call them good faith efforts.

On the flip side – for those who do have metrics to review – data can tempt even the best recruiter into making poor decisions. It’s a slippery slope: do you hire the 6th best candidate because she is the only female in the running and you need her to meet a metric?

Where are diversity metrics coming from?

When available, diversity metrics are most often gathered through self-identification at application and again at hiring. All too often, however, that data is only available in some aggregate form and even that rarely trickles down to the recruiters who are responsible for building the candidate slates. On top of the lack of data access, we are seeing trends of candidates and hires not self-reporting. Many people – particularly in younger generations – want to be evaluated on skills rather than inherited traits or personal choices.

Little access to data… forced decisions… poor data collection… it’s no wonder Diversity and Inclusion initiatives are a constant topic of discussion. Everyone is struggling and no one has found the silver bullet.

[A Recruiting Utopia: How to design a recruiting process that removes all unconscious bias]

What tactics are you investing in this year to enhance inclusion?

At most of our meetings throughout the year, we asked this question. There is no simple answer but the common theme among all groups is that if you are trying to make evidence-based decisions, targeting people from a variety of sources, and using a diverse cast of actors within your process (recruiters, hiring managers, interviewers, etc.) then you should start seeing differences in diversity hiring numbers. After that, it’s time to partner with Talent Management to strengthen true inclusion efforts within your organization.


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