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How to Increase Diversity in Hiring Without ‘Lowering the Bar’
Diversity in hiring is a trend that has been gaining momentum in the recent past. As inclusivity protests from minority and underrepresented groups increase, many employers are willing to embrace social change in the workplace. However, many employers have the notion that building a diverse team might mean settling for less qualified individuals to fulfill the moral obligation. But this should never be the case.
It might interest you to know that you don’t have to lower the bar so that more diverse candidates can rise above the mark. With the right strategies and efforts in your recruiting process, you can attract and even hire individuals from diverse backgrounds purely on a merit basis. Before we get on how you can improve the hiring process to build a diverse team, it is important that you understand what diversity in hiring really is.
Understand the meaning of diversity in hiring
Contrary to what many employers believe, the goal of diversity in hiring isn’t to ensure that each group of people is represented in the workplace regardless of their abilities. Rather, it is primarily merit-based with an aim of hiring the best possible candidates to mirror the general social structure around.
Diversity in hiring involves structuring the hiring process to remove all biases with the aim of ensuring all candidates are given an equal opportunity. The hiring process is given more emphasis on intercepting preference, or otherwise, on candidates based on their age, religion, race, sexual orientation among other personal characteristics that do not affect their abilities.
Understand the benefits of a diverse team
Understanding how a diverse team can be beneficial to your business is the first step in kicking you out of the comfort zone to embrace diversity in hiring. Knowing what is in it for you can help you see diversity in hiring as more than obeying the law or fulfilling the moral obligation. Here are some benefits that come with diverse teams:
- It brings diverse talents, skills, and experiences together – When different talents, skills, and experiences come together working towards a common goal, employees learn from one another, fresh ideas come up and there are diverse solutions to problems. This results in increased productivity, creativity, and innovation as well as better decision-making and problem-solving.
- Increased language and cultural knowledge – These are very important in attracting and retaining customers. Modern consumers are more comfortable working with people they can identify with. The more diverse your team is, the wider the range of customers you can attract. That means increased sales and profits.
- Increased reputation – Customers view a company that gives chances to different people as morally outstanding. In addition, it makes you an ideal employer in the eyes of job seekers.
Now that you understand the benefits, how can you get started on building a diverse team?
Set diversity goals and targets
Setting diversity goals and targets starts by first analyzing your workforce to identify areas that you need improvement. If your team has fewer women, do you think more input from women employees could benefit your company? Is your workforce primarily composed of older employees? Who will take over when they retire? Is your sales team made up of people from one community such that other communities are shying away from your products?
Answering such questions can help you come up with various metrics that you need to improve. Pick each metric and come up with an actionable goal. For instance, you can set a goal to increase women engineers by 10% in 12 months.
Hiring freelancers to increase diversity
Freelance work is a game-changer for many companies who have been looking to scale their businesses globally. In the past, it was costly and time-consuming to set up an office in another country but with freelancers, you can tap into global markets overnight by hiring local talent that is able to fulfill jobs across different regions on demand.
This directly affects the diversity level of your company. There are many platforms where you can rely to find scientific freelancers for your demands. Use such services and find the right people for you, the ones with the right experience to fit the needs of your company.
Be clear on what you want
You can’t say that you are hiring on a merit basis if you have no clear picture of what you want for the role. Moreover, unconscious bias is bound to creep in without a standard profile of the ideal candidate in place. Look at a role from all angles and state the skills and qualifications that are required. It is also important to define how the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ look like for each skill. This way, you will know what is acceptable and what is not. Most importantly, give further thought to what each skill needed means for the role and why it is important.
Improve the hiring process
It is natural to instantly connect with people who are like you and end up gravitating your preference towards them regardless of how they fared in the job interview. You may also dislike a candidate based on past experiences with a certain group of people that he or she belongs to. And that might affect your judgment on the candidate despite him or her being the best fit. To ensure that such unconscious bias doesn’t affect your hiring, it is important to improve your recruitment process. Here are some suggestions:
- Diversify your sourcing by creating job ads that encourage people from different backgrounds to apply. In addition, post the job ad in various groups where you are likely to find diverse people. It also helps to ask your diverse employees for referrals.
- Increase diversity in screening and shortlisting by using blind resumes and interviews. Use AI to remove any personal information from resumes and have candidates answer interview questions anonymously. In addition, ask the same questions to all candidates and have clear rating criteria.
- Outsource the hiring process – A third party would rarely have a personal interest in your business. Rarely would unconscious bias creep in. The focus would be to hire the best candidates for you as per the mandate. In addition, such experts have extensive networks and diverse ways to source candidates which widens the talent pool. Consider outsourcing this process to an employer of record for these benefits
As seen above, you have a lot to gain from a diverse team. But that doesn’t mean that you lower the bar to ensure that more people from different backgrounds make the cut. You can achieve your diversity goals by making changes to the way you hire. Define your diversity goals and set targets, create the perfect profile for the role and rethink your hiring strategy.