Improving DEI with a Focus on Diversity Recruitment

Diversity recruiting has become a hot topic for many hiring teams, and yet, our own studies have found 44% of companies find it difficult to prioritize DEI among other business objectives. While it’s rare your talent acquisition team won’t want to increase diversity through your recruitment practices, it’s easier said than done.

A diverse workforce benefits everyone—and it’s not just good for your business, it is good business. Let’s consider a few facts about diverse workforces that showcase why diversity recruiting is crucial:

  • 67% of employees consider workplace diversity an important factor when considering employment offers with a new company
  • Studies have found that anonymized recruiting can help increase the likelihood of hiring more diverse teams, up to 46% when hiring women
  • Companies with racially diverse teams tend to outperform others lacking in diversity—up to 35%
  • 58% of employees wouldn’t apply to a company where there’s a pay gap

Driving more inclusive and diverse recruitment practices is a top priority for most organizations (50%) given the benefits that DEI holds for both employers and employees alike.

In this article, we’re going to walk you through the key ways your team can improve diversity through your recruitment practices, along with 8 best practices you can implement today. Let’s dive in.

benefits of a diverse workforce

Start by setting the right goals for your team

We speak with hundreds of recruiters and talent acquisition leaders looking to improve DEI across their entire hiring pipeline. And, while their goals are noble, often they’re also unrealistic. That’s because many organizations rush to create a checklist of goals or initiatives rather than focusing on a strategy that benefits everyone in the long term. Thinking of DEI as a one-and-done initiative is what sets many hiring teams up for failure.

Instead, you’ll need to set goals that are attainable and also align with your organization’s objectives for increasing diversity in your recruitment practices. Think of these goals as SMART goals, ones your team can work consistently towards rather than checking items off of a list.

When it comes to creating SMART goals for your DEI initiatives, consider how you can apply the SMART model to your hiring and recruitment.

  • Specific—your goals should be simple yet specific enough that there’s no confusion as to what your team is trying to achieve
  • Measurable—each goal should be measurable, something you can monitor the progress of
  • Achievable—in other words, every goal should be attainable
  • Relevant—are your goals realistic and aligned with your hiring objectives?
  • Time-bound—while your DEI initiatives should be ongoing, recruiting and hiring goals may be more timely or executed against in a specific quarter

Takeaway: Ensure the goals you’re setting to increase diversity in your recruitment practices are rooted in reality. When creating your goals, ask your team how they align with your objectives and what the outcome of each goal will be.

Use data to empower your recruitment practices

DEI is not a project or problem to solve—it’s an ongoing, ever-evolving effort that involves every individual at an organization and touches nearly every aspect of work. To see long-term change, we need to keep moving forward, measuring results, learning from past results, and course-correcting as needed.

This means looking closely at the data and insights that reveal where your strengths and weaknesses lay, along with any gaps or challenges your team is struggling with. To gather these insights, look at the recruiting data you have that revolves around the diversity of candidates, EEO surveys, candidate feedback, and your hiring pipeline. This data can help you answer critical questions about how diverse your recruitment practices actually are, enabling your team to make more data-driven decisions versus hypothesized ones.

In our recent DEI survey, we found that the top 3 metrics employers are using to measure the effectiveness of their diverse recruitment practices include hiring results (57%), surveys (55%), and employee demographics (48%).

Takeaway: Without measuring the progress of your DEI initiatives, there’s no way to qualify your efforts or determine which initiatives are making a true impact across your organization. But it can be tricky to measure these efforts because DEI permeates every aspect of your business, and some areas could yield more opportunities for improvement than others. In addition to the metrics mentioned above, there are other data that employers should consider more heavily, namely insight from offboarding interviews (15%), compensation increase and promotion rates (35%), and retention rates (37%).

Diversify your recruitment tech stack

When looking to improve diversity through your recruitment practices, it’s imperative you integrate DEI into your recruitment stack. Given the critical role that talent acquisition and recruitment play in the growth of your company, a well-rounded, DEI-focused recruiting process will help to eliminate bias and nurture a more inclusive talent acquisition program.

However, as your organization and recruitment efforts scale, your recruitment teams will inevitably look to add more tools to their suite to help them achieve their goals — ones that support your company’s vision for DEI and recruitment initiatives. This series of integrations is what can ultimately make up your DEI tech stack, and it’s vital to your recruiting team’s success and candidate experience.

Building a recruitment tech stack that helps you drive diversity recruiting means looking at the key areas where diversity and inclusivity may be lacking. With innovation in the DEI space comes new integrations and opportunities to drive your inclusive hiring strategy forward. In particular, there are 7 key areas where consistent improvement can help increase equity in your hiring process:

  • Sourcing, job distribution, and referrals
  • Job descriptions
  • Application reviews and screening tools
  • Candidate assessments and tests
  • Individual interviews
  • Data and insights visualization
  • Post-hire initiatives

DEI Tech Stack

Attract a diverse candidate pool

A core part of your recruitment strategy is attracting, nurturing, and hiring top talent for your organization, which is where your candidate relationship management solution comes in (think: LeverCRM). However, it’s tempting to default to using the same channels when sourcing candidates or posting open roles. To ensure you’re broadening your search and exposure to add even more qualified diverse talent to your CRM, leverage new channels or tools that open the doors for a more diverse talent pool and focus on making your job postings more inclusive.

In job descriptions, words matter. And following through with the descriptions you use matters, too. The language and tone you use in your job descriptions can quickly deter candidates from applying to your organization, especially if the language isn’t inclusive. While 72% of managers believe they create effective job descriptions, just 36% of candidates agree. Not only that, but most job seekers will spend a mere 14 seconds deciding whether to apply to a role based on the job description.

Here are a few tips you can use when creating more inclusive job descriptions:

  • Opt for clarity in your job titles
  • Audit descriptions for gender coding
  • Use gender-neutral, inclusive language
  • Forego ‘must-haves’ or requirements (such as educational)
  • Don’t ignore candidates with seen and unseen disabilities
  • Remove jargon or ambiguous terms/phrases from your descriptions

5 ways to increase diversity through your recruitment practices

The need to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts has long been clear, but the COVID-19 pandemic made it even more apparent — and urgent. Fully embracing DEI at your organization means doing more than just hiring people from a variety of backgrounds. A comprehensive commitment to DEI spans every part of the employee lifecycle. From attracting talent all the way through to succession planning, opportunities exist for companies to think bigger and better about DEI — and to make a true impact on their employees. Let’s take a look at 5 ways you can do just that.

1. Measure and Analyze Current Efforts

  • Start by surveying your employees to understand the current state of your initiatives and identify gaps or areas of improvement.
  • Set goals and get c-suite buy-in.
  • Ask open-ended questions in different formats and share the results to foster transparency.

2. Attract and Recruit Diverse Talent

  • Evaluate everything from the images on your site to the language in your job descriptions, to the channels or organizations where you source, then make adjustments to be more inclusive.
  • Consider adding an equity statement to your careers page and gender pronoun options to your interview process.
  • Use automated nurture messages to keep talent engaged, even when hiring is paused.

DEI 8 Pillars

3. Eliminate Bias During Interviews and Hiring

  • Review job descriptions to identify and eliminate any gendered terms.
  • Take time to communicate with prospective hires about your DEI efforts.
  • Use software to hide panel feedback until everyone has completed their own to minimize groupthink.

4. Facilitate Inclusive Onboarding

  • Include an introductory training session explaining DEI definitions and efforts at your company.
  • Highlight portions of your company handbook or policies that are specific to DEI.
  • Connect new hires with employee resource groups (ERGs) or other support groups.

5. Use Analytics to Measure Your Efforts

  • Look at the conversion rate of resumes that passed to the phone screen and compare them with demographic data collected by your ATS.
  • Identify where certain groups become underrepresented in the hiring process — or underpaid as employees.
  • Refine those identified areas and keep tracking to measure improvements.

Ready to increase diversity through your recruitment practices?

When it comes to cultivating a diverse, equitable, inclusive workplace, many teams don’t know where to begin. It’s easy to commit to in writing, but it’s much harder to make concrete improvements to your company culture and recruiting practices. Our essential DEI guide contains key strategies to help teams start making visible progress today, along with learnings and failures from diversity and inclusion leaders at Lyft, Yelp, and many others. Click below to grab your free copy.

DEI Essential Guide

Further reading