Advancing Diversity And Inclusion From End To End

Diversity is not a single point of effort. It’s not as simple as requiring training classes or building an internal committee. To support diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) in the long run, these initiatives must be integrated into processes throughout an organization. That means incorporating DEIB into every strategy and solution in place, including the HR tech stack.

If the existing process includes anything like someone picking out names or resumes that “sound diverse,” chances are the organization isn’t addressing diversity beyond face value. To start making improvements, we need to take a long, hard look at every level of current efforts to attract, recruit and retain diverse employees — along with existing employee engagement activities — to fully understand how to make the organization a supportive space for all. Because in truth, “challenging the status quo requires determination, bold decisions and structural transformation. It requires extraordinary effort, including cultural and behavioral changes, to make a difference… A diverse, equitable and inclusive environment feeds the success and advancement of all employees.”

Responding To Trends By Prioritizing Diversity

The pandemic exacerbated specific recruiting problems. With a higher volume of applicants than ever before, companies struggled to keep up. Many wanted to promote DEIB and distinguish their organization as a great place to work, but only 12% of HR leaders feel they have effectively increased representation. Where do HR and talent acquisition teams go from here? How do we prioritize diversity while managing higher applicant volumes?

The technology we use to do this has never been more critical. The switch to predominantly online recruiting has highlighted the need for more innovation to facilitate hiring. Though most expect a return to in-person at some point, there remains increased interest in building talent acquisition strategies that accommodate the hybrid, virtual and physical worlds while prioritizing DEIB. Technology will help get us there.

The first key is to make sure you genuinely understand your talent pipeline, with benchmarks in place to ensure DEIB becomes hardwired into your talent acquisition processes and insights become embedded into your dashboards to provide visualization about how your organization is doing at meeting the expectations of your organization leaders.

Every stage of the recruiting funnel offers an opportunity for DEIB. Here’s how:

1. Attract: How we initiate contact with candidates has never been so critical. From the language that we use to the brand we convey, expectations should be set and managed. We need to communicate who we are as an organization and what we offer candidates in terms of experience and engagement. Today’s candidates are eager to join organizations that align with what they value. The attraction stage allows employers to demonstrate across social media, events, job advertising and the like. Technology makes it possible to personalize this outreach. Thus, engaging a diverse group of candidates while applying embedded analytics and proactive recommendation ensures postings get written inclusively, elevating DEIB efforts.

2. Assess: When assessments are a necessary part of your shortlisting process, think about how you can make sure that these are not adding bias into the process and allowing for undue favoritism or nepotism in the hiring process. Consider how you can automate the assessment scoring so that panelists can submit scores without any prejudice from fellow assessors. Also, consider if data science techniques could be virtually scoring assessments to compare with that of a physical assessor. That could help identify any unconscious biases that impact DEIB.

3. Select: After the initial engagement, recruiters need to keep candidates engaged as they move forward through screening and selection. We can do that by reducing the usual back-and-forth by scoring candidates on their skills and competencies rather than names and contact information and deploying analytics and artificial intelligence to monitor and remove biases in our decision-making. The ability to automate scheduling lightens the administrative load as candidates progress onto interviews, assessments and reference checks. Candidate experience can be as important as revenue generation.

4. Hire: While the decision to hire one candidate over another is crucial, so is what happens next, and all too often, the commitment to DEIB ends at the offer. We need to move away from that thinking, making it part of the offer, preboarding, onboarding and, ultimately, employee experience. That’s why some believe onboarding should be an “acculturation” process that lasts months, if not longer. Employers risk losing top candidates and ultimately hires when they don’t make this a priority.

End-To-End Diversity

Organizations that succeed in DEIB employ an end-to-end approach that starts with data-driven recruiting with an end-to-end diversity tech stack. For these organizations, DEIB is a core competency, with cultural intelligence ingrained in the bones of the business and reinforced at every stage of the candidate and employee life cycle.

Advanced recruiting technologies do more than automate the tech stack. They deliver a world-class experience to everyone involved. To be world-class in terms of DEIB, we need to think beyond the foundational. It’s not enough to check all of the boxes. We need to create an infrastructure that supports diversity initiatives at every level, walking the talk inside and outside the organization.

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