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Five Strategies for Building a More Inclusive Workforce

Stephanie Sparks

Candidates today are more emboldened than ever to seek out roles and companies that match their own values. They want a supportive workplace that has an active focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. And they’re willing to pass on roles within companies that do not demonstrate commitment to equity and inclusion.

According to Employ data, 45% of job seekers today want employers to actively focus on social justice and DEI. And 38% of candidates would turn down a job offer if the company lacked diversity in its workforce or had no clear goals for improving diversity.

Employers Should Pay Attention to DEI

Companies that focus on DEI in the workplace increase employee commitment and engagement, and drive greater levels of performance. Those organizations with a diversity of representation in employee ability, gender identity, ethnicity, neurodiversity, familial status, personal beliefs and other areas are more likely to succeed in their industries compared to others that lack this crucial component.

This wider diversity of representation across the organization increases innovation, a sense of belonging, employee happiness, and even the bottom line. It’s become a key metric for success that it’s now an evaluation category for the Fortune 500 list.

Workers today also want their employer to have an active voice in moral and social justice conversations. And they do their homework. Employ data reveals:

  • 81% of candidates check a company’s website for their stance on DEI before applying
  • 71% of candidates review job postings to ensure inclusive language is used
  • 65% of candidates research a company’s stance on social issues
  • 64% of candidates check the company’s website for diversity stats
  • 57% of candidates ask the employer about the culture of DEI at the company in the interview process.

In such a competitive hiring market that favors candidates, companies must clearly communicate their commitment to DEI and demonstrate program effectiveness to attract top talent.

If companies do not prioritize diversity recruiting and create an inclusive culture, it makes them less attractive to potential candidates. So what can employers do to bolster their DEI programs and enhance the inclusiveness of their workforce?

How to Improve DEI in Your Organization

Committing time, resources, and a budget to prioritize DEI can seem challenging at first, but any talent team can improve their organization with the right resources. Here are five key strategies your company can use to increase the diversity of candidate slates and create a more inclusive workplace this year.

#1: Prioritize DEI at Every Level

To create a supportive and inclusive workplace environment, company leaders must come together with recruiting teams to prioritize DEI at every level across the organization. Recruiting strategies should reflect this priority for the business and include a wide variety of employee and community voices. The good news is this year, 51% of HR decision makers plan to increase their technology investments in DEI.

#2: Measure and Improve DEI Effectiveness

Before you commit to trying an entirely new DEI investment, start gathering data and analyzing DEI in your organization. Learn where your hiring practices are successful in recruiting diverse candidates, and where they are not. Measure key recruiting metrics like source of candidate, conversion rates, and candidate engagement to get to know your talent pool. Metrics help to easily pinpoint areas of improvement as well as create tangible goals for DEI in the organization.

#3: Use Inclusive Job Descriptions

Employers and recruiting teams can miss the mark when it comes to posting inclusive job descriptions. Sometimes, job postings feature language that may be offensive or exclusive to diverse candidates. Make sure to prioritize creating more inclusive job descriptions that reduce biased language. Tap into job description grading tools that analyze your job posting and help you overcome recruitment obstacles to attract the best applicants.

#4: Focus on Sourcing Efforts with the DEI Lens

Prioritize finding candidates who are from diverse backgrounds. Look for intelligent sourcing tools that eliminate bias and identify qualified candidates from a variety of sources. Focus on finding diverse candidates from specific groups like veterans, recent college graduates and interns, or active military. Broadcasting your requisition to a variety of job boards and channels will also help ensure a wide range of applicants.

#5: Prioritize and Showcase Inclusive Content

With candidates focusing on the recruitment content presented by employers, make sure all your recruitment marketing messages on career sites, social media, and other forms of outreach demonstrate inclusivity. Prioritize telling employee stories of diverse workers, share community stories, and tap into a variety of viewpoints and lived experiences to showcase your company’s DEI commitment.

Keep DEI a Priority for Your Business

Whether your team is looking to expand an already robust DEI program or is learning how to make it a priority as part of your recruiting efforts, remember, DEI is a journey, not a destination. Ensure you are investing in the people, processes, and technologies to move the needle on your DEI programs and showcase to candidates — and current employees — that you take building a more inclusive, equitable workplace seriously.

For more tips and actionable insights on bolstering DEI in your company, download the new eBook: Why Your Company Should Double Down on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Initiatives This Year.