Develop a DEI Hiring Strategy

Hiring practices have shifted dramatically over the last two years. The Covid-19 pandemic sent workers home in droves, forcing companies to re-evaluate the importance of in-person work. This transition to remote and hybrid work created a whole new set of inequities among employees. This is why building a DEI framework to use at every level of the hiring process is more important than ever. Here are some tips to help you get started.

The Changing Landscape of Work in 2022

Establishing an adequate DEI hiring strategy starts with educating yourself about the unique challenges that members of minority and marginalized groups face in 2022. 

  • Studies have shown that the ability to work from home is a privilege that only 30% of workers possess and that differs across racial and ethnic lines.
  • The shift to at-home work has had a disproportionately negative effect on women, who were more likely to have to bear the brunt of childcare and housework. One study found that over two million women exited the workforce in order to accommodate the childcare needs at home during the pandemic. 
  • Alternatively, the flexibility that remote work provides those with disabilities—which is estimated to be about 26% of the US population—has made workplaces significantly more accessible to some members of the disabled community. 

The Basic Framework of DEI Hiring Strategy

  • Broaden Your Search 
  • Focus on Culture Add, not Culture Fit
  • Invest Time, Money, and Resources. (It’s worth it to get it right!)
  • Outsource to Experts when Possible

Broaden Your Search

Diversifying your applicant pool begins by making the job search and application process more accessible to potential hires.

Here are three simple ways to do this: 

  • Equip your application site with translation options, so that people whose native language isn’t English can see the job, understand the requirements, and apply. 
  • Make sure the application process isn’t unnecessarily difficult for one or more groups of people. For example, requiring a written quiz in order for an applicant to to make it to the next level of hiring could negatively impact someone who has dyslexia (or another learning disability), while not providing any valuable information on their actual ability to perform the job.
  • Be open to changing the job requirements, the benefits offered, and the flexibility of the work environment in order to fit a potential employee’s needs. 

Focus on Culture Add vs. Culture Fit

When hiring new people, there’s a natural tendency for hiring managers to play into “in vs. out” group dynamics. They want to bring someone into the team who will work well with those who are already employed by the company. 

Whatever you do, resist this tendency. 

If your search for new applicants is limited by your desire for them to fit into an existing work culture, bias—conscious or otherwise—will undoubtedly have an effect on your hiring decision. Focus less on how someone will fit into a group, and more on what they will add to the group.

Invest Time, Money, and Resources 

Investing in DEI strategies is investing in your company’s future. You know the benefits of DEI already, so you know your initial investment in DEI initiatives will yield higher profits in the end. Still, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out the best ways to begin allocating your time and money. Here are few ideas to get you started: 

  • Increase diversity within your pool of existing managers. 
  • Conduct research inside your company through a DEI lens to determine specific areas that need improvement.
  • Establish a team dedicated to the creation and implementation of DEI strategies.
  • Outsource hiring to professional, unbiased recruiting firms.

Outsource to Recruiting Experts

The task of implementing these sorts of positive changes into the hiring process can be daunting. But it’s also necessary, in order for companies to grow their profits, expand their portfolios, and keep up with the shifting attitudes of customers and investors. Luckily, they don’t have to do it all on their own. 

Professional recruiting firms such as IsoTalent have already put a lot of work into streamlining a DEI-friendly hiring process. In addition to other services, these firms can help you with the following: 

  • Widening your pool of applicants
  • Reducing conscious and unconscious biases
  • Providing a more widely accessible application process
  • Leveraging tech to improve screening and interviewing tactics

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