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Developing Your Diversity Sourcing Strategy

“When we’re talking about diversity, it’s not a box to check,” American filmmaker Ava DuVernay famously stated,  “It is a reality that should be deeply felt and held by all of us.” Diversity hiring should be so much more than a checklist. Creating a workplace that authentically welcomes all points of view, differences, and experiences leads to an environment where people feel safe being authentic. Authenticity is key to success, growth, and innovation in today's rapidly evolving world.

A diverse workforce is more productive. It’s more creative. Increased diversity in leadership leads to improved financial performance. Imagine a workplace where ideas from various backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives converge, fostering an environment of creativity and understanding.  We all want this, yet building a diverse workforce requires more than good ideas or a copy-and-paste solution. Start by clearly identifying what your business is trying to achieve, considering organizational culture and context, and carefully aligning plans with organizational goals.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you set out to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace:

Codify Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DE&I) into Your Firm’s Policies

Creating an inclusive culture starts with more than just a few diversity workshops. It requires embedding diversity, equity, and inclusion into the core of your organization's DNA. Start by setting a baseline- where does your organization stand now? Where do you want to be? This blog post about the Inclusion Framework will help you understand your company’s current position and desired future state. Then, create buy-in, implement a strategy, measure results, track progress, and adjust as needed. Remember that change takes time and you might not see results immediately, but it’s worth the time and effort.

Lead by Example

Leadership buy-in is important to DEI success, and this involves more than simply being committed to diversity hiring. What is your long-term DEI mission? As leaders, it's imperative to set an example that radiates inclusivity. Actions speak louder than words, and when employees see their leadership team genuinely valuing diversity, they're more likely to feel empowered to do the same. This starts with things as simple as modeling inclusive behaviors, engaging with and creating open dialogue where diverse perspectives and experiences are heard and valued, and treating everyone with respect. If bias or discrimination emerges, address it immediately. This will do wonders in creating an inclusive company culture. 

This webinar about addressing unconscious bias in the workplace may give you some ideas about how to lead DEI efforts within your organization.

Diversity Hiring Success= Set and Track Measurable Goals

In order to achieve and measure success, consider setting SMART Goals. SMART Goals help you focus your efforts and achieve success by keeping your criteria Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. You can find some examples of DEI SMART Goals here. After you set measurable goals, it’s time to track key performance indicators. When diversity becomes a quantifiable objective, it's easier to gauge progress and make necessary adjustments. It’s hard to gauge strategic effectiveness if you don’t know what goals to track and quantify.

Give Employees Ways to Provide Anonymous Feedback

Feedback is the cornerstone of growth. Offering employees a platform to voice their concerns and suggestions anonymously can unveil insights that might otherwise remain hidden. Creating this avenue for feedback not only ensures diverse voices are heard but also fosters a sense of psychological safety within the workplace—a crucial ingredient for inclusivity. There are numerous anonymous survey tools out there. With a little research, you can find the free or paid option ideal for your organization.

Diversity Sourcing Strategy: How to Increase Diversity Through Your Recruiting Practices

Building a diverse team isn't just about hiring employees with differences; it's about fostering an environment that welcomes and celebrates differences. A diverse workforce brings varied skills, perspectives, and experiences to the table, propelling your organization toward innovation and adaptability. To achieve this, your recruiting practices must evolve. Is diversity sourcing top of mind in your organization this year? Be sure to check out this blog post, How to Recruit Diverse Candidates, for some great information.

Here are a few things to consider as you plan and implement your diversity candidate attraction strategy:

Audit Your Job Postings and Descriptions for Inclusive Language

Language can either invite or discourage candidates from diverse backgrounds from applying. An audit of your job postings and descriptions ensures that the language used doesn't inadvertently exclude talent. Will candidates from varied backgrounds understand the daily responsibilities, what exactly the hiring manager is looking for, and then determine if this is a job for them? Many candidates, especially women, won’t apply if they don’t possess every skill listed on the job posting, so be careful to only include necessary requirements. Including years of experience may also hinder qualified candidates from applying. Words matter, and using inclusive language can make a significant impact on the diversity of your applicant pool. This article from SHRM offers valuable insight into how to write inclusive job postings.

Diversity Candidate Strategy Utilizing Relevant Job Boards

Diverse candidates often seek job opportunities on platforms that cater specifically to their backgrounds, so if you want to build a diverse workforce then posting job openings on these platforms can significantly increase the visibility of your job postings among your target audience. Are there minority organizations in your area that provide diversity hiring resources or services? That may be a good place to start. Here are a handful of diverse job boards where you can connect with diverse professionals.

Create a Candidate Referral Program

Your current employees can be powerful allies in your quest for a more diverse workforce. By establishing a candidate referral program, you can tap into their networks, broadening the range of potential applicants and increasing the chances of finding candidates from underrepresented groups. Satisfied employees are a powerful recruitment tool and may help you tap into more diverse candidate pools than your typical recruiting efforts yield.

Offer Internships for Members of Various Groups

Providing internships to individuals from diverse backgrounds not only helps in skill development but also acts as a gateway to future full-time employment. It's a tangible way to create opportunities and cultivate talent. This article from HCA Magazine discusses why you should include internships in your DEI strategy and why it's an effective way to build a diverse workforce.

Cultivate an Employer Brand that Emphasizes Diversity

Your employer brand speaks volumes about your organization's values. By telling stories of real individuals who've overcome adversity and now contribute their unique perspectives at your company, you create an authentic brand that resonates with potential candidates seeking inclusivity and purpose. A strong employer brand is a vital part of your diversity sourcing strategy.

Orion Talent’s #PeopleWithPurpose Podcast featuring Vitesco Technologies showcases how this company creates a purpose-driven and inclusive culture where employees can bring their authentic selves to work. Read the podcast overview here or listen to the full episode.

When Reading Resumes, Go in Blind

Unconscious biases can inadvertently influence hiring decisions. By going in blind during the initial resume review, you level the playing field and focus solely on the candidate's qualifications, skills, and experiences.

Implement Blind Interview Practices During the Early Phases

Blind interviews—where identifying information is concealed—can help to evaluate candidates based purely on their responses and abilities. This practice minimizes bias and ensures that each candidate is evaluated fairly.

This fascinating article in Harvard Business Review discusses when blind hiring advances DEI and when it doesn’t. Worth a read!

DEI is Essential to Success 

In today's interconnected world, diversity and inclusion are not just commendable; they're essential to success. Building a culture that embraces differences isn't a one-time task—it's an ongoing commitment that requires sincere effort and dedication. From codifying DEI principles into policies to revolutionizing recruitment practices as part of a tailored diversity candidate sourcing strategy, every step you take is a stride towards a brighter, more inclusive future. By fostering a culture where everyone's unique story is celebrated, we're not just building a diverse workforce; we're nurturing a community of innovation, empathy, and progress.

Be sure to check out more articles in our DEI series as you continue your journey. The Inclusion Framework: Creating an Inclusive Company Culture is an excellent place to start.  If you’re not sure where to start or could use a little help along the way building a more diverse workforce, creating diversity hiring goals, or connecting with diversity candidates, be sure to check out Orion Talent’s HirePurpose® Diversity Sourcing and Talent Attraction Solution. We connect industry-leading companies with diverse job seekers desiring an inclusive workplace while helping our clients build a culture where all employees can bring their authentic selves to work each day.

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