7 ideas for creating more diversity in your talent pipeline
A diversity problem is very much a business problem.
But what happens if many of the brightest and best just aren’t that into you? They take one look at your company and conclude “this isn’t the place for the likes of me”.
Or they make initial enquiries - but thanks to unconscious bias and some clumsy talent management, they don’t progress past the initial paper sift.
When it comes to revenue, gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform the market - and for ethnically-diverse companies, that figure rises to 35%.
So whether your talent acquisition is too shallow (too many candidates ruling themselves out) or too ‘leaky’ (objectively suitable applicants falling by the wayside), here are some ideas for fixing it…
Carry out a diversity audit
This avoids a quotas-for-quotas-sake approach. Instead, it involves looking at all areas of your company and identifying how diversity will make your business better.
Could increased diversity help you expand into new demographic or geographic markets? Might it shake things up in your sales department? Could it bring fresh ideas to product development?
With a positive audit, it can become so much easier to achieve buy-in for your diversity initiative. It also informs you which areas of your pipeline to prioritise.
You didn’t mean to build a staid, monochrome organisation - but unfortunately, that’s the impression you’re giving!
If this sounds familiar, there’s a lot to be said for encouraging your HR department to challenge their existing approach through professional development. Courses focusing on inclusive communication and avoiding bias traps can go a long way here.
In some professions, those firms that demonstrate a concrete commitment to inclusion are often entitled to official diversity charter recognition.
If this applies, look carefully at what it takes to achieve that benchmark - and aim for it. On achieving this public recognition, you are effectively setting out your diversity credentials to recruits - as well as to a more diverse client base.
Hardwire diversity into your employer brand
“This is where talented individuals fit in - and it’s where they achieve their career goals”. This is the type of picture you want to paint through your employer branding efforts. So look at whether that picture could be a little more inclusive…
Employee case studies are a good example; career progression information and insider insights from some of your existing star performers. Where possible, make sure underrepresented groups have a definite presence here.
Watch your language
We recently looked at a range of recent recruitment innovations rolled out by pharma giant Johnson & Johnson. Among these was the use of an AI tool to weed out insensitive language in job applications.
From social posts through to job applications, it’s worth having guidelines on this to be followed by all content creators (examples include gender-sensitive pronouns and careless assumptions). Your brand portal is the ideal depository for these guidelines.
If you use a sourcing platform, consider configuring it to enable anonymous candidate selection based on core skills and experience alone. This avoids the situation where recruiters get “a good feeling” about certain candidates for nebulous (and de facto subconsciously biased) reasons.
In the UK, Deloitte takes on around 1,500 graduates a year. The company simply cannot afford to restrict its talent pipeline to a tiny pool of people. So it has a policy of school and university-blind interviewing, whereby the interviewer doesn’t find out where the candidate was educated until after an offer is made.
By advertising this policy, Deloitte sends out the message that “everyone can thrive here”: just what you need to avoid self-deselection by minority candidates.
Diversity as a mindset
LinkedIn’s 2018 Global Recruiting Trends roundup provides further evidence in favour of more action to increase diversity.
While 78% of companies prioritise diversity to improve culture, 62% do it for a more fundamental business reason: they recognise that it boosts financial performance. Diverse teams are more engaged, more innovative and, crucially, more productive: in other words, the business case for diversity is hard to ignore.
The use of inclusive language, empowering employees to tell their stories and the use of employee support groups: according to LinkedIn, these are all in the mix as tactics most commonly deployed by diversity ‘winners’.