Sun Apr 09 2023

Strategies for Building an Inclusive Workplace

Maryam Khurram
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Tech talent diversity is a critical issue many companies are facing, with the problem particularly acute in this field. For example, in 2021, there were 14% fewer women in entry-level engineering or product positions and 15% fewer in first-level manager positions compared to non-technical roles.

The reasons for this shortfall are complex and varied. Poorly worded job descriptions and unfamiliarity with inclusive interview techniques are just a few examples. Other issues, such as accountability and goal specificity, contribute to the problem, even in companies with the best intentions.

To address this challenge, companies must prioritize building a diversity recruiting strategy. This includes addressing socio-economic, educational and neurodiversity, as well as other factors. 

Research shows that companies with diverse senior leadership outperform their competitors and are more successful at attracting top talent. Highly sought-after technical talent may refuse job offers or not even consider companies they perceive as non-inclusive.

Given the fierce competition for technical talent, businesses cannot afford to ignore the diversity opportunity in the recruiting process. It must be integral to any serious technology ambition, from recruitment to retention.

With businesses struggling to find and keep technical talent, companies cannot afford to leave any stone unturned. 

This article aims to highlight some of the best diversity recruitment strategies for a more inclusive workforce. 

Learn more: 4 Best Tests to Screen Developer Skills Before Hiring

Why is Recruiting Diverse Talent Important?

For a good reason, the business world is increasingly embracing workforce diversity. It is a moral imperative and offers numerous tangible benefits, such as a broader range of skills and experience, increased cultural awareness, and access to more extensive, varied and qualified candidates. 

Research shows that diverse teams are more effective at problem-solving, avoiding confirmation bias, and fostering creativity and innovation, leading to better decisions and results.

The statistics speak for themselves:

  • Companies with diverse management teams are 21% more likely to achieve high profitability.

  • Diverse companies are 17% more likely to be innovation leaders in their market segments.

  • 3 out of 4 employees prefer to work for a diverse company.

  • Diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform financially than less-diverse competitors.

Given these benefits, diversity recruitment strategies are crucial for improving team performance and driving innovation in your industry.

Learn more: 10 Reasons to Outsource Talent Recruitment For Your Business

Diversify Your Workforce: Inclusive Recruitment Practices

- Integrate Equity and Inclusion into Your Overall Talent Program

Many companies recognize the importance of having diverse tech talent, but all too often, it becomes just another task to check off a list amidst an already overwhelming workload. 

Even incentivizing recruiters to bring in more diverse candidates has not yielded significant results. As a result, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts fall short.

To avoid this outcome, a senior tech leader should be held responsible and accountable for integrating DEI into the entire talent-management approach. 

While HR can support this person, it cannot lead the effort, as it lacks an understanding of tech needs or standing in the tech community to lead effectively.

The DEI tech leader is critical in integrating DEI into a company's talent-management processes. 

This could include integrating DEI key performance indicators (KPIs) into the overall talent dashboard, making DEI goals part of employees' performance reviews, and incorporating DEI perspectives into training materials. 

The ultimate goal of recruiting diverse talent is to make DEI a natural part of the business flow rather than a separate initiative.

- Be Relevant to Diverse Talent

Recruiters must understand their unique needs and priorities to attract and retain diverse employees. Successful companies update their Employee Value Proposition (EVP) to include core DEI values such as work-life balance, job-advancement opportunities, and inclusive recruitment practices. 

Additionally, companies should feature diverse talent in all company materials and test their EVPs with internal affinity groups and diverse professional communities.

- Craft Inclusive Job Descriptions

Job descriptions can also be a key area of improvement. Poorly written job descriptions and a lack of familiarity with interview techniques can significantly impact diversity recruitment strategies. 

To attract a more diverse pool of candidates, it's crucial to write job descriptions that are inclusive and free from gender or industry preference. Using gender-neutral language and avoiding industry jargon is a great starting point. 

Short and concise sentences and bolded fonts can make job postings easier to read and accessible for all candidates, including those with visual impairments or dyslexia.

For instance, Zillow Group's job postings attracted 10-11% more female applicants by using certain words. 

Additionally, it's important to highlight job responsibilities over requirements and avoid making degrees mandatory when they are not essential for the role.

By incorporating inclusive language in job descriptions, employers can attract a more diverse mix of candidates and help create a more inclusive workplace.

Therefore, companies should aim to test, deploy, and iterate their job descriptions to ensure they are inclusive and appealing to diverse candidates. Hence, it is best to use a job description generator to write such JDs.

Learn more: 8 Tips For Hiring a Software Developer For a Startup

- Revamp the Sourcing Net

To achieve a diverse workforce, companies must broaden their search for talent beyond traditional institutions and look to nontraditional sources. 

Rather than relying on the same schools or universities, expand the search to community colleges, technical schools, and underrepresented coding-community affinity groups. Additionally, partnering with organizations that specialize in sourcing diverse talent can be a valuable resource.

Supporting DEI nonprofits and coding academies can also effectively build digital literacy and tech aptitude, especially for underrepresented groups such as women and Blacks. 

IBM, for example, is partnering with historically black colleges and universities to build a Quantum Center that provides students with access to IBM quantum computers and research opportunities.

Another approach is identifying and reaching out to diverse talent earlier in their careers or school lives. For example, companies can sponsor STEM scholarships for diverse talent and create programs like hackathons to allow underrepresented talent to learn more about technology professions. 

Some companies have even partnered with affinity groups for people of color to reach out to first- and second-year university students, building relationships early through campus clubs, mentoring circles, and monthly events.

Expanding the geographic focus is also essential. For example, instead of recruiting solely from tech-talent cities like San Francisco, consider cities with a high representation of technical talents, such as the Asian regions. 

Widening the talent pool in this way has proved fruitful for companies looking to attract diverse talent

In short, seek out various sources when sourcing talent, including nontraditional institutions, diversity-focused organizations, and underrepresented coding-community affinity groups. 

Incorporating inclusive recruitment practices requires companies to broaden their reach and connect with diverse talent early on in their careers or education, allowing for a more diverse pool of candidates.

- Link Managerial Goals to Organizational Diversity Goals

To achieve diversity and inclusion in tech within a company, it is not enough to simply have representation on the surface level. Instead, organizational leadership must continuously foster an inclusive environment for retaining diverse employees. 

To achieve this, managerial goals and objectives should be linked to organizational diversity recruitment strategies. This will create accountability when assessing goals and ensuring leadership actively works towards a more diverse workplace.

- Crafting Recruitment Ads to Attract Diverse Talent

Crafting inclusive and diverse recruitment ads is an important step toward attracting candidates from various backgrounds. Therefore, utilizing paid advertising channels such as Facebook and LinkedIn can effectively reach a broader pool of candidates.  

Besides that, sharing the company's diversity credentials in job advertisements can demonstrate a commitment to creating a diverse workforce and attracting a broad pool of candidates. 

By crafting recruitment ads that are inclusive and diverse, companies can increase their chances of attracting a diverse range of candidates.

- Enhance the Success of Diversity Initiatives by Providing New Hires with Mentors

Providing new hires with a mentor is one of the most effective ways to ensure that diversity recruitment strategies are successful. Mentors can guide new employees in their first days on the job and serve as valuable resources during transition and challenge.

Mentorship programs are highly effective at fostering diversity in the workplace as the relationships formed are built on mutual respect and trust. 

Mentees view their mentors as powerful role models, while mentors tend to feel more motivated and enthusiastic when they work with people who share their values and interests. 

Offering a range of benefits, including mentorship programs, can be instrumental in retaining diverse employees and differentiating a company as an inclusive and supportive workplace.

Mentors can help new hires learn how to navigate the office, develop professional relationships, and offer valuable insights into success at the company. This can be especially helpful for attracting diverse candidates from outside the industry.

- Invest in Your Team's Career Development

Investing in your team's career and skills development can lead to increased knowledge and expertise that can help their advancement, as well as the overall success and growth of the company. 

Only 52 women are promoted to tech managers for every 100 men, compared to 86 women for every 100 men in overall managerial positions. 

This is why many women leave their jobs, called the "broken rung" problem. Assuring diverse employees have the skills they need for advancement can be achieved by providing them with training opportunities and structured guidance. 

Helping with career advancement also includes revisiting policies to see if they create barriers. 

Further research shows that 46% of people are more likely to leave a position if they see no opportunities for upskilling and reskilling. The cost of turnover is much worse than the cost of improving your existing team. Here are some ways to offer development opportunities:

  • Provide internal training

  • Offer collaborative learning opportunities

  • Provide access to educational resources

  • Offer paid certification courses

  • Make arrangements for tuition reimbursement

By providing these resources, your tech talent will feel supported and motivated, contributing to the company's success. 

Especially with technology constantly evolving, it is essential to keep your team up-to-date with the latest tools and trends. Although this may feel like a significant investment of time and money upfront, these new skills will greatly impact the bottom line and keep your talent happy and engaged.

- Strategically Seed Talent Pipelines with Diverse Candidates

Companies should use a ‘two-in-the-pool’ affect recruitment strategy to increase the likelihood of hiring diverse candidates. This involves intentionally seeding shortlists with a proportionate number of qualified diverse candidates rather than relying on a single representative. This approach levels the playing field and helps to combat decision-making biases.

Companies should ensure that the candidates they seed their pipelines with are qualified and suitable for the role. 

Recruiting diverse talent is about hiring the best person for the job, regardless of their background. Companies can create a more inclusive and diverse workplace by adopting this approach.

- Implement Workplace Diversity Initiatives

To live out values that support diverse hiring practices, companies should proactively implement policies that appeal to candidates from diverse backgrounds. 

This includes changes to time-off and scheduling policies, accommodating religious holidays and community events and offering flexible working hours to encourage continued community involvement.

Management teams should create an environment that encourages open and honest dialogue about the policies that could hinder diversity. By promoting these policies in their sourcing, companies can demonstrate their commitment to diversity recruitment strategies.

- Encourage Minority Recruitment in Tech Through Referrals

Creating a diverse candidate referral program is a great way to showcase a company's commitment to diversity and inclusion in tech. In addition, it allows companies to tap into the networks of their diverse employees, who can share job ads and promote the company in their communities.

Companies can reach out to employees of specific demographics and encourage them to refer to their connections. 

Taking this approach boosts diversity recruitment strategies efforts, enhances overall team morale and engagement, and reinforces the value of each employee's unique perspective.

- Enable Employee Career Growth with Internal Mobility

Your organization can boost employee retention strategies and career satisfaction by providing employees with clear career progression paths and internal recruiting opportunities. 

Keep track of internal mobility data across diverse employee groups to identify and address any obstacles to career growth, such as mentorship or sponsorship programs.

Organizations with high internal mobility have a lower turnover rate, which translates to cost savings and increased productivity. Develop a culture that encourages internal mobility and minority recruitment in tech to retain diverse employees.

- Mitigate Bias with Diverse Interview Panels

Reduce hiring bias by assembling a diverse interview panel that can offer a well-rounded perspective of candidates' qualities and potential. If you lack the resources for a formal panel, gather a group of high-performing employees and conduct a group interview.

Research shows that implementing diverse interview panels can significantly increase the hiring of candidates from underrepresented groups. 

For example, Intel's diverse hiring practices, such as having at least two women and/or underrepresented group members on interview panels, resulted in a 41% increase in diverse hires within two years.

Diversity Best Practices Inclusion Index reveals that 75% of the highest-scoring organizations require diverse interview panels. By prioritizing diversity in the interview process, you can attract and retain diverse talent while mitigating bias.

Bottom Line

To build a team of top tech talent, you'll need to compete with nimble startups and established giants. But the right talent is out there, and partnering with a specialized recruitment talent cloud can make the negotiation and screening process smoother.

A wealth of diverse tech talent is available, and companies can tap into it by expanding their approach to hiring. This is where Remotebase can help! Our services can help you connect with the best tech talent and build a team within 24 hours to help your business succeed.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is diversity-based recruitment?

Diversity recruitment strategies or diversity hiring is a fair and unbiased hiring approach that ensures no individual is evaluated based on age, gender, race, sexual orientation, preferences, or any other personal attributes unrelated to the job requirements.

What is the most effective method of recruiting an applicant?

One of the most efficient techniques for recruiting applicants is through employee referrals. Referred candidates are highly committed and productive and exhibit a lower attrition rate.

What is the preferred method for recruitment?

Posting job ads on job boards is a fast recruitment method that can yield immediate applications due to their broad coverage. In addition, leading job sites such as LinkedIn, Monster, and Indeed have a large pool of applicants, which can benefit lesser-known organizations.

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