Now more than ever, the importance of diversity in the workplace is being highlighted. It’s always been an asset to companies, enabling them to draw on a broad array of experiences, perspectives and skills that ultimately benefit the company as a whole. However, it’s now recognised and prioritised more than ever before. Research suggests more diverse companies perform better financially and rank higher for innovation. Having a diverse selection to pick from helps you to choose the right person for the job. Having a diverse pipeline in place and carrying out detailed DBS checks to vet the person you’re bringing on board saves time in the recruitment process.
Here are four steps for building a diverse talent pipeline that reflects the richness of society and can elevate your business.
#1: Train Recruiters on Best Hiring Practices
People often hire in their own image. Right from the recruitment process, there may be severe barriers to entry stopping diverse talent from applying or being accepted for your roles. Equip the people who recruit in your company with the necessary tools to be more aware of the unconscious biases they may hold and how this affects their hiring decisions. Training recruiters on what biases to look out for impacts how inclusive the hiring process becomes.
Where possible, remove the potential for unconscious biases to impact decisions, such as removing all identifying details including names, ages or ethnicity from applicant’s CVs. This blind recruitment helps to remove bias in those initial phases of the recruitment process.
Identifying potential biases is the first step in removing them and equipping recruiters with the knowledge to make more inclusive decisions. This will impact the diversity of your talent pipeline and who ends up joining your company.
#2: Build and Diversify Your Networks
Another step for building a diverse talent pipeline is broadening your networks. Reaching people that you may not otherwise allow you to broaden the people interacting with your roles and gives you access to a much wider range of talent. To do this, you need to step back from what and who you know and look for other networks that you’re not yet tapping into.
If you’re unsure where to start, research organisations that help businesses reach new networks. These could be management consultancies or organisations such as Creative Access who help people from under-represented backgrounds thrive in the creative industries. Use the resources already out there, and the groups that specifically work to join up under-represented groups with businesses.
Having new networks to reach out to when roles come up in your company will diversify your talent pool and allow you to interact with many talented candidates that you would otherwise miss.
#3: Look at Your Job Adverts and Other Company Communications
Your company communications provide the external face of the company. The tone, wording and images used in your social media, website and job adverts provide an insight into what your company stands for and what it may be like to work for. If more diverse talent don’t see themselves represented or considered in company communications, this can put them off from applying for your advertised roles or joining your business. Look at your comms with fresh eyes, perhaps get an outside perspective, to assess the impact and impression that your social media, website and job adverts are creating. How can you begin to speak to a wider pool and show that your company is open, welcoming and inclusive?
When assessing your job adverts, think about how they’re worded and how that may put certain people off. Consider what you’re asking for, and which of those things are completely necessary for the role. For example, if you’re listing a very rigid set of qualifications, or asking for 5+ years of experience, this may inadvertently be narrowing your scope and putting off more diverse candidates from even applying. Is it possible for you to remove some of these barriers to entry and focus more on potential or transferable skills that can be brought to the role? If so, you may attract a wider pool of applicants who would be just as good in the job, but who your narrow job adverts have been putting off.
Ask yourself, how are you making diverse talent feel wanted and desired in your communications? Answering this question, and changing in response to what you may discover, is a vital first step in getting talent to take you seriously as a potential employer.
#4: Invest in Retention
Another important tip for how to build a diverse talent pipeline is to invest in retention once more diverse talent have accepted roles in your company. This requires looking at how inclusive your progression is. If more diverse talent enters your company, but cannot see themselves reflected at all levels, and feel stunted in their growth or progression, they are likely to become disengaged and leave. Attracting diverse talent, but doing nothing to support them once they’re in place will quickly lead to you losing them. Invest in creating an inclusive environment for all of your staff to ensure they are happy, supported and able to do their best work.
In conclusion, putting the time and effort into having an engaged and diverse talent pool to hire from will save you time and money when it comes to future hires. Investing in interviewer training, building your networks and assessing what impression your external communications give will all help you build a diverse talent pool to choose from. And investing in that talent once they join your organisation will go a long way in ensuring your company is truly inclusive from the ground up.