Diversity & Inclusion, Recruiting

If You Want More Exceptional Job Candidates, Develop a Culture That Supports DEI

Several factors are making hiring so difficult. First, the market favors jobseekers like never before. According to a survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 3.7% of jobseekers received four job offers between November 2021 and March 2022. Nearly 20% had at least one employment offer in the same period.

The second factor is the strain on HR departments. Many companies have a number of open positions but not enough applicants. The number of new jobs posted on CareerPlug alone increased by 49% from 2020 to 2021, but applications plummeted by 30%. As a result, HR teams are scrambling to keep their organizations fully staffed and fill knowledge gaps.

The final reason for today’s hiring dilemmas is an outcropping of the first and second factors. Many companies have outsourced their recruitment efforts in order to find talented candidates. However, these recruitment providers have become depleted. To compensate, they’ve increased their costs and service fees.

The solution to these hiring challenges likely won’t come from outside sources. HR teams must leverage their companies’ differentiators to ease hiring woes and smooth candidate friction points. Bolstering their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives is a great place to start.

The Power Behind Thoughtful DEI Programs

Building an inclusive workplace culture that embraces diversity at all levels has always been important. However, society has entered a new stage of maturity when it comes to expectations around corporate DEI programs.

As such, an increasing number of individuals are actively seeking to work at places with cultures of inclusion. A 2021 survey by CNBC and SurveyMonkey found that almost 80% of workers felt it was important to work for companies that prioritized DEI.

Based on that finding, HR leaders would be wise to extend their diversity and inclusion initiatives beyond “just HR programs.” Instead, they need to consider DEI as an executive-sponsored priority that’s not only good to do but also necessary.

Below are some ways HR and recruitment teams can incorporate DEI programs companywide to generate more outside interest from high-level talent:

1. Have DEI conversations with corporate leaders and stakeholders.

There are many misconceptions and opinions regarding DEI. The only way to address all the questions and get the team on the same page is by opening the door to communication with all leadership members. Remember that diversity and inclusion programs often don’t work without executive buy-in.

If you’re unsure about all the facets of DEI yourself, seek educational materials. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers members access to a free DEI Playbook. Hummingbird Humanity also provides free resources and assistance to organizations and professionals interested in embracing diversity initiatives.

2. Ask employees what diversity and inclusion mean to them.

According to the Josh Bersin Academy report “Elevating Equity: The Real Story of Diversity and Inclusion,” listening to employees is the best predictor of excellence for organizations. Listening empathetically and responding with consideration help companies become more naturally inclusive.

Listening is a valuable skill set for HR leaders, and it can lift your diversity practices. It also helps ensure that diverse employees feel included in the culture they’ve joined, which can lower the chance of turnover and lead to other corporate gains.

3. Update your job postings and recruitment efforts.

Many job descriptions look good on paper but end up having unnecessary barriers for many candidates. For instance, does an applicant really need 10 years of experience, or would 3 years be adequate? Giving all job postings a refresh through a DEI lens can increase the number of applications you receive.

Then, do everything possible to eliminate biases during the recruitment process. Remove names from résumés before presenting them to hiring managers, and create standard interview processes complete with structured questions and set scorecards. Reflect on each recruitment step to see if it’s helping or hurting your talent acquisition from a DEI perspective.

4. Source talent from nontraditional candidate pools.

It’s difficult to amass a team of diverse employees without looking beyond traditional job boards. Search through diverse sources like historically black colleges and universitiesHispanic-serving institutionsBender Consulting Services, and Veteran Recruiting.

At the same time, look for diversity in your contingent workforce population. Hiring contingent workers from a staffing partner will enable you to more easily engage people with diverse experiences, backgrounds, and industries. Plus, the contingent workers you hire will likely come from different candidate sources, making them even more of an asset to your organization’s DEI.

In light of the current obstacles to recruiting and hiring workers, HR teams must do more to attract highly skilled talent. It’s time to hone and elevate your DEI programs so you can win over more job applicants.

Tania Fiero is the chief HR officer at Innovative Employee Solutions (IES), a global employer of record in more than 150 countries that specializes in payrolling and contractor management services for today’s contingent workforce. Founded in 1974 in San Diego, IES has grown into one of the city’s largest women-owned businesses and has been named one of its “Best Places to Work” for 10 years in a row.