In today’s candidate-driven market, the benefits of incorporating a strong Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) strategy into your organization are abundant. It’s difficult enough to attract top talent in this market, but it does not stop there – you have to retain that talent, too. Implementing DE&I initiatives into the workplace is one way to improve your talent attraction and retention processes, which ultimately improves your company’s bottom line.
A recent study by Gartner revealed that “a highly diverse environment can improve team performance by up to 30%. Diversity can also lead to better decision-making and higher profitability. In fact, according to McKinsey & Company, the most diverse companies outperform their less diverse peers by 36% in profitability.” To ensure your organization is successfully incorporating a DE&I strategy, follow the tips in this blog to enhance your commitment to DE&I.
Purchasing from Diverse-Owned Organizations
Sometimes companies only look at one or two areas when they are addressing their Diversity strategies, but they need to expand their horizons if they want to remain competitive in today’s market. The first major area to consider for your DE&I strategy is utilizing diverse-owned organizations to deliver your products and services. An organization is considered diverse-owned when at least 51% is owned and operated by anyone considered to be minorities, veterans, LGBTQ+, women, disabled, etc. Companies should be allocating part of their diverse spend to a supplier diversity program. Sourcing products and services from diverse organizations is a great way to promote diversity and inclusion throughout your organization, from the top-down.
However, companies need to be cautious that they are not working with “pass through” organizations when selecting diverse-owned suppliers. A company is considered a “pass through” organization when they are not the ones actually delivering the products and services that you are procuring – instead, they are purchasing the products and services from another organization (which may not be diverse-owned) and finally passing it onto you. This is why you need to thoroughly vet the suppliers you choose to work with. Be sure to request a copy of their state certification as a diverse-owned business and ask the right questions about where the organization is getting their products and services from so you can be positive that you are supporting diverse-owned businesses and strengthening your DE&I strategy.
Hiring Diverse Individuals
Another area that companies need to take into consideration for their DE&I strategy is talent acquisition. You should start by setting realistic goals for hiring diverse employees across all levels of their workforce. It’s not enough to select a few positions and search for diverse candidates to fill them; TA professionals need to be looking for the most qualified diverse and non-diverse candidates for every role until they find the best fit.
Some companies simply set diverse interview quotas for certain level roles and track hiring patterns on the back end to report diverse hiring numbers, but that’s not enough. Companies should strive to go beyond compliance and truly leverage DE&I as an integral component of their talent acquisition strategy.
Here are some tips for including DE&I in your hiring process:
- Source talent from diverse professional organizations, community-based organizations and universities. This will ensure that you are hiring a broad range of diverse candidates and welcoming individuals at all levels.
- Be aware of unconscious biases in the hiring process and work to actively overcome them. Some to be mindful of are affinity bias, confirmation bias, conformity bias, and attribution bias.
- Utilize TA technology and leverage remote work culture to expand your talent pool hire people from across the globe
- Leverage social media to build your brand as an employer of choice for diverse talent
- Include diverse employees in the interview process
- Revisit required job experience, skills, and competencies. You can broaden your diverse candidate pool by considering what is essential versus what is preferred.
- Drive innovation and be open to new ideas by listening to and implementing fresh, diverse perspectives
Your organization will be able to increase your workforce’s range of skills and experience through diverse hiring. DE&I-focused recruiting can be difficult, but the additional effort is worth the benefits and competitive advantage it will give your organization.
Retaining Your Diverse Workforce
Once organizations have successfully recruited and onboarded diverse employees, they need to shift their attention to retaining them. Many companies tend to forget to add this vital step into their DE&I strategy, which leads to high employee turnover. Your company leaders need to make sure that employees feel welcomed and appreciated once they are onboarded – there should be a plan in place to officially welcome new hires to the team.
Furthermore, diverse individuals may have unique preferences and needs in the workplace, so you need to ensure you are reasonably accommodating them or you risk losing these employees. Acknowledging holidays, celebrations, and events that impact diverse communities is a high-level way to ensure diverse employees feel seen and valued across the organization. This could include Pride Month, MLK Day, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Veterans Day, International Women’s Day, etc. Companies, especially senior management, should provide recognition and express support on these days.
Having available Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to help employees expand their internal network with like-minded colleagues is a great way to get new employees acclimated. Mentorship programs will also set new employees on the right track of building a successful career with your organization.
Lastly, and arguably most importantly, you need to provide diverse employees with growth and promotion opportunities. You should help lift them through the ranks of your organization and ensure that they have access to the same opportunities that your non-diverse employees have. Implement strategies to help them continuously grow in their role and consider all employees when any new higher-up positions open, all the way up to the executive level. Be transparent about performance and potential so that diverse individuals see a realistic growth roadmap for themselves; your diverse employee retention rate will improve.
Placing an emphasis on your DE&I strategy and continuously incorporating high-impact diversity initiatives into your organization will have a significant impact on your success in today’s market. By taking the three aforementioned areas into consideration for your DE&I strategy, you should have no problem hiring and retaining top-performing diverse candidates.