Intention vs. Action in Diversity and Inclusion Recruiting: Can You Spot the Difference?

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So here we are, the year 2021, arguably the most anticipated year in modern history. 

Apart from the progress we hope to see in efforts to halt the pandemic, this year will also force us to confront another elephant in the room leftover from 2020: Did everybody really mean what they said about diversity, inclusion, and racial equality? 

In early 2020, close to 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies had at least one diversity-focused executive role, and the demand for diversity roles for the remainder of the year was up 71 percent compared to the previous five years. These efforts may look like drastic steps demonstrating corporate intentions for change, but it’s still hard to say whether we’ve made significant breakthroughs in the realm of diversity hiring.

A year ago, employees were likely to be satisfied if their employers showed intention. In 2021, that just isn’t going to cut it. Instead, talent acquisition teams will need to take on more responsibility in helping companies move beyond intention to start taking action. Here’s how they can do it:

Intention: A company appoints a new director/head/vice president of diversity and inclusion.

Action: Transparent and consistent communication to align executive goals with recruiter and hiring manager responsibilities.

In a Hiretual survey published last November, 40 percent of recruiters said that sourcing and identifying diverse candidates is still a time-consuming process that hinders diversity hiring. In the coming year, diversity leaders and recruiting teams will need to be in sync on hiring goals and the steps needed to build a more diverse workforce with the best talent.

Recruiters are the first people to represent an organization to candidates, so they should act as consultants to diversity leaders. Recruiters can advise companies about the best channels to look for diverse talent, the most effective ways to sell the company’s value, and the most reasonable candidate requirements to set for a feasible hiring timeline. 

In 2020, enterprise leaders saw data and artificial intelligence (AI) take the lead in helping businesses differentiate themselves and become experts in the virtual space. Communication between recruiters, hiring managers, and diversity leaders should be streamlined and expedited with the help of AI and machine learning (ML) hiring software that can help teams standardize and interpret analytics on diverse talent pools. 

Hiring teams have found success using tools like Hiretual to easily share and collaborate on analytics dashboards and performance metrics for diversity recruitment across different roles in the organization. This real-time data visibility and transparency allows hiring processes and diversity recruiting strategies to be optimized and pivoted as necessary, without wasting time waiting on feedback and running the wrong searches. 

Intention: Managing unconscious bias with blind hiring programs. 

Action:Implementing consistent pipeline checkups to ensure enough diverse talent is making its way through the hiring funnel.

Over the past decade, we’ve become increasingly aware of how conscious and unconscious bias impact the attraction, retention, and success of diverse employees. Blind hiring emerged as a way to combat bias, and while this approach does have immense benefits, it has become a blanket term abused by organizations to sweep the conversation about race under the rug.

In 2021, recruiters have a responsibility to start being up front about diversity searches. They need to have difficult conversations about existing organizational weaknesses that drive away candidates from underrepresented groups. In 2020, Hiretual released a Diversity Analytics feature, which was highly requested by customers who felt the need to home in on diverse groups in their pipelines in order to monitor team performance in sourcing, qualifying, and engaging with them. 

For example, if analytics show a high ratio of diverse candidates who were engaged to those who replied, it gives teams the opportunity to reevaluate their email sequences and make adjustments for more inclusive language. These pipeline check-ins must be done consistently with every single open role that needs to be filled, not just at the start of a new year or when senior leadership asks for them. 

Intention:Providing workplace training on building inclusive environments. 

Action:Understanding and modeling inclusive environments with data visibility on employers who are doing it right.

Workplace efforts toward diversity and inclusion found their start with training initiatives meant to teach employees about bias, micro- and macroaggressions, cultural sensitivity, and so on. With the help of diversity and inclusion technology, trainings have since evolved into huge initiatives, often taking the form of collaborative workshops, interactive games, and even virtual reality demonstrations to help employees better understand the experiences of different identities. 

However, companies have had a hard time measuring the success of these trainings. Instead of simply waiting for these initiatives to show results, we can take immediate action by leveraging technology to learn directly from other companies that have found success increasing diversity in the workplace.

At Hiretual, we’ve learned that recruiting teams find immense value using our AI filters to segment searches according to specific companies within their industries, geographic footprints, or other popular locations for job seekers. These recruiters use Hiretual’s Market Insights to study the top companies that attract the most underrepresented candidates for a specific job title. 

By identifying these key players, recruitment teams can learn what strategies really work for diversity hiring. Recruiters can then adjust job requirements and compensation to better appeal to diverse candidates. Recruiters also have the opportunity to lead change by using this competitive analysis to show organizational leaders what other companies are doing better and what the organization itself can do to step up.

Big Action, Not Baby Steps

Although we have a lot left to do, there is also a lot to be excited about. We now have powerful technology to help organizations build diversity hiring plans that are more analytical, personalized, and precise. This year will offer companies a chance to learn from their mistakes and transform the employer-employee relationship into one that prioritizes compassion and honesty. We have no reason to wait on taking action. We have all the lessons we need to start moving beyond our comfort zones and doing the right thing. 

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By Hiretual