Every Inclusive Hiring Strategy Starts With the Right Data

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Diversity has been the buzzword of the last year for many organizations. LinkedIn reports that the number of people holding a “head of diversity title” more than doubled between 2015 and 2020. In the same time period, the number of directors of diversity grew 75 percent, and chief diversity officers grew 68 percent.

While hiring an executive focused on diversity, holding splashy events with major speakers to discuss diversity, and putting out statements are steps in the right direction, none of these actions move the needle behind the scenes within an organization. In fact, more than half of employees think their companies have failed to create diverse workplaces, and 36 percent are unsure whether their companies are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at all.

To create a company that will succeed and grow in a post-pandemic world, organizational leaders need to showcase a strong commitment to DEI in every aspect of the business. After all, a report from McKinsey found companies in the top quartile of gender and ethnic diversity financially outperform those in the bottom quartile by up to 36 percent.

A focus on DEI is particularly important in recruiting, as Glassdoor reports that 76 percent of job seekers say diversity is an important factor when evaluating job opportunities. With Goldman Sachs predicting unemployment levels will be back down to 4.1 percent by the end of 2021, now is the time to create a hiring strategy that will push your organization into the future.

Recruitment technology can be crucial in understanding the actions necessary to make DEI improvements within an organization. Let’s explore how employers can utilize technology to create more inclusive hiring strategies and meet their overall DEI goals.

When Is It Time to Revamp Your Hiring Strategy?

Successfully building a diverse workforce starts with data. Without data, it’s nearly impossible to understand where the gaps are. And if you don’t know where the gaps are, how can you fix them?

Look at the demographic data of your teams. Is your engineering team composed mainly of men from the same background, for example? If so, it’s time to take a deeper look at your hiring practices, with an eye toward formulating a recruitment strategy that will expand your talent pool.

Demographic analysis is just the start of an ongoing process of identifying gaps in the hiring process that may be thwarting your diversity goals. To ensure DEI is top of mind for all hiring managers across the organization on a regular basis, HR leaders can conduct a quarterly analysis of DEI metrics within each team. Discuss the results of these analyses with the team’s leadership to ensure the team understands diversity trends. Once leaders have an understanding of where their gaps are, they can take action to uncover why these gaps exist and implement strategies to fix them.

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Technology’s Role in Reducing Bias and Attracting Diverse Talent

While data is a crucial component of any DEI strategy, nearly half of talent pros report they lack the candidate demographic insights they need to implement their DEI strategies.

One way to gather relevant DEI data is to collect optional and anonymous demographic information from candidates during the interview process. By tracking the results, HR leaders can identify holes (such as whether a certain job is not attracting women of color) to understand where they should make changes to attract more diverse talent.

Technology can also help eliminate groupthink in the hiring process. For example, implementing a recruiting platform that blocks interviewers from reading other interviewers’ feedback before they submit their own can promote independent decision-making. Additionally, utilizing interview kits that allow panels to conduct apples-to-apples interviews across the board allows for more objective comparisons between candidates, creating a more equitable decision-making process overall.

Best Practices for Creating a Diversity-Focused Recruitment Strategy

The only way DEI can become fully ingrained as a core value for your organization is if every program, process, policy, and decision keeps inclusivity top of mind. Building a diverse team ultimately starts in the recruiting process: If you can’t attract diverse candidates, how will you create a diverse workforce?

Reworking job descriptions is a good place for many organizations to start. For example, we at Lever look at job descriptions as “impact descriptions” focused on expectations of accomplishments in the role rather than background qualifications. This helps broaden the appeal of our roles to a wider pipeline of candidates. For example, a candidate with a two-year degree and incredible work experience may not apply to a job they are fully qualified for if there is an unnecessary four-year degree requirement.

Providing fair pay and equitable benefits is also critical to creating an inclusive environment. Consider using a third-party benchmarking tool to understand market compensation so that your offers are competitive, fair, and equitable.

As we enter a post-pandemic work environment, DEI will only continue to grow in importance. Utilize data and technology to create a DEI strategy that results in a truly equitable and inclusive workforce.

Annie Lin is the vice president of people at Lever.

Read more in Diversity

Annie Lin is the VP, people, at Lever, the modern recruiting software that tackles the most strategic challenge that companies face: how to grow their teams. Annie's team spans recruiting, HR, L&D, D&I, workplace, internal comms, and culture. She brings a decade of leadership experience across business ops/management and people/talent helping to grow companies including Uber, General Assembly, and HotelTonight. She believes deeply in the symbiotic relationship between caring for the business and caring for people and is driven by cultivating industry-leading work environments. She's excited to work on this mission every day with Lever's people-focused team and customers.