It is no secret that embracing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will bolster your company’s revenue, innovation, and employee retention. But, doing this can be more complicated than it seems. As more organizations are coming to recognize, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to hiring and retaining a diverse workforce. Taking the steps to becoming a truly equitable organization can require looking inward and making real changes to your operations and procedures, and you need a strategy that is customized to meet your unique organizational needs.

The Importance of Acknowledging Diversity, Inclusion, AND Equity in Your Hiring Process 

Many organizations have diverse hiring goals, and often they even pair these with progressive inclusion efforts. These organizations ensure that their staff recognize diverse backgrounds and opinions and work to make sure those differences feel valued. However, you must complement these efforts with a focus on equity to make sure that, in addition to being acknowledged and heard, all your staff members, regardless of their differences, have equal access to opportunities like training programs, professional development, job promotions, pay raises and bonuses, and more. Companies that put these equity measures in place are better poised to attract and retain a diverse workforce than those who only hire based on diversity metrics. 

True Diversity Efforts Begin with Recruitment – the Very Start of Recruitment  

To recruit diverse teams, you must first have a diverse slate of candidates to interview, and this sometimes means looking outside the obvious places. First, it is crucial to review your job descriptions and job postings to be sure they do not include bias language and that they are not excluding diverse groups. Once you are ready to look for candidates, try advertising in publications you have never published in before, using recruitment agencies that emphasize diverse hiring, or even take the initiative and join some online community groups, such as women in technology, or Black engineers. You could also consider creating a diverse candidate referral program. This not only leverages your team’s existing diversity, but it also highlights your company’s commitment to championing diversity further. Once you have recruited a truly diverse team, the next challenge is hanging onto them. 

Create a retention strategy that makes people feel valued 

Hiring strategies can bring people through the door, but an inclusive and equitable retention strategy will encourage them to stay and grow with your organization. The most important thing is to make sure your employees feel valued, see growth opportunities for diverse individuals, and understand they can have a direct impact on your business.  

One option is to create a diverse mentorship program. Building a helpful, robust mentorship program has many benefits, including:  

  1. Building relationships between different people across the organization. This is a major part of creating an inclusive environment and encourages your team to learn more about each other and your organization. 
  2. Offering diverse, senior employees leadership opportunities and highlighting these opportunities to newer and entry-level employees. It is incredibly important for retention purposes that your staff sees diverse individuals at all levels of your organization, including in management and leadership roles. Encouraging senior staff to mentor other team members also helps highlight any professional development and career path opportunities available as a part of your company. 
  3. Most importantly, encouraging people to listen and learn from one another. One of the greatest benefits of a diverse team is the depth of experiences and backgrounds and the wide variety of ideas that come from those various backgrounds. Establishing a program where all individuals feel comfortable sharing their ideas and contributing to your company will give you a strong foundation for generating new solutions, projects, and plans that set you apart. 

You should also consider creating an assortment of employee resource groups. These voluntary, employee-led groups create a safe space for employees with a shared identity, such as race or gender, to share their experiences with each other and with your organization. To truly cement your diversity and inclusion practices, however, you need to go further. 

Create a Company Culture to Match Your Diversity Pledges 

It is easy to say you value diversity, equity, and inclusion, but this has little meaning, without company policies that truly empower diverse employees. It starts with creating real opportunities to make an impact and grow within the company, but it continues in the benefits available to your team. Flexible work hours can mean people do not have to choose between supporting their families or communities and being a leader within your organization. There must also be non-discriminatory practices and policies empowering employees to speak their minds, without fear of victimization. A key benefit of diversity is the unique perspectives it brings to the table, and if employees feel silenced, not only will these perspectives be lost, but your workplace will not stay diverse for long.  

Talent Intelligence Is Here to Help 

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Every organization is unique and needs to develop its own unique plan to live up to their diversity statements and promises. Achieving this entails analyzing every aspect of recruitment, retention, and company policies to ensure diverse candidates are attracted to your organization and want to stay and grow there once they arrive. Get in touch to find out how Talent Intelligence can improve your diversity efforts.