Establishing a Successful Diversity Hiring Plan

By James Haley on the PandoLogic Blog

A successful and diverse workplace starts with a strong diversity hiring plan. Crafting this plan may include everything from establishing ways to target diverse talent in your job ads and sourcing, to evaluating your current hiring practices with an eye towards increasing inclusion. When courting diverse candidates and fostering a more welcoming, inclusive process, there are a few things to consider in order to implement best practices to ensure your company meets its equity goals and your hiring is successful.

Begin with your Job Ad

In order to establish a diversity hiring plan, you need to begin by communicating inclusivity in the job ad. Your job ad can cast a wider net to garner more diverse candidates through the way you word job requirements, including education levels and years of experience, to open the door to equivalent experience or transferrable skills. Too often talented applicants will weed themselves out of contention because their previous work or current degree does not perfectly align with the job ad’s requirements—and this is even more true when you look at the gender gap.

In the current job market, whole sectors of jobs have seen a downturn, leaving many candidates seeking alternate career paths. Leaving the door open to candidates who have been successful in other sectors, who are seeking to transition to a new career, will diversify your hiring and potentially bring new ideas or innovative ways of doing things into your company. Mentioning transferrable skills or equivalent experience in the ad itself and limiting the number of requirements will allow your hiring to become more creative and enable you to not just spot talent amid carbon-copy candidates, but also to recognize potential in a more diverse set of candidates. The effect of using welcoming language and allowing leeway means focusing on the potential within talented candidates—not just focusing on a specific set of past experiences.

Offering Benefits is Part of the Inclusion Process

Fundamentally, an inclusive workplace is one that will support a variety of employees. If you’re building a diversity hiring plan, you’ll want to engage the talents of a diverse workforce. It is best to consider the “whole person,” acknowledging that people’s lives outside of work affect their work—and vice versa. Most practically, establishing benefits that support a variety of workers in various life stages will create a stronger workforce. If you clearly communicate benefits like flex time, parental leave, or disability leave in your job ad, you are welcoming more people into the fold at the beginning of the hiring process. At the same time, this can help communicate an inclusive workplace culture.

Salary Presentation is the Start to Attracting Diverse Employees

When you ask for a candidate’s salary history you step into a minefield of problems. The minority and gender equity gap is directly tied to salary, and it’s likely that many women and minority candidates may have been underpaid in previous positions. Approach new candidates with this consideration in mind and chuck salary history questions out the window.

It is considered best practice to be transparent with salary range in your job ad—that way candidates know this vital piece of information before they navigate the entire hiring process, ensuring a level of equity in terms of salary for the position (as the numbers are pre-established before the salary is negotiated or tied to any particular candidate’s previous work.)

Keep in mind that salary negotiations can also replicate bias and are often approached differently across genders. The amount an employee gets paid should not be tied to how much bravado a candidate has in salary negotiations. Rather, it is important to establish clear markers in terms of experience level, including transferrable skills, to salary range to reduce bias at this important stage of the hiring process. Paying employees fairly and equitably is about supporting new employees and paying them for the quality of their work, which will help ensure you are investing in a diverse, quality work force.

The perfect candidate may be the one you can’t imagine. Diversity hiring for your workforce is very much about looking within and re-examining how you weed out candidates, and instead focus on how you welcome them. To build a more diverse, talented workforce, you need to think outside the box, rather than find a candidate who checks off all the boxes.

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