DEI Strategy: Best Business Practices for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Recruitment

The DEI strategy, or Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, is a framework to create a fairer workplace environment for historically underrepresented people in the workplace. It’s a very important concept to follow throughout the hiring and onboarding process, so as recruiters, it’s paramount to know what we’re talking about here.

Diverse teams are proven to lead to better problem-solving, more innovation, creativity, and a better financial performance. Additionally, top talent, of which there is a shortage across industries, can better be found with an inclusive approach to recruitment. Therefore, creating a more equal and diverse working environment benefits the employee and the employer. We’re breaking down how you can make the recruitment process a lot fairer with the help of a DEI strategy.

Reduce Bias in Job Descriptions

The DEI strategy starts with reducing bias in your job descriptions and candidate screening. The most common mistake is assuming a gender for the role. Take a look through your current job descriptions for future roles to look for any gendered wording or other biased language. Focus on must-have requirements versus nice-to-have preferences and use online tools to analyse your language and perhaps add inclusive language in descriptions.

Inclusive Candidate Sourcing

Additionally, you might want to readdress where your candidates are coming from as part of your DEI strategy. Go beyond traditional hiring channels to source diverse candidates, such as inclusive and specialised organisations. Look into professional organisations, student organisations, community groups and non-profits, and conferences and networking events aimed at promoting minority, LGBT, disabled and other protected characteristics.

And look around your own team for ideas. Leverage employee resource groups and referrals for diverse candidates that come recommended. Consider setting up a referral program with your team to get the best talent from any background.

Structured Interviewing

When it comes to the interview process, you will want to refer to the DEI strategy there too. Keep your questions standardised and neutral. Make sure your panel interviewing your candidates have gone through bias training to ensure that candidates are given a fair shot, and better yet, if you have the team members, make them as diverse as possible. This will make your organisation look good to candidates that will see it as a green flag for the company.

Skill-Based Hiring

It’s obvious but needs to be said, make sure you are hiring based on skill. Adopt skill-based hiring focused on abilities over pedigrees by looking at portfolio projects, work samples, case studies and skill tests. If your candidate is lacking certain skills, consider offering training opportunities for certain skills.

Culture Add vs Culture Fit

Too many employers are looking for a “culture fit”, which reinforces an existing workplace culture that might need changing. It leaves a team within their own bubble with no alternative opinions or experience. It’s a narrow idea that will allow a cycle of toxicity to continue and grow if it’s there.

Instead, put aside this idea of a culture fit in favour of a culture add. Instead of looking for another version of the team members you already have, look at CVs, experience, and background for something that might a new or different voice to the team. This will ensure that new ideas and perspectives are brought to the table, creating an organisation that thrives on innovation and creativity, provably leading to better profit margins.

Conclusion

The DEI strategy allows candidates a fairer chance at more roles, but it also benefits employers. With a skills shortage being reported across industries, it’s important to not close off any options that might benefit the organisation. And as we mentioned, it’s known to be beneficial to organisations to create a diverse, equal and inclusive team, which is reflected in the work.

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