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Hiring for Diversity in 2021 and Beyond

“We are going back to that beautiful history and it is going to inspire us to greater achievements.”

– Dr. Carter G. Woodson, founder of Black History Month


February marks the 51st Black History Month, a federally recognized celebration of the contributions African Americans have made to this country and a time to reflect on the continued struggle for racial justice. With the pandemic, celebrations will be a bit different this year. However, there are still many ways for companies to do their part to raise awareness and make real change.

Whether you’re a large organization or a tiny start-up, making diversity a priority isn’t just the right thing to do. It also makes good business sense. Building your brand as a diverse and inclusive employer helps attract employees who’ll bring a diversity of experience and thought to your company. According to Recruitee, diverse companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market segments.

In large organizations, change can come from within. Last year, Alexander Blades, an Analyst at Environment Canada, co-founded The Black Employees Network intending to create a positive space for Environment Canada’s black community to share their views and experiences.

“The network aims to ensure Black employees are not denied opportunities due to the colour of their skin and to combat and address issues of anti-black and systemic racism within institutions. Ultimately the goal is to uplift and build meaningful relationships while improving the working conditions for Black employees,” said Blades.

Dedicating your hiring process to diversity and inclusion goes beyond simply stating that you support diversity within your workplace. It requires a commitment to examine and improve your talent management practices, which will in turn prove beneficial for your company.

“Companies who are more diverse tend to experience greater productivity and decreased levels of harassment,” says Blades. “Organizations are now being challenged to look at their recruitment process and make the necessary changes to create more opportunities for BIPOC communities (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour).

For smaller companies that don’t have formal employee networks specifically dedicated to BIPOC communities finding ways to increase inclusivity and awareness may prove difficult at first, but with dedicated work, real change can occur.

4 things you can change right now to remove bias and promote diversity in your hiring process

So how well does your workforce represent the world we live in? And how do you start finding, welcoming, and hiring diverse talent? Here are four strategies to attract a wide array of candidates.

Conduct a diversity hiring audit

Teresa Norman, a Diversity and Talent Management Consultant for EW Group says that diversity audit can help you understand the demographics and culture of your workforce to identify the specific factors that will help you create a diverse and inclusive company. Your employees are what makes your organization special, so listen to your employee’s feedback in regards to what you’re doing well and what you could improve, and take actionable steps. Feedback is a gift, and your employees input is invaluable.

Develop an employer brand that showcases your diversity 

Diversity and employer brand go hand-in-hand. Start with incorporating your organization’s story throughout your careers site, social media platforms and employer brand kit with diverse images, employee testimonials, graphics, videos, etc. This is the most effective way to show top talent you are serious about diversity and inclusion at your workplace. Also, if you haven’t updated your careers page since the beginning of the pandemic, now is the time to do that.  COVID-19 has impacted us all in some way, and acknowledging how your organization has pivoted as a result will show your candidate pool that you’re humans too.

Evaluate language and wording in recruitment materials 

Remove biased language from job descriptions, interview questions and assessment tools to effectively recruit a diverse array of candidates. It’s also okay to state your commitment to diversity and inclusion in your job descriptions, a simple sentence can go a long way. There is no need to have 30 bullet points in your requirement lists in your job postings. Stick to the objective requirements of the job, and keep your postings concise.

Post to a wide range of job boards

Instead of only relying on mainstream job boards, consider seeking out opportunities to source diverse candidates where they typically hang out. Here is a list of diverse job boards, networking groups, professional associations and more to get you started. Also, don’t forget about your employees when you post new opportunities! They may be the best way to get the word out and help others that may not be cruising the job boards. A simple employee advocacy strategy can go a long way and make a huge impact to the volume and quality of inbound applicants to your organization.

2020 has taught us a lot of valuable life lessons, and Black History Month is an opportunity for companies of all sizes to celebrate and raise awareness. But companies should also be thinking longer-term about how to embed diversity and inclusion more fully into their branding and recruitment strategies if they haven’t already done so.

Many smaller start-up companies might not know where to start. That’s what we’re here for. If you want to learn more about how you can incorporate these recommendations and others into your hiring scheme, head over to our website.

We’re happy to help.

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