Over the last year, many employers have worked to increase workplace diversity and expand their DEI strategies. And for good reason. As Glassdoor’s Diversity Hiring Survey reveals, “3 out of 4 job seekers and employees (76%) report that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers.”
Diversity is one of the critical lenses candidates use to choose their jobs. In a candidate-starved job market, succeeding in DEI offers a recruiting as well as performance advantage. KPMG’s Diversity Wins report showed businesses with greater gender diversity outperform less diverse competitors by 27%, and those with strong ethnic diversity outperform less diverse companies by 33%.
Across the Washington metropolitan area–where Employment Enterprises is headquartered–and at clients throughout the U.S., we’ve been helping businesses plan, implement, and improve diversity hiring efforts. What’s working? Here’s a look at the diversity and DEI strategies that are yielding results and a few areas that need work based on results from our D.C. metro areaclients and beyond.
Squashing Bias with Blind Resumes
The D.C. region has been well ahead of the recent diversity hiring and inclusion effort. A lot of that early momentum was driven by the area’s many non-profits, globally focused organizations, and diverse talent pool. Washington, D.C., for example, was one of the top five most diverse places in America according to the 2020 Census data. As businesses across the U.S. embraced the need for significant diversity action in 2020, one of D.C.’s largest nonprofits and a client of Employment Enterprises revamped its talent sourcing and selection protocol by removing all identifiers from resumes and applications. No names, no locations, and no alma maters are shared. The goal is to limit information that might generate bias or encourage hiring managers to align with candidates who they see as reflections of themselves. The result? The organization’s applicant pool and workforce has seen a sustained surge in diverse talent engagement and hires.
For organizations that have cultivated long-established candidate pipelines from specific universities or training programs, this strategy is a reminder that bias to candidates by source or referral pipeline is one way to limit diversity. To build a more diverse workforce, businesses need to recruit from numerous and diverse talent pools.
Getting Inclusion to Work for the Workforce
While many businesses bring in outside expertise and specialists to analyze and support DEI initiatives, not enough companies look inside for support. Diversity will not thrive in workplaces without inclusion.
Employment Enterprises’ recruiting and workforce strategists are seeing a substantial difference among businesses that include their internal teams in shaping and improving DEI strategies and hiring. When internal team members participate and share their experience and challenges, diversity programs see more traction and better hiring results. From clients that place diverse team members on hiring and interview committees to mapping out the employment journey for diverse candidates, there are several ways to increase inclusiveness in recruiting processes to improve diversity hiring. For candidates, seeing diverse talent represented in the recruitment life cycle versus hearing diversity as a company idea is extremely important. Job seekers today are skeptical of employers with lots of DEI intention and messages but few, if any, results to show for it.
Push Vendors for DEI Action & Assistance
While big businesses have the resources to build and support DEI teams and strategies, small and medium-size businesses often turn to Employment Enterprises for support. One of the most effective first steps in strengthening diversity hiring is ensuring all vendors across the talent lifecycle are setting and meeting diversity goals. From talent providers and staffing firms to HR and talent acquisition tech solutions, each partner along a company’s talent supply chain should have set goals for boosting diversity hiring and retention. That could mean reimagining talent sourcing strategies for staffing providers and recruitment partners. For tech vendors, that could mean looking at ways to eliminate unconscious bias within systems and algorithms and improving the hiring journey for diverse applicants.
Recruiting Is the Essential Start
As diverse as the Washington, D.C. area may be, plenty of businesses across the region are still turning to Employment Enterprises to optimize and accelerate their recruitment and hiring processes for diversity. That’s because effective diversity hiring requires fundamental changes for most businesses in where and how candidates are engaged and enticed. It’s big, important work, but here’s the good news: it works, and good, inclusive recruiting is one of the few immediate ways to impact diversity inside a business.