Building a Diverse Workforce: Strategies for Inclusive Talent Acquisition

Building a Diverse Workforce: Strategies for Inclusive Talent Acquisition


Cultivating a diverse workforce can improve performance by 12% and increase employees’ intent to stay by 20%. Gartner’s research and countless other statistics demonstrate that diversity and inclusion are more than just buzzwords; they are essential to a thriving organization. 

Embracing diversity and fostering an inclusive work environment can empower your business as it fights to attract and retain top talent. But traditional talent acquisition strategies can perpetuate biases and hinder diversity efforts. 

It’s vital to break away from these outdated methods and adopt inclusive talent acquisition strategies that actively promote diversity, eliminate biases, and create a welcoming environment for individuals from various backgrounds. Here’s how you can accomplish this crucial mission.

Understanding Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Avoid the temptation to simply start modifying hiring and recruitment strategies. You’ll need to achieve high-level buy-in from key stakeholders and the C-suite first. Developing a strong understanding of what diversity and inclusion are in the context of talent acquisition and why they matter can help you build a strong proposal. And of course, building a strategy and program proposal backed by data will help you make your case and allow you to measure your impact over time.

What Is Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace?

Diversity encompasses various attributes. Some common examples include race, ethnicity, gender, age, and sexual orientation. Recognizing and valuing these differences can create a more innovative workplace. 

Inclusion involves creating an environment where all employees feel valued and respected. You should ensure that everyone has equal access to opportunities and resources so that everyone can be heard.

The Benefits of a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce

Diversifying your workforce can promote innovation and creativity. In such an environment, people from various walks of life can provide unique perspectives on your company’s challenges. 

A diverse workforce also has enhanced problem-solving abilities and decision-making processes. Team members can look at problems through different lenses and develop outside-of-the-box solutions. 

Cultivating an inclusive and dynamic group of employees can also help you better serve your customers. Your client base doesn’t fit into a one-size-fits-all box. They come from a wide range of backgrounds and life experiences. A workforce that mirrors the diversity of your audience can better serve all segments of your customer base. 

The Legal and Ethical Considerations of Inclusive Hiring Practices

Pursuing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) represents a noble cause. But keep in mind that DEI isn’t a free pass to ignore equal employment opportunity laws and anti-discrimination regulations. You can’t allow discrimination or bias to impact your hiring processes. 

Inclusive hiring practices ensure that all candidates have an equal opportunity to be considered for positions, regardless of whether they are part of the current majority or come from a niche culture. You must align your program with local, state, and federal hiring laws.

Strategies for Inclusive Talent Acquisition

To promote workforce diversity, you should focus on the following comprehensive strategies:

Expanding Recruitment Channels and Sourcing Methods

You can’t rely on the same old recruitment channels and expect to see different results. Diversifying your sourcing methods will help you reach a broader range of candidates, which gives people from unique backgrounds an opportunity to apply for positions with your company. 

You should also consider partnering with educational institutions and community organizations in your area. They can provide access to a more diverse talent pool and connect you with emerging workforce members.

Eliminating Biases in the Hiring Process

Provide unconscious bias training for hiring teams to help them recognize and mitigate their underlying biases. This education can ensure a fairer and more objective evaluation process. 

You’ll also need to audit technologies like conversational artificial intelligence (AI) for biases as well. Developer tendencies and biases in the data used to train AI models can cause the tech to produce skewed results.

Building a Diverse and Inclusive Talent Pipeline

You should strive to cultivate a diverse pipeline of talent. Internship and mentorship programs are excellent tools to support the development of diverse talent. These programs can provide valuable experience and guidance to underrepresented individuals.

Engaging with underrepresented communities early on through outreach programs and partnerships may help you connect with incoming talent before your competitors recruit them. Use these connections to address future hiring needs and promote long-term business continuity. 

It’s also important to reevaluate your career development and advancement programs. Make sure these offerings are accessible to everyone, especially those from underrepresented groups. Increasing accessibility can help you retain diverse talent and support their growth within the organization.

Fostering an Inclusive Organizational Culture

Hiring people from various backgrounds represents a good start. You also need to cultivate an inclusive organizational culture that permeates your organization from the top down. Getting the leadership team on board can create a trickle-down effect that impacts the rest of the business. 

For example, the C-suite should demonstrate their commitment to DEI through their actions, decisions, and daily behavior. They must live the values and principles they support. 

Additionally, you can turn your attention to employee resource groups after you’ve gotten the executive team on board. These groups can create secondary communities for employees from all walks of life, helping them feel connected to the organization. 

Make sure you offer training on cultural competence and inclusive practices to all employees. Your team members should know how to make new hires from various backgrounds feel welcome and valued. 

Tools like Onboard by HireRoad can promote your company culture and DEI values early in an employee’s experience with your company. By sharing your commitment to diversity and inclusiveness from day one, you can cultivate a more DEI-friendly culture and ensure that employees know your expectations.

Measuring and Sustaining Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

Organizations worldwide have invested countless hours and resources into building a diverse workforce. Many face the same problem: measuring the efficacy of their DEI initiatives. Here’s how you can accurately measure the impact of your diversity and inclusion efforts.

Developing Metrics and Tracking Progress

Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to diversity and inclusion. Use these data points to measure the efficacy of your DEI hiring program and compare it to industry standards.

For example, one organization using PeopleInsight by HireRoad maps their DEI goals back to U.S. Census data within PeopleInsight platform. They can then compare the demographic makeup of their workforce to the U.S. population across under-represented groups.

PeopleInsight also enables businesses to track hiring and retention rates across diverse groups. As a result, our clients excel at obtaining granular insights about their workforce. Many businesses that do not use people analytics struggle to monitor the overall diversity of their staff.

Prioritizing Continuous Improvement and Accountability

Once you put the right processes and technologies in place, DEI will become a foundational element of your hiring processes. Inclusive talent acquisition should never become a “set it and forget it” initiative. You should always work to get better and periodically refine your hiring strategies to ensure they remain effective. 

This means setting clear goals and benchmarks for your diversity and inclusion efforts, and measuring them in a way that allows you to track progress overtime and across metrics. Ensure your targets are ambitious but realistic.

Celebrating Diversity and Promoting a Culture of Inclusivity

Once you’ve successfully diversified your workforce, celebrate those from various backgrounds and cultures. Doing so can help foster a sense of belonging and encourage others to strive to do their best. 

Be open and honest about your inclusivity efforts. Encourage your employees to start conversations about these critical topics. Most importantly, foster a sense of belonging and psychological safety within your organization. This can help employees feel comfortable contributing their unique perspectives.

Support Your Initiative With HireRoad

People analytics technologies play a critical role in measuring the efficacy of your DEI efforts. If you don’t set up metrics to track and optimize change initiatives, you won’t see results. 

Want to support your DEI initiative with powerful analytics tools? Schedule a demo with PeopleInsight today.