DEI Hiring: What It Is & Why It's Important

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Bruna Vasconcelos
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Bruna Vasconcelos
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Head of People
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Learn how to implement DEI hiring and recruitment strategies to ensure you attract diverse candidates to your workforce and why it’s increasingly essential to business operations.
Published on
March 28, 2024
Updated on
June 11, 2024

From attracting top talent to making existing employees feel welcome, fostering a company culture that promotes diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) is essential for optimizing today's business operations. According to a study by McKinsey, organizations whose DEI hiring processes have created a diverse leadership team are not only more likely to have a more satisfied workforce, but also to deliver more significant social impact and yield higher profit margins than those who don't. Their research further suggests that the business case for DEI is only getting stronger, as many consumers now base their purchasing preferences on the social values that companies reflect.

Despite the growing emphasis, a Workable survey reveals that 28.9% of IT/Technology/SaaS businesses still lack a coherent DEI hiring strategy — though they intend to develop one. Another 20% say they lack a DEI strategy and don't intend to establish one, suggesting some may not know where to start.

This article takes a closer look at DEI hiring and examines its value within recruitment strategies. It provides actionable steps to help companies implement DEI hiring best practices and metrics to gauge if programs are successful. 

What Is DEI Hiring?

Diversity, equity, and inclusion seek to create a workplace atmosphere where people of all backgrounds are welcome. DEI hiring involves actively recruiting diverse talent pools so that underrepresented groups from each demographic have equal opportunities to thrive within the workplace. It also entails evaluating your organization's sourcing, engaging, nurturing, and hiring processes to ensure they're equitable for all.

While primarily thought of in terms of gender and racial diversity, DEI hiring also recognizes the need for greater diversity across other demographics, such as:

  • Cultural diversity: Differs from racial diversity in that it accounts for factors such as ethnicity, religion, and language.
  • Generational diversity: Seeks to hire a broad mix of employees from the Gen X, Gen Z, Baby Boomer, and Millennial generations
  • Ability diversity: Seeks equal access for employees of varying ability levels, including physical or mental disability and neurodivergence
  • Gender identification/sexual orientation diversity: Seeks equitable opportunity for people of all ranges within the LGBTQIA+ spectrum
  • Familial status diversity: Allows for varying definitions of what comprises a family
  • Work experience diversity: Considers the legitimacy of previous lines of work as meeting potential work requirements and removes the need for a specific background to obtain a position as long as the necessary tasks can be performed

Similar to work experience diversity, some organizations are also implementing educational background diversity by removing academic requirements from certain positions — providing the applicant has adequate knowledge of the required tasks to be performed.

Why Is a DEI Recruiting Strategy Important?

Organizations must devise a comprehensive DEI recruiting strategy if they hope to create a diverse talent pipeline. Failure to integrate DEI into recruiting and hiring processes can harm productivity, corporate culture, and the bottom line. However, companies that get their DEI processes right often enjoy these benefits:

  • More innovation: Employees from diverse backgrounds often have different problem-solving approaches and perform their tasks differently. Therefore, Organizations with a diverse workforce are more likely to have teams that can tackle challenges from multiple angles, creating more opportunities for innovation and creative solutions. This is partly why multicultural teams generate more revenue than homogeneous ones.
  • Better decision-making: When teams consist of employees from diverse demographics, they are less likely to have unconscious biases or blind spots that skew their decisions. When those blind spots exist, they are more easily identified by those from alternative backgrounds, allowing errors to be detected and resolved.
  • Superior talent: When organizations only recruit candidates from the same talent pool, they may overlook highly qualified candidates simply because of their background. In the process, they deprive themselves of the top tech talent, so having a diverse talent pool can often lead to a more elite team.  
  • Greater employee engagement: The exact numbers vary by demographic, but a study from the Pew Research Center shows that employees largely favor pursuing more diversity as part of their hiring practices. Not only do DEI efforts align with the values many employees possess, but company cultures that promote diversity also make their workers feel more comfortable, giving them greater satisfaction as they engage.

DEI no longer impacts internal operations alone but directly affects the bottom line. The World Economic Forum reports that an average of 70% of consumers base their purchasing preferences on their values, meaning that organizations that fall behind may end up alienating their audience and losing profit. Conversely, leaders in DEI hiring may have a more positive employer brand image, making customers more likely to buy.

5 Tips to Implement Inclusive Hiring Practices

With the benefits of DEI hiring in view, organizations can begin implementing recruitment processes that prioritize diversity. Taking these steps can help get you started.

1. Evaluate Your Current DEI Processes

Before knowing what needs to be changed, you must first understand what works and what doesn't. KPIs can give a baseline idea of where your hiring processes lie, but to dive deeper into recruitment data, you must identify any blind spots or biases you may have missed. Some ways to do this are:

  • Including diverse team members within the interview process to remove unconscious bias
  • Analyzing job descriptions to identify language that could have discouraged certain demographics from applying and train hiring managers to write inclusive job postings
  • Standardizing the interview process so that each candidate has the same experience
  • Anonymizing applications to remove the potential for bias

By taking these steps, you can identify where bias has crept in and improve your chances of hiring a diverse workforce.

2. Maintain a DEI-Friendly Brand

Whether managing your social media account or designing a new web page, every outward-facing sphere of your company can impact how consumers perceive your brand. If you want to develop a holistic DEI initiative, you'll need to consider diversity wherever applicants engage with your brand. That may look like:

  • Posting open roles to diverse talent boards
  • Explaining your DEI policies to existing leads
  • Sharing relevant company content with DEI-focused initiatives
  • Stating your DEI policies on your company's most-accessed sites
  • Asking diverse internal team members to share their personal experiences

Displaying a DEI-friendly brand image has become essential in hiring processes and overall revenue, so make sure your company's commitment to DEI is visible across every level of engagement.

3. Create a Diverse Talent Pool

To create a diverse workforce, you must first know where to find the right applicants. Your talent acquisition team should help you gain access to the top talent and a wide selection of diverse candidates who possess the skills you need. Some ways to diversify your talent pool include:

  • Placing job postings on diversity-focused platforms
  • Leveraging referrals from other employees
  • Attending networking events in search of diverse talent

DEI initiatives aren't accomplished passively; a hiring team must actively seek to diversify its talent pipeline if it hopes to succeed. Search for candidates where you're most likely to find more diversity, and your talent pool will likely expand.

4. Write Carefully Crafted Job Postings

If your job postings are written to discourage diverse candidates from applying, you may undermine your DEI efforts. When you post an opening for new applicants, make sure that each is worded so that all eligible applicants feel welcome to apply. Some ways to achieve this are:

  • Auditing current and existing applications to identify exclusionary language
  • Removing language that suggests favorability towards a given demographic or that suggests less favor towards another
  • Eliminating "must-have" work background or educational requirements where possible if the skillset can be learned some other way

While some positions may require specific abilities, it's vital to remove phrasing that could prevent those with physical or mental disabilities from applying.

5. Build DEI Into Your Company Culture

From employee retention and attrition to productivity and engagement, company culture significantly impacts multiple layers of an organization's business operations — and DEI is no exception. The values you instill into your organization will determine if your DEI processes are a success, so make diversity central to your culture by:

  • Training all team members on best DEI practices
  • Fostering a culture that promotes psychological safety
  • Including each employee in your DEI initiatives
  • Helping workers create their own employee resource groups (ERGs)

Developing a healthy company culture not only improves diversity but is a key component to creating a high-performing development team. These steps can improve a DEI environment and make teams more productive and engaged.

How to Measure the Impact of DEI Recruitment

If companies hope to implement truly inclusive hiring practices, they need a data-driven way to tell if their efforts are working. Otherwise, they may find themselves revising their processes without actually removing unconscious bias.

To avoid that haphazard approach, Chevron's former global chief of diversity, Lee Jourdan, recommended considering these DEI metrics to evaluate the success of a company's diversity program:

  • Attrition
  • Performance
  • Promotions
  • Leadership pipeline
  • Employment pipeline
  • Pay equity
  • Inclusion

Jourdan notes that a company should track these metrics as they apply to each demographic to discern where inequities may lie. If they do, they can adopt a data-driven approach to creating a more diverse setting. If they don't, their biases may remain undetected.

Hire Diverse Talent With Revelo

Creating and prioritizing a diverse, equitable, and inclusive atmosphere takes time, but the benefits are well worth the effort. Diverse workplaces lend themselves to greater engagement, collaboration, and innovation, and their brands are more consumer-friendly than those that lag behind. Careful planning may be required to make it a reality, but DEI hiring is simply good business.

At Revelo, we form partnerships with US-based companies to furnish them with the top tech talent Central and South America offer. Our talent marketplace matches businesses with time-zone-aligned developers rigorously vetted for hard and soft skills and English proficiency. We also assist with payroll, benefits administration, taxes, and local compliance, making crossing cultural and geographical borders easier. 

Partner with Revelo and hire LATAM-based developers to diversify your workforce and simplify your DEI strategy.

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