Why Diversity Hiring Matters & Steps to Do It

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Bruna Vasconcelos
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Bruna Vasconcelos
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Head of People
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Diversity hiring is crucial in cultivating a richer tech workforce with varied perspectives and boosted innovation. Organizations must implement the right talent acquisition practices to access a wider talent pool and foster more engaged and successful teams. Here's how.
Published on
April 9, 2024
Updated on
April 16, 2024

Diversity hiring offers tangible benefits that extend beyond ethical considerations, directly impacting a company's ability to attract top talent and achieve sustainable growth over time. However, the predominant demographic within the US workforce, about 77%, still comprises primarily male individuals of white ethnicity. The rest include only 12.8% Black or African American, 18.8% Hispanic or Latino, and 6.9% Asian employees.

Failing to embrace diversity recruiting entails overlooking significant opportunities. A diverse workforce is often a distinguishing factor in an increasingly competitive business market. Building multicultural teams brings a vast range of perspectives and experiences to the table, which is pivotal for more effective problem-solving and decision-making.

Diverse teams are also better equipped to understand and cater to the needs of a broader customer base. Their expertise improves market engagement and increases revenue potential.

This comprehensive guide to diversity in hiring explores the process step by step and provides key definitions and valuable insights.

What Is Diversity Hiring?

This concept refers to the process of employing qualified candidates with a range of different backgrounds, perspectives, abilities, and attributes. When implemented correctly, diversity hiring helps organizations build more resilient, engaged, and successful teams.

Promoting diversity in tech hiring — or any other industry, for that matter — gives individuals a fair chance to thrive in the employment arena, irrespective of:

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion
  • Gender identity
  • National origin
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Disabilities

By investing in the diversification of teams and nurturing their professional growth, organizations often transform their existing workforce into their biggest advocates. Increasing diversity in organizations makes them more likely to achieve better financial results, too. In fact, businesses with higher gender and ethnic diversity tend to outperform less inclusive competitors by approximately 39%.

Diversity in Hiring vs. a Diversity Hire

Although often wrongly interchanged, diversity hiring and a diverse hire are far from synonymous. The latter is a biased and discriminatory term, generally used in a derogatory manner to refer to diverse team members within an organization.

Referring to colleagues and leaders as "diverse hires" perpetuates prejudice and reinforces the notion that some individuals receive preferential treatment or are there merely to fulfill quotas. This misconception undermines the qualifications, skills, and experience of diverse talent everywhere.

Ultimately, the primary goal of hiring for diversity is to build a more solid workforce that reflects our plural society more accurately. Diverse teams make organizations more relatable to their customer base, boosting engagement in their community. However, an HBR study highlighted that even well-intentioned diversity initiatives may fail when implemented without properly understanding what they entail.

True diversity hiring encompasses an all-around approach to attracting and selecting talent based on skills, experience, and diverse perspectives, not just demographics. It involves:

  • Proactive outreach: Targeting historically underrepresented groups, such as female candidates, through job boards, talent marketplaces, LinkedIn, career fairs, and partnerships with diverse organizations.
  • Bias-mitigation techniques: Using blind resumes, a standardized interview process, and diverse interview panels to minimize unconscious bias and provide equal opportunity to candidates.
  • Inclusive evaluation: Focusing on skills, experience, and cultural fit, not just traditional markers of success.

Benefits of Building a Diverse Recruitment Process

Diversity hiring may seem like yet another industry buzzword, but in reality, it’s far from only just that. This intentional and strategic recruiting exercise has become the backbone of the tech industry in recent years — allowing organizations to create equal opportunities for diverse groups and simultaneously gain a competitive edge.

Diversity in recruiting offers organizations many advantages, including access to a broader and more competent candidate pool. This breadth increases their likelihood of finding the most suitable hires for specific needs. In addition, candidates with diverse backgrounds have a unique worldview. Through a more uncommon approach to decision-making and problem-solving, their distinct perspectives may unlock a new level of potential within high-performing teams.

A recruitment process that observes robust Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity (DEI) practices also helps minimize unconscious bias. DEI practices increase fairness for all applicants, allowing organizations to consider candidates based on their skills.

Some other benefits of incorporating diverse hiring practices into the recruitment process include:

1. Better Candidate Experiences

Positive candidate experiences in diverse and inclusive hiring processes hold tremendous value. They actually tend to ripple outwards, shaping a company's public image.

When applicants encounter a welcoming and inclusive hiring process, they share their positive feedback with peers and networks. This builds a reputation for fairness, respect, and valuing diverse perspectives, attracting even more talented individuals who seek similar values in an employer.

Positive candidate experiences are key to reducing negative impacts like "ghosting" (candidates disappearing from the process) and offering rejections. When candidates feel well-respected, even amidst rejection, they're more likely to remain open to future opportunities or recommend a company to others. This reduces wasted time and resources in re-recruiting, improving talent acquisition efficiency.

Positive candidate experiences contribute to a broader culture of inclusion within an organization. When applicants see firsthand how an organization values diversity and respects all individuals, it sets the tone for a more engaged, satisfied, and productive workforce, attracting and retaining top talent.

2. More Precise Culture Matches

Showcasing commitment to DEI throughout the recruitment process, from inclusive job descriptions to diverse interview panels, sends a clear message about an organization’s values. This authenticity builds trust and engagement early on, making candidates more likely to see themselves thriving in a company’s culture.

Assessing cultural fit from the start allows organizations to find individuals whose viewpoints naturally align with a company's mission and vision. This shared understanding fosters a stronger sense of belonging and engagement among diverse employees — and contributes to higher productivity and profitability.

3. Enhanced Employer Branding and Reputation

Diverse candidates highly value pro-diversity initiatives. Nearly 76% of job seekers consider a company's diversity a deciding factor when accepting a job offer.

Moreover, being recognized as a diverse and inclusive employer strengthens its overall reputation as a socially responsible company. This helps organizations attract investors and partners who share their point of view and want more positive associations.

4. I​​ncreased Employee Engagement and Retention

A diverse recruitment process contributes to a more inclusive work environment where everyone feels welcome and respected. When employees feel valued and see themselves reflected in their workplace, they are more likely to engage with the organization and remain loyal to it.

Diversity efforts often translate into higher employee attraction and retention. This retention of talent saves companies time and resources invested in recruitment and training, resulting in increased productivity and overall business success.

5. Stronger Community Bonds

Building a diverse workforce allows companies to better connect with and understand its customers and communities. This is particularly important if a customer base itself is diverse.

Organizations gain valuable insights into the needs and perspectives of diverse talent by actively engaging with them during the recruitment process. As a result, leadership becomes better equipped to promote stronger community engagement and encourage potentially valuable partnerships.

6. Enhanced Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Investing in a diverse hiring strategy contributes positively to CSR efforts. It demonstrates a commitment to social responsibility and ethical practices, which resonates with stakeholders.

A more solid DEI reputation positions organizations as leaders in diversity and inclusion within an industry. It also enhances the overall brand image and attracts partnerships with like-minded organizations.

8 Steps To Develop Diverse Hiring Practices

Diverse talent sourcing and hiring allow teams to improve organizations from the inside out. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that DEI hiring initiatives go beyond standalone HR strategies. Leaders and teams across the entire organization must be willing to cultivate multicultural teams and support their diverse members.

Inclusive organizational practices play a pivotal role in employee retention after hiring. That’s why only incorporating DEI initiatives during the first stages of the recruiting and onboarding pipeline is useless without a company culture that matches.

Research shows that at least 23% of employees are willing to leave their jobs in search of organizations that promote inclusivity and equity. And the hiring process is a good place to start showcasing a commitment to these types of practices.

The primary steps to boost diversity in recruitment are:

  1. Improving your sourcing approach: Source diverse candidates beyond the traditional methods. Hiring teams often use social media or talent marketplaces to seek the best fit for an organization.
  2. Encouraging employee referrals: Offer incentives to current employees for referring diverse talent. Recommended hires tend to show higher retention rates.
  3. Refining your job descriptions: Ensure that job ads do not inadvertently deter candidates from applying. Use neutral language and avoid postings that may seem too exclusive.
  4. Testing candidate skills: Instead of solely focusing on traditional interview questions or what an applicant’s resume says, asses their skills through tailored tests. Mimic what they’d be doing on the job and allow them to showcase their abilities in a relevant setting.
  5. Implementing blind resumes: Minimize unconscious bias by redacting irrelevant data from applicant’s resumes. Blind hiring, or removing information such as their name, picture, age, and address, allows hiring managers to focus on skills alone.
  6. Using the right technology to screen candidates: An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) enables teams to efficiently shortlist the most suitable candidates with the help of applicable keywords. It’s also an excellent tool to help sort out resumes based on skills.
  7. Asking for feedback: Open communication with employees and candidates allows organizations to eliminate blind spots in the talent acquisition process. It also shows a commitment to more inclusive practices in the workplace and makes potential talent feel valued.
  8. Tracking relevant KPIs: Data is critical when gauging the effectiveness of diversity initiatives. Monitor key metrics and revisit any ongoing trends to identify effective or ineffective practices.

Obstacles to Establishing a Diverse Recruitment Process

Biases in hiring practices are a prevalent issue in diversity-seeking organizations. Some ideas are deeply entrenched and difficult to identify — let alone eliminate. Data suggest that 60% of applicants have been victims or at least witnessed unconscious and conscious bias at some point. For example, research found that white-sounding names get up to 50% more callbacks than Black or ethnic-sounding ones.

Identifying these problems in recruitment is the first step towards a more inclusive hiring process. Mindlessly trying to implement diversity practices in hiring without proper research is often counteractive. It might lead to wasted time and resources within your hiring teams. Leadership should assess an organization’s diversity needs first. Once primary gaps are identified, teams are better equipped to implement DEI strategies.

Diversity fatigue is another ongoing issue in some organizations. In some mismanaged organizations, employees may begin feeling threatened by diverse talent and excluded from equity initiatives. Leadership should invest in initiatives that allow all workforce members to feel respected, represented, and valued. Set realistic goals that keep morale high and team members willing to participate in creating a more inclusive workplace.

Hire LATAM Developers and Diversify Your Workforce

The tech industry depends on varied perspectives to thrive. Diversity hiring can significantly impact how your teams perform and achieve their overall goals.

Revelo connects you with talent from Latin America and helps you towards a more diverse workforce. We are a talent marketplace that connects US tech companies with remote software engineers pre-vetted for technical skills, English proficiency, and soft skills needed in your organization.

We also provide ongoing support through onboarding, payroll, benefits administration, taxes, and local compliance throughout a developer’s time with you. 

Contact Revelo and hire developers to pursue a cost-effective solution for workplace diversity.

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