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What Do You Mean by 'Diversity and Inclusion' Initiatives? Get Started with Measurable Outcomes

August 4, 2020
iCIMS Staff
4 min read

Under pressure—good song, bad feeling. No one wants to feel the stress and anxiety of being asked to kickstart a complex, sensitive program—especially not one that is getting global media coverage.

But that might be you. You and your colleagues may be the ones currently tasked with uncovering layers of bias at your company and determining how to eradicate them from your practices.

The pressure is on. With everything going on in the world today, particularly in large cities, companies are on the line to say something; do something; change. That’s why corporate diversity and inclusion initiatives are popping up at your organization (hopefully), in your social feeds, and topping your inboxes.

Inaction is part of the problem, so I’m excited to see how various corporations are responding to important social issues. As a member of the talent community, I know you want to ensure your company is taking the necessary steps to facilitate positive change, too.

Where do you begin?

As a TA/HR leader you want to start with assessing your goals: How diverse is your workforce and where are the gaps? At what job levels do you need to focus? What about inclusion efforts? In other words, what do you mean by diversity and inclusion initiatives and what are their measurable outcomes? (Learn more about diversity and inclusion in hiring here).

To help break it down, our partner Melissa Dobbins, Founder and CEO of Career.Place, an anonymous candidate screening solution, noted the levers needed to reach your goals. Melissa bucketed them into three main categories so you can get started.

1. People: Everything starts and ends with people. With the right talent, you can achieve anything. So, look at your current demographics. It’s important to see where you are today to determine where you can be tomorrow.

2. Process: Once you know where you are, check out the recruitment marketing efforts you use in market now. What are you saying in your messaging? Who typically responds? Who typically does not? The data will help reassess and reposition your go-to-market strategy to open the door to a wider pool of talent.

3. Tech: Next, you need to use the right recruiting software to meet your goals. When data funnels from your candidate applicant tracking system to your screening, interview, and recruitment marketing platform, you have one unified system of record. This will help you to track your progress and iterate when needed.

Align on metrics to meet your goals

To succeed, you’ll want to ensure the above three categories are leveled to your corporate objectives and fundamental goals. Without an infrastructure of support at the highest level, you’re more likely to have a temporary fix rather than foundational change. To sustain support from C-Suite members, help tie goals to revenue, profit, cost, brand value, risk, and compliance. In other words, you need to find the value in diversity initiatives rather than hitting some arbitrary number. 

Melissa Dobbins, Founder and CEO, Career.Place

“With the wrong goals, you risk losing support and momentum and ultimately the initiative can fizzle and fail.”– Melissa Dobbins, Founder and CEO, Career.Place

Straight numbers should not be the focus. Setting a goal of hiring 30% more women or making a demographic a qualification for employment will not improve your workforce. Sure, on paper it will sound better, but will it really help improve your diversity and inclusion initiatives? When you tokenize people as a “diversity hire,” they will feel it; the organization will feel it; and the needle moves backwards.

Instead, look for ways to draw in more talent with a set precedent on how you attract all groups to your organization. An actionable first step is to review your core recruiting software tools and make sure the messaging does not feed biases. The following are great places to start:

– Talent Pools

– Career Pages

– Job Descriptions

– Job Requirements

– Candidate Screening

Melissa Dobbins Founder and CEO Career.Place

“Drive tomorrow to be better than today” – Melissa Dobbins, Founder and CEO, Career.Place

When you ensure your talent attraction tools focus on hiring the best talent—regardless of gender, race, or orientation—then you organically create a diverse workforce. To learn more about how to approach diversity and inclusion at your organization, check out Decode Diversity: How to Recruit High-Performing Teams.

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