How to attract, recruit and retain diverse talent

In today’s competitive climate, fostering an inclusive culture is no longer an option: it’s essential. Without a diverse workforce offering a plethora of fresh perspectives, innovation is restricted, and growth is stifled. In fact, a recent study by McKinsey revealed that companies in the top quartile for gender, racial, and ethnic diversity were more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians. As well as commercial success, however, it’s no secret that a diverse workforce makes for a healthy and happy organisational culture.

Despite this, a number of businesses still lag behind their targets, while some aren’t sure where to start in building a diverse workforce.  Fortunately, we’ve broken it down into four steps, with key actionable points:

Reconsider your recruitment process


If your organisation is struggling to attract diverse candidates, you may want to reconsider your approach. Regrettably, candidates from minority groups are often reluctant to apply for roles, based on past experiences or their perceived lack of chances in getting hired. No longer can leaders wait for talented candidates from diverse backgrounds to come to them and simply shrug it off when none apply.

Instead, a proactive approach needs to be taken in sourcing these individuals and attracting them to the business.

When casting a net into the talent pool, it’s natural for employers to look to their network as their first port of call – after all, most people prefer to interact with those who are “like them.” If this sounds like your talent attraction strategy, be warned: this practice can restrict your reach, and prevent you from getting a bigger picture of the candidates currently available.

Build an inclusive brand


If you want to attract a diverse workforce, candidates should be able to gather from your employer brand that promoting inclusion is an organisational priority. On the surface, it may seem like a Catch-22 situation: without a diverse staff-base, how can you attract diverse candidates? However, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s too late to change how others perceive you.

In fact, the more committed you are in nurturing an inclusive environment and promoting equal opportunities, the more you will be recognised within the community for championing the cause.

Luckily, the internet is on your side: with a range of social media sites to take advantage of, the digital world is your stage in promoting the values of the organisation to potential employees.

Hack your hiring methods


Successfully attracting diverse talent is pointless if the hiring process pushes them away. In many cases, business leaders fail to notice the deep-rooted biases that exist within their hiring methods and, in turn, they lose unique talent to the competition. The first step in eradicating unconscious bias is to educate those involved in recruiting for the role of its existence, and continually raise awareness of the issue throughout the entire process.

From screening of CVs to interviewing tactics and the decision making process that follows, bias can rear its ugly head at every stage. Making an effort to select candidates on their skill and experience rather than social background is a start, as even segregating only those with the right grades could unintentionally narrow your shortlist to a small, privileged few.

No matter what the criteria, all candidates should be treated equally and asked the same questions during the interview process. The more diverse and culturally sensitive the interviewing panel, the more likely you are to welcome candidates from a variety of backgrounds to the organisation.

Never lose sight of the employee experience


Attracting and recruiting a diverse range of employees is only half the battle. In order to foster an inclusive culture, employers must consider how they can help their existing employees to feel accepted, safe and welcome in the workplace at all times.

It may not seem necessary when no incidents occur, but involving all new employees in a mandatory training session on a harassment-free workplace will ensure that the tone is clearly set within the business. Should an employee experience discrimination due to their gender, race, ethnicity, social class or sexual orientation, employers must make an example of the aggressor to the wider organisation and make all staff aware of the consequences of this behaviour.

Further to this, it’s essential to check in with your staff during regular one-to-one meetings, to determine whether there are any problems or staff behaviours that have gone unnoticed. You should also take this chance to gain feedback from your employees on how the company is perceived and if there are any areas in particular that could be improved.

If you’re looking for an executive search agency to help you attract, recruit and retain diverse talent, then get in touch with Audeliss today.