written by
Michele Heyward

Creating Diverse And Inclusive Hiring & Retention Strategies

Career 4 min read
Five in four candidates say that diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace are important to them. Black and Latino women employees, especially in STEM, are more likely to leave their jobs because of mistreatment, unfairness, and lack of diverse and inclusive hiring & retention strategies.

The nature of work is changing and with it employee retention and turnover. A Resourcing and Planning survey by CIPD 2020 shows that the rate of voluntary employee turnover doubled from 5.5% in 2014 to 10.1% in 2019. This is because your diverse employees aren’t tolerating it anymore. A majority of them are raising their voice and quitting their jobs if they are facing discrimination, bias, and racism. The US Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued the 2020 data according to which there were 67,448 charges of workplace discrimination costing employers $439.2 million in lawsuits and settlements.

If you still haven’t thought about creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive hiring and retention strategy, you are late already. Before it is too late and your company cannot adapt to the changing workforce dynamics, here are ways through which you can make your hiring and retention strategies diverse & inclusion specific:

GET LEADERSHIP SUPPORT – Your C-suite and upper management must support you if you want to succeed in hiring and retaining diverse employees. Communicate with the entire team about your plan and start preparing the agenda department-wise. Chart out goals and plans for the DEI commitment of your organization and design proper plans on how your idea will work. Make the existing leaders and team follow them first before you start a new phase of bringing new employees.

MAKE THE CASE FOR DIVERSITY – Sometimes the bias and discrimination are so ingrained in the organization that the idea of following new hiring & retention strategies and making new programs sounds difficult to the existing team. To make people aware of this bias and to make the case for diversity hiring & long-term retention, you must prove your case. Research by the University of Illinois showed that every added percent of diversity hiring resulted in a nine times increase in sales revenue. A study by BCG found that when the percentage of women in management jobs increased to more than 20% there was a significant increase in corporate revenue. Korn Ferry quotes that 95% of executives agreed that a culture of diversity and inclusion results in innovation. Statistics like these are enough to show what your organization is missing out on.

FOCUS ON YOUR JOB DESCRIPTIONS – Make sure you write inclusive job descriptions. Pay attention to the language you are using by leaving out terms that imply specific genders and uses industry jargon. By using certain neutral words in your job postings, you will attract more women and candidates from different backgrounds. Zillow Group attracted 10% to 11% more women applicants by paying attention to the words they were using in their job descriptions. Emphasize more on the responsibilities of the candidate & the preferred work experience rather than the requirements and educational background.

GIVE ATTENTION TO NEW HIRES – Diverse employees need more attention than normal hires because they have more chances of being discriminated against. Your job doesn’t end at hiring, but it continues even more after you have hired. Make the assimilation of diverse new hires easier by creating a special diversity onboarding program and subprogram covering up to the first six months. Otherwise, they might end up feeling out of place. It is even more important if you want more diverse candidates to be promoted to the senior level in the future. If you cannot keep them for long, how do you expect your leadership structure to change? Hence, the key is to make them feel welcomed, get rid of all your biases, and make your workplace as diversity-friendly as it can be. Another good point is to ensure that you have an exit interview as well, so you know the reason whenever a diverse candidate leaves your workforce. This will allow you to explore all the areas you can do better as a company.

INVEST IN YOUR EMPLOYEES – Employee productivity and happiness with their work depend on how much the employer engages with them. Invest in the development and performance of your employees. Stay updated with the strengths, ambitions, and skillsets of all your employees and give them chances to upgrade their skills. Whenever you incentivize learning, there is a chance that your employee would want to stay to continue the learning process. Mentorship and sponsorship programs alongside sponsoring ERGs will prove to be beneficial here.

MEASURE AND REWARD MANAGERS – As much as you should focus on your diverse candidates, you also must pay close attention to your managers and how they are dealing with this transition in the company. Set KPIs, measure their performance, and reward them. Make it a part of their bonus and promotion criteria. This measure and reward approach has proven benefits in organizations as big as INTEL, so replicate it and assess the results.

Consider this your initial toolkit to formulate inclusive hiring and retention strategies your company needs.

Diversity and Inclusion Workplace