Making Diversity and Inclusion a Reality Through Talent Acquisition Technology

The Symphony Talent Team
May 9 ․ 6 min read

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Diversity and inclusion aren’t buzzwords — they’re a matter of social responsibility. Benefitting not just individuals, a diverse, inclusive workplace is an asset for colleagues and corporations, too.

Not surprisingly, a diverse and inclusive employee base — one featuring varied approaches and perspectives — proves more competitive in a global economy. That’s true whether you’re talking about race, gender, age, ability, religion, sexual orientation, experience, personality or skill set. According to the McKinsey & Company report, “Companies in the top-quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile. For ethnic/cultural diversity, top-quartile companies were 33% more likely to outperform on profitability.”

Further support comes from a recent Deloitte survey, which notes that diverse workplaces generate 30% higher revenue per employee. Those same organizations are twice as likely to meet — or exceed — financial goals. As such, 68% of companies are emphasizing diversity efforts in recruiting, while exploring technologies that reduce bias in recruiting.

So, how do you recruit diverse candidates with the help of technology? It starts with inclusive-sounding job descriptions. Enlist software that conducts sentiment analysis to help “de-bias” postings, identify exclusionary language and suggest alternatives in order to attract a diverse candidate pool.

You also need an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that collects demographic-related data to ensure your organization aligns with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requirements. Having a built-in ATS feature that measures the diversity — or a lack of diversity — in your talent pipeline lets you adjust recruiting techniques as needed.

Not to be overlooked, artificial intelligence (AI) is key to reducing human bias in recruiting. Designed for pattern matching, AI can screen the resumes of existing employees in order to learn the qualifications of a job. It can then identify right-fit candidates, ignoring demographic factors — like gender, race and age — which are known to affect hiring decisions.

When it comes to talent marketing, a picture’s worth a thousand words. You need to feature photography and videos on your career website that reflect your organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Given Glassdoor notes that 67% of job seekers find diversity a key factor when considering companies and job offers, it’s clear that visual cues do matter. When your career website and content marketing reflects the diversity of your employees, leadership, and company culture, it tends to inspire, engage and attract diversified talent.

Finally, you have to practice what you preach, ensuring your workforce understands and embraces diversity and inclusion policies while creating a work culture that reflects these corporate values in kind.

Because having a less homogenous workforce involves not just recruiting — but also retaining — diverse talent, it’s important to rethink recruitment, engagement and hiring practices once candidates are in the door. Sure, that sounds great in theory. In practice, it can prove more challenging than you’d expect.

STEM careers are a good case in point. Given careers in the field tend to be male-dominated, HR executives have to position STEM careers as more attractive to female candidates and employees — an effort that begins at job description level and carries through to hiring processes and onboarding. Beyond rethinking the way job descriptions are written, diverse interview panels are key. If candidates only meet with men, for example, you’re sending a subtle message to a female candidate that this role may not be an ideal fit.

Ultimately, you need to do more than hire a diverse talent pool: employees need to become advocates for your brand. With everyone connecting in more places than ever before, your advocates promote your all-important employer brand, amplifying your brand message while turning your engaged workforce into “recruiters.” Those recruiters advance your talent acquisition efforts and restart the life cycle, making an omnichannel talent acquisition strategy integral to your success.

At the end of the day, organizations need to remove barriers that lead to poor advancement and working conditions — micro-inequities that cause people to leave their jobs, or not consider applying for those jobs in the first place. Central to change? Analytics, which shed light on inequities and pave the way for an ongoing commitment from HR. Really, it’s not simply about inviting people to the party (diversity), it’s about asking them to dance and making sure they feel welcome (inclusion).