How to Improve Diversity Hiring with Workforce Data

Mary Lorenz


By now, you’ve probably heard about the many benefits of having a diverse workforce. Studies have shown that companies with more diverse workforces are more innovative and perform better financially than less diverse companies. Not to mention that companies focused on diversity have a competitive edge when recruiting: According to Glassdoor research, 2 in 3 candidates consider diversity an important factor when deciding where to work. 

While you may already understand the benefits of having a diverse workforce, achieving diversity is easier said than done. Fortunately, workforce data can help you improve workplace diversity and equality in your hiring practices. Here are a few ideas:

Conduct a diversity audit. In order to create a strategy to improve diversity hiring, you need a benchmark. Conducting a diversity audit of your current workforce will reveal where you need to improve your diversity efforts the most and help you set goals. Look at not just the demographic breakdown of your organization, but which programs you have in place that foster inclusion and how much they are being utilized. Make sure you solicit feedback from employees (via an anonymous survey) to see how they feel about your organization’s inclusion efforts and where they see room for improvement.

Pay special attention to retention. When conducting your diversity audit, one key metric to pay attention to is the retention level of underrepresented staff. Higher turnover levels among minorities is a major indicator that your inclusion practices are lacking.

Look at candidate and new hire data. In addition to assessing your current workplace, you can also do a diversity audit of your hiring process to see if there is any implicit bias you need to address. According to ERE’s John Sullivan, key metrics to look at include: Percentage of diverse resumes; percentage of interviews with diverse candidates; percentage of job offers; percentage of all hires; and turnover levels of diversity hires within a year as compared to turnover rates of all new hires.

Look at source of apply. Do you track the source of your applications? While identifying diverse applicants can be tricky – many candidates choose not to reveal their race, gender and/or ethnicity –  you may still have enough data to see which sources are bringing in a higher percentage of diversity candidates. This will help you determine where to focus your recruitment marketing efforts.

Understand supply and demand with labor market demographics. To a certain extent, your ability to hire diverse candidates may be explained by the supply of diversity candidates in your particular regional labor market. A labor market analysis tool such as Emsi Analyst shows the amount of minority workers in an occupation within a market to help you understand if there is a low supply of candidates. You can also use it to find the areas where there are higher percentages of your target candidates in order to re-focus your diversity hiring efforts. 

Use college campus data to focus your recruiting efforts. A tool such as College Analyst can help you find diversity candidates right out of college by showing which colleges are producing the kind of graduates you need. You can filter the results according to area of study, educational program, ethnicity, gender, and number of completions, enabling you to create a more focused campus recruiting strategy.

Examining the right data can help you reveal the biases that are preventing you from having a truly diverse workplace. Make sure you re-evaluate these metrics on a regular basis (perhaps annually or semi-annually), in order to gauge your progress and see where adjustments are needed.

Want more expert hiring advice? Check out Hiring Tips from Famous CEOs

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