What is inclusive hiring?

Diversity is a key phrase you'll often hear in today's organizations. It's becoming increasingly apparent that businesses promoting diversity enjoy a wealth of benefits, including greater earnings and more rapid innovation. Creating a diverse workforce can be challenging, as many people have unconscious biases that cause them to gravitate to people like themselves. Inclusive recruiting works toward building a more diversified workplace.

What is inclusive hiring?

Inclusive hiring equitably evaluates and selects new hires from a diverse pool of applicants. Inclusive hiring strives to eliminate inherent biases that can lead to a monoculture in the workplace. While some people think primarily of serving protected classifications regarding inclusive hiring, this practice goes well beyond to include employees with different backgrounds, skill sets, beliefs, and ideologies. 

The benefits of inclusive hiring practices

Inclusive hiring offers a wealth of advantages for any organization. A diverse workforce benefits small businesses and those striving to enter new markets.

Attracting better talent

“70% of job seekers indicate that a company's commitment to inclusion, equity, and diversity is important to them.”

Companies utilizing inclusive hiring practices are more appealing to candidates from diverse backgrounds. A whopping 70% of job seekers indicate that a company's commitment to inclusion, equity, and diversity is important to them.

Your business is more likely to attract a variety of skilled and talented applicants with differing experiences and skills when open to inclusive hiring. If your company has a reputation for only hiring within a small demographic, you mightn't find talent outside that limited scope because candidates are less likely to join an organization where they're a minority.

Enjoying better business performance

Companies that prioritize inclusion as a hallmark of their talent strategy outperform others. Cash flow for these inclusive companies was 2.3 times higher per employee over three years. These companies were 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders and 1.8 times more likely to be ready for change. Diverse companies can capture new markets 70% more than those that aren't diverse.

Eliminating bias

It's easy to succumb to unconscious inclinations in any area of business. Within a monoculture, it's more likely that employees will share the same attitudes. In a diverse workplace, however, employees can help one another combat their biases. An unconscious preference in one person is more likely to be noticed by another. With open communication and a commitment to open-minded business strategies, companies practicing inclusive hiring are well-poised to combat prejudice.

Inclusive recruitment practices

Implement mindful practices to attract inclusive hires to your company by emphasizing diversity and eliminating opportunities for bias. These inclusive recruitment strategies will help attract the applicants you need to foster a diverse environment in your company.

Revisit your culture and brand

Review your company's culture and brand to ensure it's appropriately diverse. Explore how your company defines and practices diversity. Consider whether it's an afterthought or a primary goal. You can foster a diverse culture by:

  • Making the workplace accessible and functional regardless of motor, auditory, visual, or physical disabilities
  • Expanding the company calendar to include holidays representing different beliefs
  • Providing diversity training to all employees
  • Respecting different pronoun usage

You can make your brand more inclusive by including people from various cultures and backgrounds in your advertising. Ensure your marketing team is diverse and encourage them to develop campaigns that appeal to them so you can reach a wider audience and create an inclusive brand.

Build a diverse recruitment team

Diversity is important in every part of an organization, but it's essential for your recruitment team. When you're in the earlier stages of adding diversity to your workforce, this is where you should start. A well-rounded, professional hiring team is well-poised to connect with diverse potential employees.

Develop a structured hiring process

Have a clear, structured hiring process for all candidates to ensure every applicant receives fair treatment. Set up interview scorecards to evaluate skill sets on an even playing field. Use resume screening tools to help you focus on important skills while ignoring less essential qualities.

Craft and post inclusive job descriptions

Carefully craft your job descriptions to avoid biased language targeting gender, race, or background. Remove details such as names, photos, and educational backgrounds from resumes to eliminate some opportunities for bias when deciding who to interview.

If you want to highlight certain words in the job description, use a larger, bolded font instead of italics or underlines. The former is easier for candidates with visual problems or dyslexia to read.

Honor non-traditional employment paths

While employees need certain capabilities or skill sets for a job, avoid specifying how applicants obtain those skills. For example, real-world experience can prove as valuable as a college education in some jobs.

Tips for using inclusive language

Inclusive language is important throughout the hiring process to promote workplace diversity. You should use this type of language on your company website, in your job postings, and throughout your communication with potential candidates. Work to make inclusive language an ingrained part of your company culture so you're not just attracting a diverse workforce but successfully retaining them.

Emphasize your inclusive culture

It's no surprise that words relating to inclusivity will attract diverse hires. Use terms such as:

  • Equal opportunity
  • Inclusive
  • Fostering
  • Encourage

You could also publicize some inclusive hiring success stories by highlighting some of your employees in special features on your company blog or web page. Businesses known to be successful at attracting diverse applicants will draw even more distinctive potential hires.

Avoid gendered language

Avoid using pronouns of any sort in your job description. Use titles such as chairperson instead of chairman. Rather than speaking of the ideal candidate and saying, "He will have strong interpersonal skills," use the words they and you. You may also evaluate your job postings for words more likely to attract or repel one gender over the other. 

Some online tools can help analyze whether words are more masculine or feminine. Remaining neutral can help you avoid unintentional biases. If achieving neutrality is too daunting, you could also use a mixture of masculine and feminine words to ensure you're including a broad audience and not leaning too heavily in one direction.

Appeal to multigenerational workers

It's important to write job postings that successfully reach applicants of all ages. Utilizing terms such as seasoned can imply you're not open to younger employees. If you speak about a vibrant applicant, you might turn away older people. 

You should also avoid specifying a certain number of years of experience. This implies that a younger individual couldn't attain the same skill set in less time. Just as you should be open to applicants who followed a non-traditional educational path, you should consider those with a natural talent or exceptional potential regardless of how many years they've spent in the industry.

Using inclusive recruitment strategies can make a big impact on your workforce. It should ultimately strengthen your company by giving you a wider range of unique talents to draw upon.

More tips on creating an inclusive workplace:

Create an inclusive culture by forming employee resource groups and giving your workers a forum to voice their opinions.

Learn how to battle preconceived notions that have no basis so your employees are never judged unfairly.

Cater mindfully to employees of every age so you can draw and satisfy a highly diverse workforce.

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