Why You Should Prioritise DEI in Your Hiring

DEI has been the initialism on everyone’s lips for good reason. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are important pillars in talent and hiring that shouldn’t be overlooked and the benefits that come with diverse recruitment are absolutely worthwhile. There’s no reason it shouldn’t be at the forefront of your businesses’ mind. Cultivating that perfect, well-oiled machine of employees begins with the hiring process and so does DEI.

According to a 2021 Workable Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace survey, 63% of respondents have DEI as a priority in their organization, whereas an additional 17.6% say they’re interested – but either haven’t started or don’t know how.

 

 

Let’s look at the definitions.

We begin with the heavy hitter: diversity. This is the presence of differences within a given setting. For the workplace, it means the differences within your employees. These include race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, and socioeconomic class.

Then we come to equity. Ensure the process and programs that are in place are impartial, fair, and provide equal outcomes for everyone. When it comes to recruitment, it means that someone isn’t denied an interview based solely on the differences listed above.

Last, but certainly not least, we have inclusion. When talking about hiring and the workplace, inclusion means ensuring that everyone feels a sense of belonging. It means feeling a sense of comfort and being supported by their employers when they’re being their authentic selves.

It has never been more important for businesses to commit completely to a diverse recruitment strategy in sourcing, hiring, and retaining underrepresented talent. 

People want to feel represented wherever they go. Ensuring you have diversity in your workplace will open a wealth of new and undiscovered opportunities for everyone.

Diversity is no longer just a buzzword or a dance group that found fame on Britain’s Got Talent. It’s the spark for meaningful change in the workplace, despite the injustices and marginalisation that underrepresented groups have faced in the past. As employers, you have to be on top of diversity, as well as equity and inclusion. It’s no longer enough to hire a diverse workforce, you must make sure the space they’re entering is as much for them as it is for anyone else. 

Think of it like this: if you hire individuals that don’t differ from each other, you will only gain the same perspectives, ideas, and solutions. A more diverse workforce means more perspectives, differing ideas, and unique solutions, amongst a whole host of other benefits. From a business standpoint, the more diverse your workforce is, the better your outcomes will be.

When it comes to your recruitment strategy, you need to ensure your procedures are unbiased so everyone gets a fair chance. It’s about shaking those unconscious biases (as much of a stalemate as that sounds) so you can find the best candidates for that role. CVs from people with a “white-sounding name” receive 25% more responses from employers than the same CVs with “black-sounding names”. This is a personal characteristic that doesn’t relate to how a person performs in the slightest.

Diverse recruitment is not where it ends. Equity comes into play as employers need to recognise the barriers and advantages their employees face. Everyone doesn’t start at the same level. So the field needs to be leveled so barriers that individuals face when entering the recruitment phase will be the same for everyone. Ensuring an equitable hiring process often goes together with a diverse hiring process.

An inclusive recruitment process, another piece of the DEI puzzle, refers to the individual and the talent pool as a whole. People want to belong; they want to know that they’re valued. They’re not just there to ‘fill a gap’ or be the token representative of a demographic. If they feel represented, supported, and comforted, they will have more room to complete their job at the highest standard.

Technology is on your side. Check out Five Simple Tools to Optimise and Diversify Your Hiring Pools.

 

Final thoughts

 

Making a conscious effort to create a welcoming environment has a knock-on effect – when you start focusing on including diverse employees and candidates, you begin to attract more diverse employees and candidates. It’s not a process that will happen overnight. It’s a process that employers must be conscious of and be willing to educate themselves on continuously.