Strategy #1: Rewriting the Playbook

A diversity-and-inclusion-focused approach can change everything about the recruiting and onboarding process. It can cause people to expand beyond their comfort zones of where they recruit, how they recruit, the questions they ask and who’s involved in the interview process.

But there’s work to do before you recruit: You have to assess your current state and define what you want to accomplish. For example, if your board and staff aren’t diverse, candidates won’t believe you value diversity. If your company has prestigious awards, do the winners represent diversity? And take a look at your vendors — do you make an effort to source vendors that meet your diversity objectives?

You’ll need to play the long game. Your marketing objectives and sourcing processes could change, but over time you’ll discover a range of unique, qualified candidates that disappeared in your previous screening — or never saw your job posting at all.

The goal is to identify and remove potential biases when sourcing, screening, and developing a slate of candidates who might otherwise have been ignored or discriminated against. By doing so, you open your organization up to a whole range of exciting new possibilities.

—Chris Carosella
CEO; Beta Gamma Sigma

Strategy #2: Articulating a Company-wide Commitment to Diversity

A comprehensive organization-wide diversity initiative should begin with a commitment to diversity and inclusion that is articulated by the highest levels of management in the organization. A comprehensive strategy includes the evaluation of an organization’s recruitment, interviewing, performance management, and promotion processes to identify potential biases and weaknesses.

While employers can specify diversity goals, employers should seek advice to ensure that the articulated goals are compliant with state and federal anti-discrimination laws.

—Andrea K. Douglas
Senior Attorney, Employment, Labor & Workforce Management Practice; Epstein Becker Green

Strategy #3: Making Diversity Part of Every Conversation

Diversity has to be part of your company’s DNA. When recruiting, not only do we target schools and programs with diverse populations, we also make sure at the interview, candidates see for themselves just how much we value diversity of thought. They see this in the hiring panel (where one interviewer will always be diverse), in the benefits we offer for same-sex domestic partners and in the ways we’re advocating for social causes and efforts that advance diversity.  

Chatelle Lynch
Chief Human Resources Officer; McAfee

Strategy #4: Partnering with Minority Institutions

Increase diversity recruitment by targeting gender- and minority-specific institutions and associations. For example, partnering with minority colleges will yield strong entry-level candidates who can grow with your team and rise to leadership positions

— Cheryl Amyx
Founder; 4CEO, Inc.

Strategy #5: Stacking the Deck

One building block is called “Stacking the Deck,” which means setting yourself up to be dealt a favorable hand. In cards, a “stacked” deck gives one player an advantage. In this example, you are building the advantage for yourself by doing some extra work on the front end to create a situation that lends itself to more diversity and inclusion. A good example is in the hiring process.

In a normal situation, the hiring manager is encouraged to “consider diversity and inclusion when making a hiring decision.” Very difficult to do, particularly when the candidates may not be particularly diverse or inclusive. The way to stack the deck is to be thoughtful about creating and surfacing a diverse slate of candidates before they ever get to the hiring manager, by making the job description available to certain community groups, non-profit organizations, job organizations, and by buying targeted ads to ensure a diverse slate of candidates. If in a normal situation you might have had one or two candidates out of six meet an inclusion standard, and you can stack the deck so four or five candidates meet those standards, you’ll dramatically increase your chances for a successful hire and take a lot of pressure off your managers at once.

Tom Alexander
Founding Partner, Holistic

Strategy #6: Talk Diversity in the Interview

Research conducted by Yello and The Harris Poll finds more than half of job seekers have asked about an employer’s diversity commitment directly in an interview. As these questions bubble up more frequently in the recruitment process, are you prepared to answer?

Conversations about diversity and inclusion are becoming as commonplace in an interview as “Tell me about your culture” or “How will this role make an impact?” If you don’t have a strategy to address and embrace diversity both in the interview process and in the workplace, you’ll lose top talent.

Jen Meza
VP of People, Yello