The Role of Recruitment in Driving Diversity in the Workforce

An effective diversity program recognizes that an organisation’s workforce and their customer base consists of a diverse population of people with differences. When these differences are harnessed a productive environment is created where employees feel valued, potential is harnessed and customers are better served. The benefits gained from fostering a diverse workforce include:

  • enhanced understanding of the customer base and their specific needs;
  • increased productivity through diverse talents, using different skill sets, working together towards a common goal;
  • increased creativity and problem solving from individuals bringing their own way of thinking and operating;
  • improved attraction and retention of talent through employees feeling accepted, appreciated and belonging to the business; and
  • improved synergy in teams by enhancing communication skills that bring in new attitudes and processes.

There exists a wealth of guidance on how an organisation can establish a proper diversity program to harness these benefits. The key elements of such a program consist of:

  • establishing a vision that links diversity to core business outcomes;
  • collecting and analysing objective diversity data to identify required changes;
  • setting specific diversity targets and implementing specific actions and programs which improve diversity outcomes; and
  • measuring the outcomes of diversity initiatives and aligning those outcomes to manager KPIs.

Recruitment and talent management teams are well placed to lead an organisation’s diversity efforts especially in regards to the collection, analysis and review of diversity data and the implementation of actions and programs which promote a diverse workforce. By way of example, if an organisation intends to improve its gender equality throughout its workforce then the recruitment and talent management teams should:

  • establish and report on gender-diversity targets such as the percentage of women at each stage of the hiring process or promoted into leadership positions;
  • collect diagnostic information on pay equity, retention and promotions and use objective data and feedback to assess the organisation’s gender-diversity performance;
  • identity and remove gender biases embedded into the recruitment and selection practices and provide transparency around the criteria for internal promotions;
  • develop networking and sourcing strategies which facilitate the recruitment and retention of a gender-diverse workforce;
  • provide hiring manager training sessions that address unconscious bias and promote a gender-diverse perspective when articulating the characteristics of effective employees;
  • promote the need for flexibility in employment conditions and programs which help reconcile work and family life; and
  • facilitate programs which encourage female networking, the mentoring of junior women by senior executives and delivery of skill-building training aimed specifically at women.

Many countries are now pushing legislative regimes that mandate diversity targets or quotas and as a result organisations will be increasingly compelled to implement diversity programs to satisfy those requirements. However, regardless of the legal requirements, organisations should already be promoting their own diversity agendas to reap the financial and cultural benefits on offer from a diverse workforce.

Learn how Hudson RPO can play a role with diversity in your company. Contact us today.

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