There’s never been an easy button for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. However, major shifts in technology and mindsets are making diverse candidates more visible and accessible to recruiters than ever before. While there’s more to DEI than recruiting, it is a major avenue to making our organizations more equitable and inclusive. As the traditional barriers that stood between employers and candidates crumble, employers will have more access to more qualified, more diverse candidates than ever before. For DEI-minded companies, the question becomes who is best positioned to capitalize on a truly global talent pool?
The Benefits of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Never before in my career as an HR leader have I seen this level of energy and concern from executive leaders on this topic. While major political and social events brought this issue to the forefront of many leaders’ minds, the business case for DEI was already well established in the data.
Researchers at The Wall Street JournalOpens a new window , McKinsey & Co.Opens a new window , and other respected institutions discovered significant, positive correlations between DEI and financial performance. According to WSJ’s research, the companies with the highest diversity scores â€œnot only have better operating results on average than the lowest-scoring firms, but their shares generally outperform those of the least-diverse firms.â€ McKinsey’s research supports these findings as well.
Business leaders know that a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace has the potential to drive significant, measurable improvements in profitability, stock price, employee engagement, and other key performance indicators. When we apply DEI principles to talent acquisition, we are sowing the seeds for a better, more profitable future.
But while the will is there, there were (until recently) many natural and unnatural barriers standing in the way of a more diverse candidate pipeline. Let’s examine two major barriers to hiring with DEI in mind.
Barriers To Hiring for DEI Success
1. Lack of truly global hiring platforms
One of the biggest challenges we faced as human resources leaders was the fact that much of the globe’s talent supply was hidden or made inaccessible by factors such as geographical distance or a lack of awareness that the talent we needed even existed outside our own backyards from where we traditionally draw talent.
During the pandemic, technologies like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and others demonstrated geography is not nearly the barrier to performance we once thought. We now have incontrovertible proof that many roles can be done remotely and, therefore, can be done from anywhere on the globe. If a game-changing coder lives in Kazakhstan, there’s no reason she can’t take a job with a software firm based in Austin, Texas.
Just as collaboration and videoconferencing software are shrinking the distance between employers and top talent, global hiring platforms are increasing the visibility of top talent. Until recently, employers had to use a patchwork of niche job boards and other sources to gain access to even a fraction of the global talent supply. While we knew that great talent was going untapped and unnoticed, it was hard to actually go out and find it outside the regions and institutions we traditionally relied on. Now DEI-focused organizations can actually identify and connect with standout candidates anywhere in the world and start reaping the rewards of a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace.
2. Lack of candidate vetting at scale
In a global job market, you can easily switch from having too few candidates to too many. Building a diverse, global candidate pipeline demands a solid vetting process to ensure your recruiting team doesn’t get lost in a flood of resumes.
Automation/AI tech has the ability to reduce the administrative burden of recruiting while improving the overall quality of your candidates. However, DEI-minded organizations know better than most that we can’t simply turn the entire operation over to the machines. Algorithms can easily absorb the biases of their creators and apply them on a massive scale.
If you want to expand your talent search to the entire globe, humans with deep recruiting expertise supported by enabling technologies are the ideal combination. Use technology to reduce administrative burdens, but don’t rely on it to substitute for human experience and judgment.
Now, if you’re thinking about leveraging modern hiring platforms on a global scale, as I described above, I highly recommend you take a few additional steps to ensure your recruiting processes are optimized to align with the core principles of DEI and ultimately increase the diversity of your workforce.
Steps To Take To Align With DEI Principles
1. Audit your processes for potential sources of bias
This is an important exercise for any organization, but especially for those that wish to make diversity a priority. Does a particular department tend to favor candidates with credentials from elite Western universities? Are your job postings designed to appeal primarily to candidates from North America? Take the time and do the work to identify any potential problem areas before they arise.
2. Find the right hiring tech partners
So, you’re feeling pretty confident about the lack of bias in your hiring practices. What about your technology partners? Are they as committed as you are to DEI? Can they even handle the global scope of your talent acquisition needs? Is their assessment tool going to land your company in court? In a global marketplace, you need technology partners that can not only do the job but do it in a way that is legally compliant and inclusive. Have this conversation early and often with current or potential future technology partners.
3. De-bias your job postings
Don’t let unconscious bias rear its ugly head in the first interaction a candidate has with your company. Research suggests that using overly masculine or feminine language in job postings can make certain types of candidates less likely to apply for a position, even if they’re well qualified. Replacing gendered language with neutral terms wherever possible is an effective way to reduce bias and make your hiring process more inclusive from the start.
4. Anonymize resumes
Studies show that even disclosing a candidate’s name or gender too early in the hiring process may hurt the chances of qualified minority candidates moving on to the next round. Removing candidates’ names and replacing them with numbers is an easy way to neutralize unconscious biases early on in the recruiting process and increase the diversity of your candidate slate.
If your company is committed to DEI and wants to become a player in the growing global talent marketplace, start investing now in the technological platforms, human expertise, and inclusive, equitable hiring practices. The dams that separated employers from game-changing global talent are about to burst. Will you ride the wave that comes after or be swept away?
What steps are you taking to optimize your global recruiting strategy to ensure DEI success? Share with us on LinkedInOpens a new window ,Â FacebookOpens a new window , andÂ TwitterOpens a new window .