Committing to Diversity

  • Using inclusive language in job descriptions can and will expand your candidate pool of interested prospects.
  • Don’t just tell us about your commitment to diversity, but show us how you are staying true to that commitment.
  • Nurturing your prospective candidates builds a relationship that prepares you and your underrepresented talents to learn from and trust one another.
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Organizations have a commitment to their employees, partners, customers, and all stakeholders to uphold their mission and values. And now, underrepresented people are looking at how companies are building their cultures and how they address and revolve around marginalized communities. As more companies continue to place more value on their diversity and inclusion efforts, it is important to differentiate how they talk versus how they “walk”. It is easy for companies to simply state that they support underrepresented communities, but how can they prove that?

There are a number of ways that organizations can show their support for minorities, whether it is inclusive verbiage on job descriptions, expressing diversity of activity, and proof of community involvement. These strategies allow companies to express that they hear, see, and honor marginalized groups, while simultaneously creating and sustaining communities within the workforce.

Inclusive Language

Showing acceptance and embrace of diversity through the language of job descriptions is one way for organizations to show their support for underrepresented talent. As organizations continue to grow, they want to be recognized as an open environment and safe workspace. They can improve upon this by dedicating themselves to more gender-neutral language within their job descriptions, such as referring to candidates as “you” in a direct address, or as “they/them” to eradicate gender specific pronouns.

Additionally, recent studies have shown that certain terms are often seen as more “masculine” or more “feminine” than other words or phrases. Gem research reveals that “feminine” phrasing is less likely to push away male candidates than “masculine” phrasing is to repel female candidates, therefore job descriptions should lead towards more feminine verbiage. Employers should refer to their job prospects as “dedicated” rather than “determined”, and cite the ideal candidate who “creates meaningful change” rather than “drives results”.

Gem also found that positions that list requirements often propose a roadblock to potential candidates who may not feel as confident in their ability to meet or learn these qualifications. A Gem study found that men will apply to a position if they meet up to 60% of the requirements, compared to women who will typically apply if they meet 100% of the listed requirements. Simultaneously, positions that request certain qualifications of degrees discourage individuals who couldn’t afford a secondary education, yet have been able to succeed in similar professional positions. Roles that require upper-level management or C-suite experience eliminate many women and people of color from even applying as white men hold the majority of these positions.

Show Your Commitment

Partners, customers, and potential candidates alike want to see that your organization is active and involved, not only within the community but in your commitment to your values and beliefs. Share images from company events and the average workday, people working hard together and laughing together, employees meeting outside the office. Prove that there is more to your organization than just the 9–5, and that it is a community within itself before anything else. By showing your organizational community, you simultaneously show your commitment to representation, and therefore underrepresented talent. This allows prospective candidates to actually see what people in the organization look like. If candidates see groups of white men collaborating and working together, women and people of color are less-likely to be attracted to that environment in a company that claims to value diversity. However, if they see images of diverse groups of people laughing or participating in a company event, they will have a greater sense of belonging and feel more comfortable.

Photo by Ali Yahya on Unsplash

Your representation of diversity should go beyond the people. Show how your organization diversifies day-to-day activities: show people laughing, collaborating, team-building, giving back to the community, and so much more. These activities should not only be onsite, show how else your team interacts with one another, whether it’s community service events, intramural sports, or company holiday celebrations. This shows that your organization is more than just about business, you are building character and building an organizational culture and personality, which can lead to stronger connections with underrepresented talent who want to be part of something bigger than the workplace.

Nurturing Underrepresented Talent

Around the world, the top recruiting teams tend to prepare for their future openings in favor of their immediate needs. Their strategies revolve around building strong connections with potential candidates who they can further educate about their organizations ambitions and future goals. Through email chains and recruitment events, companies are able to initiate long-term relationships with potential candidates while the talent is still developing their skills, so that when they are ready to apply, they are familiar with the organization. Throughout the duration of this relationship, companies continue to message these prospects in a fashion that sells their mission and values, the team and its culture, and the organization itself.

This process is called nurturing and is used in consistent candidate outreach in gentle touchpoints to encourage their involvement with an organization before they even apply for a position. These touchpoints give the candidate an opportunity to learn more about the company, while at the same time giving the company opportunities to learn about the candidate. Through nurturing, organizations are able to provide insight for situations of concern, which tend to be different for those in underrepresented groups than the majority. While the initial conversation is to kickstart a relationship with a prospect, you ultimately want to build that relationship on the basis of trust and inclusion. In your efforts to maintain this nurture-based connection, recruiters can use subjective and situational based outreach to touch upon candidates’ specific individual concerns.

The ability to “walk the walk” is key in showing an organization’s true promise to empowering the community and meeting expectations on diversity. As organizations continue to build on that commitment, it is important to appeal to all partners, customers, employees and potential candidates. Through active language, imagery, and dynamic relationship-building, companies are able to meet their promises and act on the dedication to their institutional values.

References

  1. G. (2020). Recruiting for Diversity: Best Practices for Nurturing Underrepresented Talent (Publication). Retrieved January 21, 2021, from Gem website: https://lp.gem.com/rs/972-IVV-330/images/2020-q2-Recruiting_for_Diversity.pdf

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