The Data Dimension: How To Use Data To Hire Diverse Candidates

By now, companies are well aware that a greater diversity correlates with better business outcomes. But diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives go well beyond the bottom line. Diverse candidates not only open your organization up to building a better, more welcoming community for your existing employees, but also allow the reinforcement of the strength of your organization by tapping into the diverse talents, skill sets, and perspectives that each unique individual brings to your organization. Ultimately, a focus on DEI lets each person’s strength shine through and helps you understand the powerful resources inherent within your workforce.

HR also has an important role to play in responding to the issues of social justice and racial equity that were brought to the forefront in the past year through the Black Lives Matter movement. The business sector is quickly recognizing that not responding at all to the equity gap is a perpetuation of the system under protest.

Chances are you already have DEI goals on your radar. One of the best ways to meet those goals is through data—to first foster awareness of any shortfalls in your organization’s inclusion and then to turn that awareness into action.

DEI Extends To All Facets Of Your Employees

A multi-dimensional approach to DEI will include things like race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, parental status, physical abilities, cognitive diversity, personality, religious beliefs, political beliefs, and other ideologies. While you may be able to discern how diverse your office is by simply looking around, this type of multi-dimensional approach extends beyond the box you check off on a form—taking into account people’s culture, beliefs, and thought processes. In order to truly understand the diversity of your workforce, you need to go beyond simply categorizing employees to understanding the complexity of the individual—which takes time. In terms of data collection, it’s important to be sensitive to employees’ comfort-levels with offering such information. There are platforms—like Pluto, for example—that allow employees to share feedback anonymously through interactive employee diversity stories. This type of data collection helps identify different types of diversity within your workforce and pinpoints areas of improvement through employee feedback. This allows you to ensure your inclusion goals are truly responsive to the needs of your  particular employees.

Care In Hiring Will Help Make An Equitable Workplace

There’s no better place to begin developing DEI goals than with your hiring initiatives. To develop a robust workforce, you need to hire more diverse candidates. The multi-dimensional understanding of the individual should therefore also be part of the hiring stage. In fact, the focus on diversity and inclusion at the hiring stage can also attract more candidates. According to a study conducted by Glassdoor, 67% of candidates consider diversity when evaluating job offers. There’s no reason why your employee demographics shouldn’t align with the demography of our society at large and include representation from the spectrum of our society.

So how do you implement technologies into your candidate targeting and screening process to reach a more diverse candidate pool?

Use AI Strategically For The Fairest Hiring Practices

AI tools can help eliminate human bias. You may have heard stories just the opposite, of AI replicating a company’s biased hiring patterns. Here’s the secret: You have to tell the AI what to do. It can, in fact, replicate patterns of past hiring behavior, but if you want to prioritize an unbiased hiring process, hiring tools should be set to these preferences.

One specific way AI can assist talent acquisition professionals is in creating unbiased interview questions, for example. Using hiring quality data to create questions particular to a job, rather than questions driven by the individual candidate or the interviewer, helps eliminate bias. Another exciting AI tool is programmatic job advertising that includes diversity data points. PandoIQ just launched their “Diversity Adds Dimension” initiative to include data that will source diverse candidates when it places your job ad on the internet.

Promote With Care

Beyond external hiring, it’s important to also consider DEI goals for internal hiring and promotion. There is a gender gap and racial diversity gap when it comes to leadership. Representation matters—not just for the statement it makes to your employees, but for the long-term prospects of meeting your diversity goals. Diverse leaders will continue to foster diversity across the organization.

Beyond leadership, DEI metrics and diversity goals needs to be shared and accessible to the average employee. Transparency, data based on employee responses, and the collective action of your organization is what will truly turn these goals into actions.

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