The Great Resignation Doesn’t Have to Threaten Your DE&I Efforts

Companies' diversity efforts will be affected by the Great Resignation. Talent teams already struggling with capacity are finding it difficult to find qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds. Organizations are at great risk of losing diversity in a world where many underrepresented job candidates will leave their jobs within the next year. Organizations must break with traditional norms and change their approach to diversity hiring in order to avoid falling behind at this crucial moment. Six strategies are provided by the author to help talent leaders translate this huge shift in the workforce into substantial progress.
After a year of disruption that made diversity a top priority in almost every organization's workplace, leaders were confronted with a new challenge. They realized that up to 40% of their employees might leave their jobs within the next year. A combination of new mandates for return to office, old departure plans that were delayed due to the pandemic and many new revelations about how work-life balance is important led to what appears like a record-breaking exit from jobs within a short time frame.

This could have major implications on diversity efforts at companies. Talent teams already struggling with capacity are finding it difficult to find qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds. Organizations are at great risk of losing diversity in a world where many underrepresented job candidates are in high demand.

We have studied hundreds of diverse employers and found that they have the highest collective focus on diversity and the most effective diversity strategies. The shift in the labor marketplace is threatening that focus. Instead of focusing on proactive initiatives to increase diversity, it will be redirected to reactive efforts to fill the gaps. In a recent interview, a chief talent officer stated that it was difficult to find qualified candidates in this current hiring climate. This is even less than our diversity hiring goals. Our leaders tend to hire the most qualified candidate they can find without considering diversity.

Organizations must break old conventions and change their approach to diversity hiring in order to avoid falling behind at this crucial juncture. In this competitive environment, it is easy to fall back to the old ways of doing things. Leaders must see filling the gaps and advancing diversity as a combination of both/and, not an either/or. To get there, it is necessary to dispel some myths about diversity recruitment and hiring. These six strategies will help talent leaders translate this huge shift in the workforce into substantial progress.

Slow down and think strategically.

Myth: In this new climate, we must move quickly and accelerate the hiring process.

Leaders face the greatest challenge right now: resisting the temptation to hire quickly and impulsively. We often revert back to our most comfortable ways of hiring when we are rushed with recruiting efforts. Structure is abandoned and we make quick-sighted gut decisions. This is the perfect recipe to create a hiring bias.

Your diversity recruitment efforts depend on taking a long-term strategic approach and slowing down, despite the pressure and instinct you may feel to fill gaps quickly. The following steps will require you to change your mindset and behaviour. You should consider the following:

Think about the consequences of hiring someone who is not diverse to your company.

Give yourself more time than you normally would to ensure that the hire you make adds diversity to your company.

So everyone is on the same page, communicate the new time expectations.

To include underrepresented groups, reframe the definition of diverse hiring.

Myth: Focusing on the visible aspects of diversity is the best way to achieve diversity goals and hiring.

Many organizations focus solely on increasing gender representation in their organization and exclude entire groups.

We studied 100 organizations in our research for this book and found that less than half (47%) included people with disabilities in their diversity tracking, goal setting, and reporting. Only 11% included the LGBTQ+ community. We must start by defining diversity more holistically and inclusively in order to make real progress towards diversity.

Discuss with your team the 12 underrepresented communities of job seekers you might be able to recruit from.

Encourage your team members to create a map of their knowledge about underrepresented communities. This short assessment will allow them to create a personal diversity map.

Take stock of the areas where diversity is most lacking in your company.

Find more simple and accessible roles.

Myth: It is important to find the right candidate by narrowing down the candidate profile and setting high expectations.

Diversity recruiting fails when an open position is defined. The perfect candidate profile must satisfy exorbitantly strict requirements.

People from underrepresented groups might have the right skills, but a unique talent profile. Some people have not been to the same school as others or worked for the same employer. You should forget about the standard candidate profile that you need to recruit. You will narrow your candidate pool the more specific you are in terms of experience and qualifications. A January 2021 study of underrepresented job seeker revealed that half of those surveyed had seen job postings with exclusionary language. These are some tips to make your job postings more inclusive.

Eliminate any high-level requirements. They don't translate into success on the job, and they only limit your options.

You don't have to only recruit from certain industries or schools.

Removing preferred qualifications from job postings is a bad idea. They discourage job seekers from applying. Don't mention anything if it isn't necessary.

Create a strategy for sourcing diversity specific to your role.

Myth: A universal diversity strategy will produce the same results for all your roles.

Common misconception is that you should only hire through the same channels as you have used in the past. You have many options and many of them in front of your face.

You can assess the composition of the pool that you are able to recruit from and the areas where diversity is most needed in your organization. This will help you decide where you should focus your efforts.

To increase the representation of a particular role, you might consider internal promotion.

Empower groups can take an active role in assessing their networks and referring job-seekers from underrepresented communities.

You can brainstorm new networks that might be an excellent source of talent for the role, and think about how you can begin to form long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships.

You can ensure that candidates have a more fair, structured, and impartial hiring experience.

Myth: Everything will work if your diversity sourcing efforts succeed.

In January's study, 62% of job seekers who were not underrepresented observed bias in the process of hiring. This is often due to a lack or lack of consistency in key areas of the process, or lack of training for members of the team. Individuals making hiring decisions often rely on their fixed mindsets and base decisions on intuition rather than objective criteria. Each step in your hiring process should be walked through to ensure that each candidate receives a fair, consistent experience.

Major parts of the hiring process for most employers are not accessible to people with disabilities, according to our findings. We also found bias in interviews because of the lack of structure, and the tendency of leaders to approach it informally. These are some steps that can be taken immediately to create a more equitable hiring process.

To ensure that people with disabilities are able to apply, check your job page and the hiring systems. Add an open field for candidates to inquire if they require special accommodations.

Your team should be aware of the common biases in the hiring process, which can affect their fair selection, selection, as well as hiring decisions.

Encourage all interviewees to use a structured interview scorecard. You should schedule time to prepare for each interview and to complete the scorecard afterward.

Define the specific steps to help the new hire succeed in their new role.

Myth: Hiring is the most difficult and crucial step in achieving diversity goals.

Many employers fail to provide the opportunity for underrepresented groups to succeed in their new jobs despite having made the best diversity hiring decisions. Our January survey found that 47% of respondents received proper communication, resources and assistance in their onboarding process. Only 22% reported receiving mentoring or sponsorship. It is important to remember that many employees from underrepresented groups have been able to land new jobs without much guidance.

Talent leaders often point out a noticeable drop in the number of underrepresented community members who are hired within three months. This can often be attributed to lack of support from the organization. These are two methods to ensure success for newcomers from the beginning:

Your onboarding process should be structured, transparent, thorough, and well-structured. You must ensure that there are people available to support and monitor new employees during their first few days.

To connect new hires with senior leaders, create mentorship opportunities or sponsorship opportunities. To ensure that this is mutual, you can also consider reverse mentorship arrangements.

After a year of seemingly endless change, the idea of more can feel daunting, especially in a period of limited resources and capacity. It is important to recognize this as an opportunity for remarkable progress in diversity. This could otherwise have taken many years. Organizations could soon be more representative of society if they can move beyond conventional thinking and approach diversity recruitment holistically, strategically, and systematically.