Many businesses say they are concerned about diversity, equity and inclusion and want a more diverse staff but not enough to go beyond just talking about it.

While most organizations have the right intent, it doesn’t always translate to positive results, especially if the overall culture is flawed. If you’re raising diversity in a dysfunctional culture, impacts will be muted. Hiring from underrepresented groups isn’t effective if new employees don’t stick around.

It might appear premature for a newer company to focus on diversity and inclusion results, but the earlier a company starts, the better.

One of the worst things a company can do is look at diversity and inclusion as an “add-on” that can be annexed later. With this mentality, a company can get to a point they have grown into a large successful organization but a very homogenous organization. Not addressing vital cultural issues increase the risk for cultural toxicity.

Companies that consider developing diversity and inclusion from the beginning will have a leg up the competition regarding recruitment and retention. This is because hiring managers can provide substantive answers to diversity questions and develop better solutions to these kinds of issues. Addressing these issues allow a company to grow with different voices and perspectives at the table.


How to Create a Hiring Process Focused on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Reviewing Talent Sources

Businesses often get into the routine of sourcing talent from the same places, such as local schools or employee referrals. While there’s nothing wrong with sticking to sources that work, it is essential to regularly review this strategy, especially in light of an increased focus on diversity.

The Interview is Critical

If you’re interviewing from a broad range of backgrounds, you’re more likely to get questions from candidates on diversity and inclusion. The most critical thing is to be honest about where your company is at with diversity and inclusion initiatives, even if planned changes aren’t fully implemented.

If you’ve started carrying out initiatives, talk about them. Mention how your company is thinking about diversity beyond just hiring. Acknowledge shortcomings and how to plan to address them. If an applicant is reluctant to join your team due to underrepresentation, showing concrete actions can provide some reassurance.

Ideally, you don’t want to wait to be asked about diversity and inclusion by a candidate. Your initiative should be just as important in the interview as company processes, objectives, and structure.

Incentivize with a Sponsorship Program

Companies primarily have an informal form of employee sponsorship, propelled by commonalities like shared interests, cultural background, and physical appearance. This standard form of sponsorship mostly accelerated the careers of young, white men.

Instead of this old type of sponsorship, quite a few businesses embrace a formal, inclusion-focused sponsorship program. In this program, company leaders are coupled with employees showing leadership potential, regardless of any common background. These sponsorship pairs take shared ownership over the junior employee’s career development. This is a different approach that can have a very disruptive, positive impact on diversity, equity, and inclusion in an organization.

We Fully Support Our Clients’ Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

At ZDA, we have a strong history of backing our clients’ initiatives, and we look forward to doing so in the future. If your company is looking to access a broader range of talent, please contact us today.