Inclusive Recruitment: Enhancing DEI in Talent Acquisition and Moving Beyond the Checkbox

Inclusive Recruitment

The Importance of Inclusive Recruitment

In today’s competitive job market, candidates know what they want from employers – and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is regularly emphasised. According to GlassDoor, more than 3 out of 4 job seekers and employees (76%) report that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. This underscores the importance of integrating inclusive recruitment practices into your talent acquisition strategy.  Not only do candidates value a diverse and inclusive workforce, but it also directly impacts a company’s bottom line: Research consistently shows that DEI drives organisational growth, leads to better business performance, and encourages higher productivity.

The role of Talent Acquisition in DEI

Every organisational department plays a role in building a successful DEI strategy, but talent acquisition should align especially close with the overarching diversity approach and goals.

According to PageGroup’s 2024 APAC Talent Trends report, 71% of employees in the Asia-Pacific region feel their workplace is not inclusive. The report also shows that both Men and Women believe that some of the key workplace priorities in DEI relate to bringing in more diverse talent into the organisation, and critically into leadership positions.

At a recent D&I Executive Roundtable, hosted by Inkling Group’s Chief Delivery Officer, Rashida Lowe (she/her), and Senior Manager, Client Delivery, Sugandha Bhargava Chapman (she/her), in partnership with the Sydney PageGroup team, we explored PageGroup’s Talent Trends and asked the HR leaders in attendance two pivotal questions:

  1. How confident are you that your organisation’s recruitment practices are attracting and assessing candidates fairly, regardless of background or identity?
  2. Does your company have a clearly defined DEI strategy? If so, how does it translate into your talent acquisition process?

Attendees also participated in a self-rating activity to assess the inclusiveness of their organisation’s recruitment practices on a scale from 1 (Minimal) to 4 (Mastery). The outcome? A significant portion of the attendees’ organisations are still in the early stages of integrating inclusive recruitment, indicating considerable room for improvement.

We understand that many organisations are just beginning their journey towards more inclusive recruitment practices. From our roundtable discussions, we’ve gathered valuable insights and identified key themes to help you enhance diversity and inclusivity in your recruitment processes. The actionable strategies outlined below are designed to support you in developing more inclusive talent acquisition practices, ultimately contributing to a more inclusive workplace environment within your organisation.

Strategies for Building Inclusive Talent Acquisition Practices

1. Build Confidence and Knowledge in DEI

Talent acquisition professionals play a crucial role in representing an organisation’s DEI commitments. It’s essential for them to have a deep understanding and confidence in their organisation’s DEI strategies and initiatives. Here’s how:

  • Engage with Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): Get involved with ERGs or DEI councils within your organisation. Understanding the experiences and challenges faced by marginalised groups equips you to better communicate the organisation’s DEI efforts to candidates. Tapping into Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to access a wealth of diverse talent and gain valuable insights into creating a more inclusive recruitment process, as well as accessing qualified candidates and perspectives you might otherwise miss.
  • Review DEI Strategies: Regularly review and update your understanding of the company’s DEI strategies. Collaborate with DEI teams or HR leaders to stay informed about the latest initiatives and how they integrate with the employee value proposition (EVP).
  • Communicate DEI Commitments Clearly: Be transparent about your organisation’s DEI efforts in job postings and throughout the hiring process. Candidates are increasingly seeking inclusive workplaces, and clear communication in this area can set your organisation apart.
  • Use Inclusive Language and Storytelling: Use clear, inclusive language in job descriptions and employer branding. Go beyond words by incorporating storytelling and authentic representation in your branding and marketing efforts. This approach not only makes your DEI commitment more tangible but also resonates more deeply with diverse candidates by reflecting their experiences and values.

2. Promote the Value of Diversity to Hiring Managers

Hiring managers often focus on culture fit, which can unintentionally narrow the diversity of candidates. Instead, promoting the concept of culture add, where diverse perspectives and experiences are valued, can enhance team dynamics and innovation.

  • Advocate for ‘Culture Add’: Encourage hiring managers to look for candidates who can bring fresh perspectives to the team, enhancing rather than just fitting into the existing culture. This approach fosters innovation and team growth.
  • Emphasise Benefits of Diverse Teams: Ensure hiring managers understand that diversity contributes significantly to team performance and creativity, going beyond mere compliance.
  • Challenge Traditional Metrics: Guide hiring managers to value adaptability, learning agility, and current motivation over the traditional metrics of years of experience. Highlight the importance of diverse career experiences and generational perspectives.

3. Ensure Consistent and Objective Evaluation Processes

Bias in hiring decisions can derail DEI efforts. Implementing consistent and objective evaluation processes is key to fairer hiring decisions. Providing real interventions like Inclusive Leadership training for hiring managers to mitigate bias demonstrates a true commitment to D&I, not just lip service.

  • Standardise Evaluation Criteria: Develop a uniform evaluation framework to ensure all candidates are assessed using the same criteria. This approach minimises bias and promotes fairness.
  • Encourage Independent Assessments: Advocate for independent candidate assessments by multiple interviewers before any group discussions. This practice helps prevent groupthink and conformity bias.
  • Monitor and Analyse Hiring Data: Regularly analyse hiring data to identify and address any patterns of bias. Compare salaries and roles across demographics to ensure equitable compensation and take corrective measures as needed.

From Hiring to Thriving: Building an Inclusive Workplace Culture

Talent acquisition is a crucial component in achieving a company’s diversity goals. Effective DEI strategies not only enhance the organisation’s reputation but also attract and retain top talent from diverse backgrounds, ultimately driving better business performance. To support you in building a full strategic approach, ensure you leverage the right DEI technology, partners and consultants. Whatever your plan, ensure you make it highly visible, attainable, and consistent.

And remember, hiring is just the first step. We need to cultivate inclusive cultures where everyone feels valued and has the opportunity to grow. This ensures we retain and develop our diverse talent pool, fostering a truly thriving workplace.


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