Diversity Recruitment and Your Employer Brand
In the race to bridge the skills gap and attract the most talented applicants, employers would be wise to consider some key factors: Not only will the next wave of entry-level workers will be the most highly educated and technologically skilled workforce ever, but they will also be the most culturally and ethnically diverse generation to enter the U.S. job market to date.
If that wasn’t enough incentive to start implementing diversity recruitment practices to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at all levels, consider the most recent data from Monster:
- 86 percent of job seekers say they factor an employer’s reputation on DEI in their job search.
- 70 percent of employees expect their company to be transparent about DEI initiatives and results.
- 62 percent of job applicants say they would turn down an offer from a company that did not support DEI.
Without effective messaging on diversity recruitment efforts, employers will increasingly be out of the running when it comes to hiring top talent. More than ever, effective hiring strategies depend on focused diversity recruitment efforts and diversity branding that conveys a clear and consistent commitment to DEI values.
Understanding DEI: Definitions
Each element of DEI needs to be addressed to create a meaningful diversity hiring and diversity branding strategy. These definitions are a good starting point:
- Diversity: Within the workplace, “diversity” refers to the representation of employees across different demographic categories, such as age, gender and gender identity, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, and disability.
- Equity: In this context, “equity” is the fair treatment of all employees, regardless of gender, race, and other diversity categories. Effective equity policies aim to identify, address, and eliminate barriers and past inequities in areas such as hiring, compensation, and promotion.
- Inclusion: To be “inclusive” is to ensure that everyone is heard, seen, and considered across the range of human difference. In inclusive workplaces all employees enjoy a sense of belonging and feel encouraged to be their authentic selves, without pressure to compromise, so they may participate as full and valued members of the community.
Why DEI Branding and Diversity Recruitment Matter
It may be tempting to draft a supportive statement when DEI issues emerge in the news, and then return your gaze to your core business functions. However, it’s important to realize that DEI values and initiatives need to become part of your core business goals. Recruitment, retention, and profitability are all riding on your ability to do so.
The Bottom Line
Data affirms that the most profitable companies are those with the greatest workforce diversity, including diverse leadership teams. As the marketplace and consumer awareness continue to shift, companies that are out of step on diversity recruitment will likely be left behind in the marketplace.
More than half of current employees—54 percent—don’t believe their company is successfully incorporating DEI into their HR practices. If you want to retain the trust of your current employees, your diversity branding needs to be backed up with easy-to-find data on hiring goals and how far your company needs to go to reach those goals.
An overwhelming majority of job seekers say that a focus on diversity hiring is important when choosing a new employer. In contrast, just 54 percent of employers reported that they were working to make recruitment practices more inclusive. With 62 percent of applicants saying they would turn down an offer from an employer that is not committed to DEI, this disconnect will cost employers who fail to adapt.
Effective DEI Branding Goes Beyond Messaging
DEI branding needs to be consistent across all levels of your organization. This means the language contained in your recruitment efforts needs to mirror the policies outlined in your employee handbook. The following guidelines can help you convey your company’s DEI commitment to employees, job seekers, and the public.
Make sure your employees can easily access resources and policies that address DEI issues. Innovative policy implementation can range from hiring practices that encourage neurodiversity hiring, to offering a broad range of child care benefits, or implementing thoughtful gender transition policies. Don’t just list policies in your employee handbook. Make them easy to find on employee-facing intranets and your public-facing web sites, while highlighting them on social media.
DEI branding efforts also should extend to your job postings. Avoid gender-coded language (“aggressive”), or language that can be read as ageist (“recent graduate,” “digital native”), or ableist (“able to lift 50 pounds”).
Instead, let applicants know you are an “equal opportunity employer,” that “all qualified applicants are welcome without regard to gender, gender identity or gender expression, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, or cultural identity, national origin, religion, age, veteran status, genetics, or disability,” and that “women, minorities, LGBTQ, veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.”
Consumers and the Broader Community
Diversity branding is meaningless, and likely to draw backlash, if you fail to be upfront about your diversity hiring efforts, including your failures. Maintain transparent, detailed numbers on diversity hiring and distribution across all levels of employment. If DEI efforts experience a dip, acknowledge it. DEI commitment isn’t confined to just hiring. It is also conveyed in how your employees treat clients and customers. Let your customers know about anti-bias training and give them an avenue to communicate complaints and feedback.
The Dangers of ‘Woke Washing’ and ‘Diversity Washing’
It’s easy to respond to the latest social movements with a public show of support for diversity hiring in the form of a press release or statement from a top executive, or the quick implementation of public-facing policy with little long-term impact. But such actions, when not accompanied by a demonstrable commitment to meaningful DEI values and policies, risk accusations of “woke washing” and “diversity washing.”
What Is Woke Washing?
Also referred to as “statement fatigue,” woke washing focuses on the appearance of solidarity with issues of social justice without doing the hard work of addressing systemic barriers to employment and promotion faced by underrepresented applicants and employees within your own corporate culture. An example would be focusing on crafting a public response to a topical social issue like Black Lives Matter while simultaneously ignoring the voices of your own employees of color.
What Is Diversity Washing?
Some companies, when they are criticized for a poor track record on diversity recruiting, respond by making a single high-level diversity hire, or creating short-term internship or fellowship programs aimed at traditionally underrepresented groups. But, without a pathway to meaningful career development, hiring an equal opportunity officer, only to sideline them, or assembling a diversity committee with no real power to assess current efforts can backfire.
The most successful diversity hiring and diversity branding practices highlight HR policies designed to address historical barriers and present the results so employees, applicants, consumers, and community members can gauge inclusivity initiatives from entry level to C-suite.
Now that You Know the Basics of Diversity Recruitment and Your Brand, Make the Most of Your Messaging
From conveying your company’s commitment to diversity hiring and DEI values to perfecting your messaging on sustainability and work-life balance, Monster’s Employer Branding Guide can answer all your questions about how to devise a branding strategy for today’s job market.