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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: How to Implement the DEI Program

Hiring for diverse candidates is in the spotlight as it has become increasingly vital to every organization’s success. The diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies have been validated through research showing many organizational benefits such as increased employee engagement and productivity, more efficient knowledge sharing, and higher levels of innovation. According to Gartner, inclusive teams perform up to 30% better in diverse environments. When it comes to hiring, more than 76% of job seekers report diversity is an important factor when evaluating companies. Thus, inclusive hiring is vital for companies to stand out in a crowded marketplace. In this article, we’ll highlight the hiring strategies designed to create a long-lasting inclusive culture and to promote inclusive behavior.

“At the core of why DEI matters, it’s really because people matter… all of your employees feeling a sense of belonging, and empowerment and inclusion is important because your people working for you should matter. And beyond that, your customers matter. So, if you’re building a diverse team that represents a diverse set of identities and experiences and abilities… you’re setting yourself up to build a product that services more people across those differences.”

Mariah Driver, Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Weblow

What is a DEI Program?

The best way to begin creating a hiring process that leads to diverse candidates is to understand what it means to hire for diversity. DEI hiring is the practice of recruiting candidates using a process that is free from bias, both conscious and unconscious, for or against any individual or group of candidates. A DEI program is a list of policies designed to encourage the representation and participation of diverse groups of people in the workplace. Simply put, DEI programs help every employee show up to work without fear of being their true selves.

It is worth mentioning that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is not just a phrase; each word in a phrase refers to distinct values.

Diversity: Taking account of the differences and uniqueness of identities, characteristics, perspectives, and experiences and placing a positive value on those differences.

Equity: Ensuring fair treatment, access, equal opportunities, and advancement for everyone, especially for those who are underrepresented.

Inclusion: Building a culture in which everyone is welcome, valued, respected, and able to reach their full potential.

In short, diversity is about differences, equity is about providing equal access, and inclusion is about giving employees a sense of value and empowerment. When together, all three approaches create a healthy and comfortable working environment that positively affects employees’ motivation and productivity.

So, you’ve decided to implement a DEI program for your organization’s hiring process. Great! But where do you start?

DEI Hiring Best Practices

Image by PJM

Creating a safe and comfortable workplace starts with hiring. Recruiters should communicate DEI’s importance to their organization and be transparent about efforts aimed at creating and promoting an inclusive culture. Below are DEI best hiring practices to improve your recruiting process.

Job Description

A commitment to DEI should be written into each job description. The role of the language used in the job descriptions is often underestimated. However, there is an important connection between work and words. From the way you explain your company’s vision and values to the questions you ask during interviews, language is a tool for promoting an inclusive environment. Therefore, recruiters should choose words wisely when writing job descriptions. Below are some of the rules to keep your language free from bias:

Balance masculine and feminine-themed words

If a job description is coded too heavily to either gender, it is more likely to result in the exclusion of certain applicants. In 2015, Buffer discovered that less than 2% of applicants for their software developer position were women. The company realized that such overwhelming gender disparity was due to the use of a historically male-coded word “hackers.” Thus, it’s always better to avoid such words, and use neutral descriptive titles such as “developer,” “project manager,” or “engineer.” We advise you to refer to these lists of masculine-coded words and feminine-coded words when writing a job ad. Tools like Textio can also help.

Avoid age and experience bias

In the modern job market, where the demand for young professionals is high, it is important to recognize ageism and experience bias instances. Terms such as “digital native” may limit or exclude older applicants. Rework such words in a way that speaks to the actual requirements (i.e. technology skills or a preferred number of years of experience).

Outline policies and benefits

An inclusive job description should have a mission statement, a stance on diversity and inclusion, information about benefits packages, as well as sick and parental leaves. This information in your job statement can help speak to the company’s culture while creating welcoming opportunities for candidates.

Interview Process

Adjusting the interview process to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion make hiring, and your company as a whole, more effective. Below are the practices that will help you to make your hiring more inclusive.

Create inclusive video interviews

As virtual recruiting has become the new normal, recruiters should learn to utilize video interviewing software in a manner that does not exclude any group of society. First of all, recruiters should consider using structured video interviews to minimize unconscious bias. The structured interview process ensures that decisions about the candidates are not made based on the emotions recruiters are feeling during the interaction. Recruiters should consider providing video interview practices to candidates in advance, including recommendations for audio and lighting. It is vital to note that candidates may not have access to the latest technology at home or could be sharing space with limited quiet areas. Being aware of how background visuals can impact your perspective of a candidate’s fit can help to address unconscious bias.

Standardize the interview

It is critical to prepare a script of questions in advance to reduce bias by focusing solely on the factors that have an impact on performance. In a standardized interview, each candidate is asked the same questions in the same order. Recruiters may also want to include DEI interview questions to access the applicant’s knowledge on the importance and value of DEI. Interview rating forms are the foundation of effective standardized interviews. Recruiters should complete interview candidate evaluation to rank the candidate’s overall qualifications for the position he or she applied for.

Involve multiple people in the interview process

A fair interview process includes multiple people on the company's side to counter potential bias regarding each potential employee. The company should consider creating an interview panel with diverse members in terms of age, gender, seniority level, and background. Diverse interview panels are less likely to experience bias as they involve the evaluation of candidates from different perspectives. Unconscious bias training for hiring managers may help recruiters understand their implicit assumptions and prejudgements. There are multiple workshops online for companies to consider improving their DEI practices.

What is a Diversity statement

If you are not sure what is a DEI statement and why it’s worth mentioning, below is an explanation that sums up all the key points of creating an appealing DEI statement.

A diversity and inclusion statement is a declaration of a company’s commitment to building an inclusive workspace welcoming to people of all backgrounds. Diversity commitment statements are usually put out for the public to see and can be found in the company’s HR policy. A successful DEI statement usually addresses factors of how a company’s values advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in its workplace.

“A clear strategy should contain what DEI means to us, why DEI matters to us (now and for the future) and how we approach DEI (now and activities planned for the future).”

Julie Kratz, CEO, Next Pivot Point

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement Examples

Below are some examples of successful diversity hiring statements that demonstrate a companies’ DEI commitment to building an inclusive workspace. Use them as references to make your own DEI statement that will not only show your commitment to DEI but also attract diverse talent.

Adobe Diversity Statement Example

At Adobe, we believe that when people feel respected and included they can be more creative, innovative, and successful. While we have more work to do to advance diversity and inclusion, we’re investing to move our company and industry forward.

Indeed Diversity Statement Example

Indeed’s mission is to help people get jobs. To achieve this, we put jobseekers and companies who use Indeed at the heart of everything we do. In 2019, we declared the kind of culture we want to have and the values that are important to us. These values are: put jobseekers first, pay for performance, innovation, data-driven, and inclusion & belonging – which translates to creating an environment where everyone can bring their authentic selves to work and make it easy for others to do the same.

GoDaddy Diversity Statement Example

A Culture of Creativity is life at GoDaddy. We hire the best, give them first-class training and set them loose. If you’re driven to perform, you’ll fit right in. We approach our work fearlessly, learn quickly, improve constantly, and celebrate our wins at every turn. Everyone is welcome—as an inclusive workplace, our employees are comfortable bringing their authentic whole selves to work. Be you.

Let Recruitment Technology Help You

The use of recruiting technology can support more diverse hiring. Software like Employa helps you to reduce bias and assist in making objective decisions. AI recruiting analyzes a large amount of data and ignores demographic information about candidates. Moreover, it helps accelerate applicant communication and conversion with conversational AI.

Need Employa to advance your tech recruiting?

Whether you need a recruitment service or upgrade existing recruitment software, Employa is ready to help.

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