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In this current climate we need to continue to reaffirm the value of building diverse teams. According to Mckinsey, ethnically and culturally diverse teams are 36% more likely to outperform their competitors. Research from Deloitte also reveals that diversity of thought enhances innovation by 20% and increases the ability to spot risk by 30%. We all know this already, yet we are seeing EDI starting to drop down the agenda.  

With the ongoing shift in employee priorities, equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) requires ongoing attention and action. Against a backdrop of skills shortages that extend across a broad range of industries, organisations need to reshape their approach to resourcing to ensure they appeal to diverse talent and provide inclusive candidate experiences that align with and ideally exceed expectations. 

 

Inclusivity in practice 

Tech giant Slack revamped its hiring process by sourcing outside traditional pipelines, rewording job descriptions and creating behavioral-based interview questions to deliver a more inclusive candidate experience. The move helped support the company’s EDI objectives, with the 2021 Diversity at Slack report confirming they had increased the number of women and underrepresented minorities in leadership roles (defined as director level or above).  

Building accessibility and inclusivity into your hiring process requires careful consideration of candidate priorities and perspectives. Here, we explore some of the ways you can create an inclusive candidate experience that will help you stand out from the competition and secure top talent. 

 

1. Source and attract diverse talent

A fully inclusive experience starts before an individual applies to an organisation. Employers must reassess sourcing strategies and employer branding to foster inclusion from the outset. Key to this is committing to a clear plan and communicating what you are specifically doing to progress equality, diversity and inclusion in your organisation. .  

Rather than relying on traditional hiring channels, employers are focusing on growing connections with diverse communities. Whether through partnering with specific groups, colleges and universities or targeting community websites with new roles and careers messaging, efforts in this area show action is being made, which will go a long way in shaping expectations. 

 

2. Creating an accessible application process 

Employers must eliminate barriers that might prevent someone from applying or completing an application, particularly given the current war for talent. If candidates are directed to your careers site, ensure it’s fully accessible to people with disabilities. Additionally, all language relating to the role and organisation should be inclusive, with any imagery depicting a range of employees with varied characteristics and backgrounds. 

HR and talent acquisition (TA) teams should be responsible for auditing an organisation’s application process to determine whether it adequately meets accessibility standards. That’s why employers are now investing in training that enables them to do this regularly, ensuring no groups are alienated from the process.  

 

3. Planned and Consistent selection

With recruiters required to act fast to secure talent, processes can fail, leading to bias creeping in and derailing your screening and selection process. Whether unconscious or not, biases can negatively impact your organisation’s ability to hire diverse employees. Ultimately, if you want to create an inclusive experience for all, the entire hiring process must be standardised. Employers should hold training sessions for all interviewers so they understand how to both attract and select during an interview process and minimise any bias. . Additionally, ensuring the process is the same for each candidate will go a long way in creating a fairer screening process. Behavioural-based questions that pinpoint the specific needs for the role also ensure each candidate is assessed equally.  

 

4. Staying in touch

Candidates should feel valued throughout the process, so frequent communication during set timelines support in building vital trust and rapport. If you’ve created a fair and standardised hiring process that perhaps takes slightly longer or has more steps than other employers, explain this to the individual who has applied for the role. Outlining why they may need to wait for a detailed response will reinforce the message that you are an inclusive employer and that their skills are being carefully considered.  

 

5. Nailing the next steps

The candidate experience continues even after an offer is made. For successful candidates, the onboarding process is an opportunity for organisations to welcome new employees, outline role expectations in greater detail and detail opportunities for learning and career development.  

Gartner research shows that only 58% of women are satisfied with their onboarding programme, compared to 65% of men. For LGBTQ+ respondents, 7% said onboarding did not inform them how their jobs related to the organisation’s goals versus 2% of heterosexual candidates. The research also stated that LGBTQ+ candidates were three times more likely not to have learned about the culture of their team during the onboarding process.   

To create an inclusive onboarding process, employers must ensure recruits feel like they belong and are safe to be themselves. Use this time to immerse employees in the organisation’s mission and values and any initiatives they can get involved with. In regards to safety, onboarding provides the ideal opportunity to reinforce your people programmes and HR resources and share the message that all feedback is handled confidentiality with ongoing improvements made across the business. 

Additionally, take the time to engage with unsuccessful applicants and provide them with feedback on the decision should they want it. Having a standardised process explained from the outset will go a long way to make sure they are not discouraged from applying again in the future.  

 

The support you need to create an inclusive candidate experience 

Omni’s specialist training ensures that any recruiter or hiring manager involved with attracting or selecting talent understands not just their regulatory obligations but how to deliver an inclusive and great experience for candidates. Our programmes are tailored to your business objectives to ensure the content is relevant to you and your team.  

Contact Omni today to discover how we can help you deliver high-impact training programmes that will enable you to attract and select the widest possible pool of diverse talent.