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7 Strategies for Infusing DEI into Recruitment and Onboarding

by Natasha Nicholson

Recruiting talent and continuing to innovate are two of the greatest challenges for any organization. An organization can’t function without talented people to do the work, and it can’t grow and adapt to changing conditions without innovation. One way to shore up both recruiting and innovation may surprise you: building a more powerful diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) program by including some key strategic steps in your recruitment and onboarding practices.

Attracting a Wider Pool of Candidates

At a time when employee attrition is growing, attracting candidates has never been more important than it is today. McKinsey’s research indicates that 53% of employers report “experiencing greater voluntary turnover than they had in previous years, and 64 percent expect the problem to continue—or worsen—over the next six months.” Recruitment practices that focus on DEI can reach and attract a larger talent pool and give you a better chance of finding (and keeping) the right person for the job when competition is tough. According to a survey by Glassdoor, “more than 3 in 4 employees and job seekers (76%) report a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers.” And, “About 1 in 3 employees and job seekers (32%) would not apply to a job at a company where there is a lack of diversity among its workforce.”

Stimulating Innovation Through DEI

DEI can not only attract more candidates but also create higher-performing teams. Research shows that diverse teams stimulate innovation in all areas of your business, from operations to marketing. A Forbes Insights report on diversity and innovation found that “Multiple and varied voices have a wide range of experiences, and this can help generate new ideas about products and practices.” The research found that among large companies, “56% strongly agreed that diversity helps drive innovation.” In her Forbes article, Ilana Redstone, the founder of Diverse Perspectives Consulting and a professor of sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, adds, “Greater attention in DEI training to the diversity of perspectives in any workplace can improve morale and promote team building. It can also enhance innovation. After all, innovation can only occur when employees have the humility to recognize that a product or service can be dramatically improved by thinking about it in a new way.”

Diversity jolts us into cognitive action in ways that homogeneity simply does not.

—Columbia Business School Professor Katherine Phillips, “How Diversity Makes Us Smarter

Key Strategic Steps to Include in Your Recruitment and Onboarding Practices

 Organizations focused on DEI attract wider candidate pools. They also foster innovation by inviting diverse viewpoints, which offers wider access to a range of knowledge and experiences. But what specific steps can we take at the onset of the prospective employee’s journey that will make an immediate difference? Let’s look at some key strategic steps to include in your recruitment and onboarding practices. Central to doing so is building an inclusive program designed around employee experiences, starting from the very beginning of their interactions with the company.

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