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Inclusion and Tech Hiring: Why Make DEI a Hiring Priority, and How to Do It
A group of diverse candidates line a wall as part of a DEI strategy.

There is a vast pool of talent in technology today. Companies are in intense competition with one another to attract high performers to their open positions. Research and experience have shown that one of the biggest differentiator in the hiring process is an organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). 

For example, consider a recent report from the academic publishing giant Wiley. It indicated that failure to fix DEI issues can drive current employees out the door, or even scare away top talent in the first place. The company’s survey of over 2,000 employees found that 50 percent had left or wanted to leave a tech job. Why? Because they felt unwelcome or uncomfortable due to the prevailing culture. A high percentage of women, Asian, Hispanic, and black employees stated that they had experienced these feelings of exclusion. (No doubt these feelings also played a significant role in the “Great Resignation” of 2021.)

On the other hand, it’s clear that diversity is good for business. Research from Gartner shows that a diverse workforce can improve employee performance by 12 percent, and intent to stay by 20 percent. In addition, a study by McKinsey found that gender-diverse companies are 25 percent more likely to outperform their peers, and ethnically diverse businesses are 36 percent more likely to outperform their competitors.

Developing a workable DEI strategy — and then taking it seriously through vigorous implementation — can help your organization stand out from other prospective employers. As a result, you’ll win over highly skilled and talented tech workers. With that in mind, how can you show candidates that DEI is a high priority for your company? Here are five suggestions that can help.

1. Join Ethnically Diverse Job Boards and/or Career Sites

This is a simple but telling step that your organization can take in order to further diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. If you’re actively seeking candidates from job boards and sites with a reputation for diversity, then it will reflect well on your own DEI programs too.

In addition, if you’re going to engage a search firm for recruitment purposes, let them know that DEI is a focus area for your company. As an example, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) partnered with The Doyle Group in their recent search for an EVP of Technology. NMSS communicated that DEI was a top priority for their search. As a result, five out of six finalists (from a pool of 275 candidates) met the criteria for the organization’s DEI initiative.

The point is, whether sourcing talent from job boards or working with a recruitment partner, you need to communicate through words and actions that diversity is important for your organization.

2. Retain a Diverse Interview Panel

It only makes sense that if you’re going to hire for diversity, you need to have a diverse interview panel embedded within the hiring process. In simple terms, you need to “put your money where your mouth is.” 

Studies indicate that only 35 percent f companies present diverse interview panels. Clearly, this is an opportunity for your company to stand out from the competition. If you don’t currently have a DEI committee or DEI employees, you can take proactive steps toward forming a diverse interview panel. Think beyond just race or ethnicity. For instance, consider including single mothers on your DEI committee.

3. Develop a Hiring Process Structured for DEI

This is a foundational step that your company needs to take if it’s serious about its DEI strategy. You want to make sure that bias doesn’t inadvertently creep into your hiring process, even on a subconscious level. Some steps that DEI leaders have taken in this regard include:

  • Developing and implementing an objective candidate evaluation/ranking system. It should be one that’s more data-driven and less influenced by the personal feelings of the interviewer. For example, interview IA’s platform enables companies to use scorecards during the interview process that help prevent unconscious bias from influencing the final hiring decision.
  • Completely removing names and other identifying information during the resume evaluation process.
  • Ensuring that preferred qualifications are kept separate from mandatory qualifications for specific positions. This is important because a longer list of “mandatory” job qualifications could drive away viable candidates.

4. Clearly Communicate Your DEI Strategy — Internally and Externally

Once you’ve developed a workable DEI strategy, make it a prominent part of your internal messaging. For example, make sure that you communicate any updates to it throughout your organization. Also, ensure that all of your company’s DEI policies and resources are easily accessible to employees.

In addition, incorporate your DEI efforts into your overall marketing plan. Consider adding your DEI program’s goals and accomplishments to your official website and social media accounts. Embed it as an inextricable part of your recruiting program. Candidates should be able to clearly see how seriously you take DEI when they research your organization.

5. Track and Refine Your DEI Initiatives

You need to set measurable DEI goals for yourself when developing your strategy. For instance, you could aim for 20 percent of new hires to meet diversity program qualifications within the next year. While measuring inclusion is more challenging, you could also look at your employee retention and turnover rates as a “barometer” for your progress in this area. (Employees who feel “included” in company culture are less likely to leave.)

Setting measurable objectives for yourself will help you to identify bottlenecks in the DEI process, and make adjustments as needed. Does your program need to be updated? Does the DEI committee need to expand in size or scope? Where are the biggest opportunities for improvement located? Answering these and similar questions will help you to continually refine your DEI initiatives.

In summary, a robust diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy will help your company to stand out from the competition. As a result, you’ll attract top tech talent to your team. If you haven’t done so already, now’s the time to take the first steps toward implementing a DEI strategy in your hiring process. Any delay could cost you dearly. However, with some planning and perseverance (and perhaps some help from a reputable recruitment firm) you can easily start down the path to DEI success.

Reach out to the team at The Doyle Group for all your recruitment needs.