Expert Tips on Inclusive Hiring, Promotion & Retention

By: Sarah Doar
Expert Tips on Inclusive Hiring, Promotion & Retention

Corporations which are identified as more diverse and inclusive are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors. They’re also 70% more likely to capture new markets.

In fact, diverse teams are 87% better at making decisions, which ultimately lead to a more productive workforce that generates higher revenue.

A panel of international leaders from Verbit, Nasdaq, Interpublic Group and Deliveroo spoke at the Global Inclusion Online Forum to share tactics and tips on how companies can prioritize and conduct more inclusive hiring, promotion and retention to reap these results themselves.

These experts touched on hiring considerations and practices that are shown to have a lasting impact on company culture. Key topic points included the importance of utilizing the latest programs and technology in the hiring process and how to push the value of inclusive hiring.  

Here are the top questions to ask yourself and your leadership team to ensure your company is set up for success to hire, retain and promote diverse employees.

What are the benefits of investing in inclusive hiring?

Inclusive hiring doesn’t happen overnight. It requires companies to invest time and resources in order to understand both why it is valuable and how to implement best practices. There are three key benefits of investing in inclusive hiring.

  • Diverse teams can best relate to diverse audiences

With a diverse customer and consumer base, there is a responsibility for your team to reflect the individuals you’re serving. Busi Sizani, Head of Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Deliveroo, expounded on the importance of troubleshooting for a diverse audience.

“We know now that the more complex the problems you’re trying to solve, the more diversity you need to have within teams, and not just have diversity for diversity’s sake, but have the space and the environment that supports those diverse voices being heard,” Sizani said. 

Crafting diverse teams requires having inclusive hiring processes in place that showcase that all individuals have an opportunity to thrive. Staff diversity is the competitive edge that businesses need in order to stay ahead of the game.

  • Spark greater innovation

Having a more diverse workforce encourages innovative ideas and problem solving. When the same people work together for long periods of time within the same sector, innovation can stall.

Laura Agharkar, Global Head of Diversity, Equity and Culture at Nasdaq, sees firsthand the value of different perspectives amongst employees. 

“We need to bring in those different perspectives to have people shaking it up,” she said. “Just knowing that problem-solving, innovation and creativity are going to lead to breakthroughs and changes in our business [is something that] we really need to capitalize on.” 

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  • Combat high turnover rates

Employee retention is central to the success of your business. High turnover costs time and money, impacts morale of all employees and can damage an organization’s reputation.

While it is a key priority to reduce the number of employees leaving their roles, businesses may find their employee retention strategy falls short unless they take a truly inclusive approach. 

As it stands, only about 50% of employees feel a sense of belonging in the workplace due to lack of diversity or failure on the part of the company to foster an inclusive environment. On the flip side, organizations who lead in diversity and inclusion report higher rates of employee retention.

What are some of the challenges in inclusive hiring?

Pushing for inclusivity and getting buy-in within your organization comes with its own set of challenges.

Laura Aghakar said she believes that it is vital “to make sure that teams understand that they also play a role in getting out there, meeting people and expanding their own networks. It is not only HR’s responsibility, or your talent acquisition’s responsibility.”. 

Educate your stakeholders to understand the value of inclusivity and how it benefits their own careers and the future of the business to stay competitive. 

Pushing your organization to see the value of inclusivity can be made easier by introducing technologies or programs that promote inclusivity and help streamline the process. 

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What are some valuable technologies or programs to enlist?

From optimizing job descriptions to making the most of language analytics, today’s technology offers a myriad of ways for businesses to make their hiring processes more inclusive. Here are some standout examples.

Textio to remove unintentional bias: Companies like Nasdaq are using Textio, a tool which helps reframe job descriptions to make sure that they do not contain bias within them. 

“I think one of the reasons I really like this tool is it empowers managers too, it allows them to take part in the process,” said Laura Agharkar of Nasdaq. “It shows them how little changes have a big impact. I think that no matter where you are in your journey, implementing a tool like this makes sense to people…”

Datapeople to analyze company data: Workplace language is continuously evolving. Using tools like Datapeople, a favorite with companies like Deliveroo, has a language analytics component that assists with writing job descriptions and recruiting emails. 

Using data can also help companies identify where there may be retention risks in terms of systemic issues. For instance, reviewing operations analytics about a role can shed light on programs and processes that need to be redesigned to allow for equitable advancement. 

“Data is the number one piece for building that clear advancement process,” said Agharkar. “Constantly trying to solve systemic issues that have happened because of inequitable processes is not enough because, unless you understand how these issues began, the same mistakes will be made again.” 

However, Busi Sizani shared that while data platforms are useful, it is also important to consider the human element alongside it. 

“That combination of the technology and the human is super important because these technologies are driven by algorithms that are often designed by people with specific cultural contexts,” she said. 

Ultimately, it is important to use data platforms in tandem with consulting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion experts to ensure your organization is hiring and promoting with equity.

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Captioning and transcription provides equity: Accessibility plays a huge role in fostering inclusivity. Research shows that 77% of employees and 80% of leaders who are living with a disability chose not to disclose it in their workplace. Captioning provides equity by making recorded and live meetings, events and videos accessible to all employees, regardless of whether they are living with a disability. 

“Taking a more proactive step and asking what we can do in our communication, in our meetings, in our events, in our training, in order to make people feel included…is a big part,” said Dana Mazia Weinbaum, Business Vertical Leader at Verbit.

Verbit works with leading businesses to help them foster inclusive workplace cultures with an easy solution to caption and transcribe their content.

How can companies start prioritizing inclusivity?

While it makes sense to want to attract diverse talent right away, problems often arise when a company’s internal culture is not inclusive. 

“The best job postings and commitments to diversity and inclusion are meaningless if that’s not the actual experience when someone joins the firm,” said Heide Gardner, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Interpublic Group. “We say we want to hire for diversity, but once we do, we onboard and manage for assimilation. It’s almost like false advertising when you create this impression,” she said. 

Busi Sizani recommends starting inside your organization by creating platforms for better listening.

“Most of the time, underrepresented minority groups in your organizations are just dying for an opportunity to share their experiences,” she said. “They’re not at the table most of the time. Create a platform and an opportunity for them to share their experiences. Understand who your culture includes and excludes, and work on those things. As you focus on inclusion, then you start to have a real chance to actually retain the diverse talent that you will inevitably attract.”

When companies begin to create an inclusive culture internally, platforms like Glassdoor can also help them hear about real experiences. Gardner pointed out that on social media, people often anonymously share about their experiences at their organizations.

It’s important to keep in mind that “most of the technology that companies use were not necessarily intended initially for diversity,” Heide said. “They were intended to help hire faster and hire better, so that you can minimize the risk that you’re hiring the wrong person and better chance of someone being successful.”

Inclusivity begins within 

Start by assessing how inclusive your workplace already is. Then, think about embedding more technology like algorithms into the hiring process.

While new technologies make ethical hiring more efficient, organizations risk overlooking non-inclusive biases if they choose to rely solely on an automated hiring process. Business leaders must look at every element of their organization – from the interview process, to internal practices to external marketing materials and calls with consumers to promote inclusion.

Verbit can serve as one essential partner in helping you make your workplace environments and content more inclusive for diverse needs. Our specialized team can offer you key insights on elements to consider and technologies to use, including captioning, note taking, translation and transcription. Reach out to us today.