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  • Building a Diversity Recruiting Strategy: Emphasize Commonality, Inclusion Over Differences

    April 06, 2016 | By NACE Staff

    Special Populations
    Recruiters in a meeting about how to build a more diverse recruitment strategy.

    TAGS: recruiting methods, diversity and inclusion, spotlight

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    There are many benefits associated with developing a diverse work force, but in order to do so, employers must stress what students want—such as commonality and inclusion—and avoid making assumptions that slow or derail efforts.

    According to Adrienne Alberts, director of talent acquisition, programs and operations with the American Red Cross, organizations with a diverse and inclusive work force:

    • Are resilient in change and able to adapt to shifts in the economic landscape.
    • Have higher rates of engagement among employees.
    • Win business and retain clients who have increased expectations of working with diverse organizations.
    • Are more attractive to potential talent.

    “These are a few of the benefits that can be realized by having a diverse work force, but they also can have a significant impact on an organization’s bottom line,” she adds. “It is important to consider these key items when exploring the importance of the diversity of your work force.” 

    Students have expectations around diversity and inclusion in the job search and their interactions with employers. For example, while students are not likely to identify as diverse, they want to see themselves reflected in the organizations for which they intend to work.  

    “They want to know that organizations are evolved and, at the risk of sounding cliché, they want to know that ‘all lives matter,’” Alberts explains. “Students are more likely to be attracted by messages of inclusion and commonality rather than of difference, so investing in approaches that meet students where they are can prove invaluable.”  

    Still, organizations make some common, but incorrect, assumptions in their diversity recruiting efforts. For example, Alberts says many assume that students align with an aspect of their identity versus multiple dimensions of their identity.  

    “Approaches that box students in are likely to be less fruitful than strategies that celebrate the whole person,” she notes. “Organizations also tend to assume that diversity simply means race and ethnicity. Diversity and inclusion have evolved, and relegating diversity recruitment strategies to race could cause employers to miss out on the very talent they seek.”  

    Finally, assuming that diversity strategies will work and produce lasting results if there is not alignment throughout the organization top down and bottom up also has negative impacts on organizations.  

    To build a comprehensive diversity recruiting strategy, Alberts recommends:

    • Aligning recruitment efforts to the most critical business needs and building measures of success that reflect those priorities.
    • Investing in training and educational resources to cultivate a culturally competent community (recruiters, HR partners, hiring manager, business leaders, change advocates, and others).
    • Developing pipelines that deliver high-performing diverse talent to the organization (internship programs, leadership programs, and more).
    • Ensuring that your branding is reflective of the community, and that images, messaging, events, and interactions all reinforce the organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.  

    “Organizations should also invest in an approach that has proven successful in university recruiting efforts for decades—the tried-and-true approach of letting employees and, wherever possible, alumni share the recruitment message,” Alberts says.

    “Engage business resource groups in your recruitment efforts on campuses and in social media, and let your current employees identify your future employees all while showcasing the organizational culture.”   

    Adrienne Alberts will present “Dimensions of Diversity: Building a Comprehensive Diversity Recruiting Strategy” during NACE16.