6 Metrics to Improve Your Diversity Recruiting in 2016

6 Metrics to Improve Your Diversity Recruiting in 2016

Emily Smykal

The benefits of a diverse workforce cannot be overstated. Increases in innovation, creativity, and candidate applications, along with reductions in turnover have all been attributed to diversity in the office. Yet many businesses still do not reflect the diversity of the American population, especially among the ranks of senior leadership.

One way recruiters can improve diversity at their organization is through metrics. We’re not talking about simply posting equal employment opportunity (EEO) regulations in the office kitchen and quoting related figures to management. In this post we’ll discuss six different types of metrics and goals to work toward that clearly demonstrate the diversity of your workforce, and help guide decision-making to achieve a more inclusive work environment.

1. EEO Targets and Regulations

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is responsible for enforcing Federal laws that prohibit discrimination towards employees and job applicants. This includes race, color, religion, sex (with limited protections for sexual orientation and gender identity), pregnancy, national origin, age, disability or genetic information.

If your business is covered by EEO regulations (and most are), all existing employees and job applicants are protected. Ideally, your HR team would report zero instances of EEO complaints as part of your diversity metrics. Discrimination and harassment can take many forms, and can occur at every stage of the job application process, and throughout an employee’s tenure. Providing training and education on discrimination for all employees can help prevent this figure from climbing above zero.

2. Current Levels of and Changes in Minority Representation (Overall)

While you obviously cannot exclude applicants and employees based on diversity, your talent acquisition team can keep track of the breakdown of your workforce. Minority representation typically refers to race or ethnicity, but it’s important to consider other minority groups based on gender, age, or disability.

First, determine which aspects of diversity you want to track, and then divide your workforce (and separately, your applicant pool) into those groups. Then set a standard time period over which you will collect these figures. If your records permit, you can also gather historical data. Once you have enough information, you can chart the current and changing levels of diversity within your organization, and identify areas for improvement.

3. Current Levels of and Changes in Minority Representation Among Levels and Departments

Once you’re confident in the accuracy of your overall minority representation measurement, it’s time to breakdown that data across your company’s different departments and levels of management. It’s great if you have a diverse, balanced staff running your sales efforts. But what if everyone in the C-suite is a white male above the age of 50? If that’s the case, then the benefits you’re getting from diversity among entry-level workers isn’t extending to the boardroom. The same can likely be said from a top-down perspective.

4. Retention of Underrepresented Staff

We’ve discussed the importance of tracking and increasing the retention of your employees. But initiatives to reduce turnover are especially important for your diversity efforts. Less diverse workplaces can come across as unwelcoming, even hostile to minority applicants and employees. If employees leave because they feel they don’t fit in, the diversity of your organization will not improve.

In addition, the preference for diverse, inclusive workplaces is stronger today than ever, as Millennial workers exhibit a more tolerant and inclusive approach to colleagues. Plus, Millennials, which are now the largest component of the U.S. labor force, are also the most diverse generation of workers to date. A measure of the retention of your minority employees, along with overall retention, will help demonstrate the success of your efforts to retain and cultivate a diverse workforce.

5. Changes in Pay Disparities

Once you’re tracking the minority representation at your company, one indicator of how those employees are treated is their pay–is it on par with that of majority employees? You may be hiring larger numbers of diverse employees, but if they feel they’re not treated fairly, there’s a good chance they’ll look for more equitable opportunities.

The general taboo against discussing different salaries among workers often prevents employees from even noticing a disparity. But your recruitment team should be well positioned to note these differences, and raise them with the appropriate managers. If all employees are paid fairly regardless of gender, race, or age, you have eliminated one major hurdle to retaining your diverse staff.

6. Sources of Diverse Candidates

One final metric to consider is the source of your diverse applicants and employees. Sources of candidates today vary widely compared to just a few years ago. And if you’re already tracking where all of your candidates come from when they start and complete a job application, or when they’re hired, you can combine that data with your minority representation figures.

Some candidate sources are already proven to be more popular with certain minority groups than others. Budget decisions based on diversity goals and hiring needs can zero in on these sources, to achieve diversity in a more efficient way.

Tips for Improving Your Diversity Recruitment

While these metrics will help you track diversity efforts, they’ll be useless if you’re not incorporating diversity recruitment methods into your overall talent acquisition strategy. Developing and promoting diversity as part of your employer brand is a great way to start. Just look at the steps companies like Apple and Twitter have taken to not only publish diversity statistics, but to encourage greater diversity and support minority causes.

Improving diversity means more than increasing figures, it means acceptance and inclusion of all kinds of workers. Consider gathering diverse members of your existing workforce to brainstorm ideas for attracting more diverse candidates, and encourage them to make employee referrals.

Your team can also partner with diverse organizations, media outlets, and social media groups, to promote your organization as a minority-friendly, open-minded place to work. There are even minority career fairs where members of your recruitment team can engage directly with potential applicants. Altogether, your diversity recruitment efforts and diversity metrics should reflect the increasing heterogeneity of the U.S. workforce.

And lastly, educate your hiring managers and talent acquisition staff on the role of diversity and inclusion in overall business performance, and why they should care in the first place. If they’re not bought in, then you’ll have a hard time meeting your goals.
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