Do you have a diversity recruitment strategy?

by Feb 12, 2019

How to create a well thought out diversity recruitment strategy


You can’t broaden the scope of your talent pipeline without having a well thought out diversity recruitment strategy


An increasing number of organisations are officially committing to a policy of diversity. They make some kind of statement. They might even go all out and appoint a D & I person. More usually they tag the responsibility on to the role of some already over-worked mid-level HR person. They then politely wring their hands in frustration because they can’t find the right talent in whatever segment they are looking at. This is a message to selves. You can’t broaden the scope of your talent pipeline without having a well thought out diversity recruitment strategy.

Doing what you’ve always done and hoping for different results isn’t going to work. And yet many businesses do exactly that. They may make a few tweaks to various elements but otherwise it’s business as usual. As Euan Semple told me at an Unleash event in 2018, “Organisations will accept tweaks but are reluctant to commit  to real systemic change.” Having an effective diversity recruitment strategy means evaluating every element of the hiring process starting at your posting documentation, candidate sourcing, attraction, hiring and finally retention. There is also no point creating a diverse pipeline if your culture is non-inclusive. People will leave. And they do.

diversity recruitment strategy

6 main considerations to create a diversity recruitment strategy

My focus is the female talent pipeline but the process is applicable to the hiring of any non-dominant group.

#1 Articulate your organisations commitment

You need to do more than make a statement. This should be everywhere and not just a line in small font at the end of a job advert that you are an equal opportunity employer. It should be writ large on your careers pages and any other documents or platforms both internal and external. Your leadership should endorse that commitment loudly and publicly. It should be clear that you value difference and how that contributes to business success. You should also make clear you have zero tolerance policies on sexual harassment, racism and other forms of discrimination. Indicate you have effective policies in place to deal with any issues.

Check out 3Plus Corporate Programs to create bias conscious cultures

#2 Check your employer branding

Brutally assess all elements of your employer branding and hiring process. It really is best to ask for an external audit. Very often those tasked with making an evaluation won’t have had unconscious bias training and will not know what to look for. I recently had a session with an organisation which had replaced the photos on their web site career pages in an effort to attract more women. It is true that there were some women featured on the pages but the majority were in shown in passive roles. That is not going to work. If your communications department runs your branding – make sure they have had unconscious bias training too. Frequently they are excluded and they need to direct the photographer and copy writers.

Don’t forget your employer brand is communicated visually, verbally and in writing in every conceivable way. It is obvious in icons, photos, decor, documentation, language selection and podcasts.

#3 Evaluate your recruitment processes

Make sure your job profiles and adverts are “real” with accurate qualifications and experience for the job. They should be gender neutral to attract more women. Advertise in places where you know any non-dominant group will be located. This means out of the box thinking and extending the reach of your network for referrals. Most people don’t have diverse networks and even women when asked will refer men. Network referrals is not an equal opportunity activity. There is a gender networking gap even on sites such as LinkedIn.  If you are targeting women make sure you have women involved in the interviewing process with checks and balances to manage any bias that creeps in.


3Plus can help you with some simple ways to make your hiring process appeal more to women with our FREE ebook on 12 key steps to attract, recruit and retain female talent.


#4 Fish where there are fish

Don’t complain about not being able to find candidates. This generally means two things:

  • you need a longer term strategic vision to tackle deeply embedded cultural issues. For example the number of women taking STEM courses is actually dropping. What can you do to overcome that gap via community outreach programmes, sponsoring university and old-school sandwich courses or offering on the job training post graduation?
  • Look in places where you will find a greater pool of diversity candidates. One organisation was disappointed because it was not to be able to find female drivers via the Top 10 Auto magazines. Where they did find them was via postings in day care centres, doctors’ surgeries, super markets and on buses. That’s where women are.

#5 Bring in allies

It’s important to create a team of ambassadors and allies who are the spokespeople for your organisation, willing to go into the community and be in the public voice eye and ears championing your cause.

#6 Create an inclusive culture

You are not going to retain your diversity hires if once they are through the door they feel unsafe and unwelcome. This means creating a culture of inclusion with the required strategy to go with it. Despite what many organisations think these things don’t happen on their own.


Tackle these issues head on with our Managing Unconscious Bias in your recruitment processes.

Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
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