9 Diversity & Inclusion Programs to Attract Diverse Candidates

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To help you attract more diverse talent, we asked HR/Recruiting professionals and leaders for their insights. From investing more in employee resource groups to starting an internship program, there are several ways and programs that can help your company attract a more diverse group of talent. 


Encourage Year-Round Engagement


Diverse populations are very loyal to companies that show up for them. Showing up does not mean buying a table at the annual banquet, then claiming to donate the seats back to the organization because no one from the company will attend. Encourage managers and employees to be involved in committees as volunteers throughout the year and help manage administrative or marketing details. People need to know and trust company representatives.

*Denise Meridith, World's Best Connectors LLC


Partner With Diverse Organizations


Consider supporting diverse small businesses, sorority/fraternity, or non-profit organizations that provide services in areas with a hiring need—partner with them to serve and share your desire to diversify representation at your company. Invite them to identify a liaison who could directly access a company recruiter to recommend potential candidates. Building genuine community partnerships will help attract individuals from those communities. Diversifying these partnerships will attract a more diversified candidate pool.

*LaShawn Davis, The HR Plug


Train Employees in Cross-Cultural Communication


Today, more teams consist of employees across the globe who have diverse backgrounds and react differently to different management styles. For this reason, leaders will need to learn to communicate differently. What motivates workers in one country may not be as effective with those who live in another. Western culture values competition and individual achievement. And leaders rely on direct communication to get their point across. Eastern culture places importance on the group over the individual. And they strive to maintain harmony and avoid conflict at all costs. People in the East prefer using indirect and non-verbal forms of communication. They value building personal relationships to help them succeed. With such complexity of cultural differences, promoting your brand's training in cross-cultural communication will continue to attract top talent from around the world.

*Shaunak Amin, SnackMagic


Have a Mentorship & Development Program


A mentorship and development program would be ideal for workplace diversity and inclusion. It's one thing to recruit diverse candidates to your company, but what are you doing to ensure their success? Having a mentorship and development program in place is best to improve inclusivity. The program's goal should be to provide direct critical feedback and resources necessary to ensure the success of all diverse candidates at every level of your organization. By prioritizing programs like these, it would naturally become a part of your company's culture and brand to attract the best and most diverse candidate pool.

*Rronniba Pemberton, Markitors


Focus on Elevating Diverse Voices


Create a strategy that focuses on elevating diverse voices in recruitment branding. If potential candidates can literally see themselves in an organization, they are more likely to be drawn to your brand. Internally, this can look like specifically targeting diverse employees to share their stories of cultural competency within your company via blogging or video and leveraging for external use.

*Sentari Minor, evolvedMD


Encourage Participation in Employee Resource Groups


Many companies have diversity and inclusion initiatives that actively encourage employees to participate in employee resource groups [ERGs]. These can be dedicated to different communities, such as LGTBQ+ or black professionals. Knowing that ERGs exist within a company can help encourage candidates from minority or underserved communities to apply. The more welcome everyone feels at a company, the more diverse a talent pool you can attract.

*Thorin Yee, Best Companies AZ


Use Technology to Proactively Source for Diversity


Companies can be more proactive about building diverse candidate pools through automated sourcing. Women and minorities often don't apply to jobs if they don't feel they've met every requirement. If you wait for diverse talent to find you, you probably won't diversify your pipeline as quickly or as successfully as you'd like. By reaching out to underrepresented candidates, they'll know you are interested and feel more comfortable engaging with your hiring team. Plus, you'll be able to increase the diversity of your pipeline overall by starting at the beginning of the process.

*Andres Blank, Fetcher


Try Diverse Candidate Referral Programs


One of the most effective ways to attract diverse candidates is through a diverse candidate referral program. Work with your team members to help with your diverse hiring strategy, attract high-quality candidates, boost your team's empowerment and engagement, and showcase your diversity to potential new hires. Ask diverse teammates to share job openings with their personal and professional networks, and give them any promotional tools and support needed.

*James Diel, Textel


Start an Internship Program


You can attract more diverse candidates by creating internship and co-op opportunities for people with diverse backgrounds. The program can help you introduce new, diverse recruits to your business by reaching out to schools and community groups, asking them to connect with their students and members. Once their internships are complete, you can offer positions to those who excelled during the program. Communities often have their own diversity initiatives, so you can piggyback off their structure while you help support their work.

*John Li, Fig Loans


When people feel a sense of belonging at work, they are more productive, motivated, engaged & 3.5 times more likely to contribute to their fullest potential. 

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About the Author


Markitors is an SEO company for small businesses. Google “digital marketing company” and you’ll likely see Markitors in the search results.

We’ve been voted a Best Place To Work multiple times by the Business Journal, Best Companies, and more. We know our stuff, and nothing makes us happier than moving small businesses forward.


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