Diversity and Inclusion: 7 Essential Early Talent Recruiting Strategies

The definition of D&I is evolving with millennials and Gen Z. Learn how to adapt your strategy.

Some of the world’s greatest ideas and technologies are a direct result of diverse minds coming together to create something truly remarkable. By cultivating diversity and inclusion in the workplace, employers benefit in a number of ways, including less employee turnover, more creative thinking and innovation, higher employee engagement, and even financial gains.

Recruiting for diversity & inclusion is essential to the success of your organization, which is why we created a comprehensive guide to help you attract and hire the best candidates from underrepresented backgrounds in a mostly digital recruiting environment.

Gen Z on Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity used to be confined to race and gender, but as time passed, its definition evolved. Today, diversity encompasses a more holistic view of an individual, with Gen Z driving and adopting an even broader definition of diversity and inclusion. Why? Because nearly half of US Gen Zs identify as non-white. This generation is undoubtedly the most diverse yet.

For Gen Z, diversity includes race, gender, orientation, and identity. While there tends to be a big emphasis on the diversity component of D&I, Gen Z expects inclusion to be important to employers, too. Gen Z expects companies to be tolerant and open, celebrate individuality, and embrace diverse ways of thinking. Recruiters hoping to attract today’s college students and recent grads should understand D&I on Gen Zs terms, and the value that this new generation brings to work.

According to Handshake’s Campus to Career report, 67% of students & recent grads on Handshake agree that they would only work for an employer that’s built an inclusive company culture and provides a sense of belonging to employees from all backgrounds.

Rethinking Diversity & Inclusion in 2020

America is in the middle of a movement to ensure minorities, especially Black Americans, are treated with equity, mutuality, and respect. This comes at a time when COVID-19 has disrupted businesses, challenging HR teams to address new ways of working remotely, and be more in tune with providing solutions to the challenges our communities face.

With Gen Z redefining the future of work, there’s never been a better time to reexamine how your company exercises diversity and inclusion, starting with your definition of diversity to how you recruit, engage, and retain the best talent. This process requires that you re-examine your current practices, consider conscious and unconscious biases, and ask tough questions.

Are your hiring practices inclusive? Do your job postings use gender-neutral language? Do your employee resource groups (ERGs) empower employees from underrepresented backgrounds?

Here are a few more questions to consider:

  • Is our talent criteria limiting our ability to recruit for diversity?
  • Do we exemplify diversity & inclusion in our employer brand?
  • Are we communicating in an exclusive or impersonal manner?
Tip: Communicate inclusively by checking out this list of words to use vs. avoid in the workplace

Take the time to evaluate where you stand currently, what you’re doing well, and where you’re falling short. Conduct employee surveys and analyze the results to create a more inclusive environment. Not only will your organization benefit from increased diversity, but you’ll be creating an inclusive environment that fosters diverse thinking and appreciation for varying perspectives.

Diversity & Inclusion During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we do business, shifting in-person communication, work, and events to an all-digital environment. This shift has greatly impacted recruiting, bringing D&I to a halt in many companies (which could be devastating to companies post-COVID-19).

To maintain D&I initiatives and continue engaging with students, employers are turning to digital-first platforms like Handshake to highlight their D&I mission. In the absence of in-person engagements, companies on Handshake are redesigning their Employer Page to feature photos and videos that make their workplace unique. They are also connecting their ambassadors and alumni with like-minded prospects, enabling a more authentic and personal experience for all.

Tip: Handshake Premium partners can take their branding one step further by deploying a dynamic Employer Page that only features relevant testimonials, so if an engineering student from Howard University views their page, that student will only see reviews from other students at Howard.

Designing a Diversity & Inclusion Recruiting Strategy

Having a detailed and actionable D&I strategy is essential to a recruiter’s success in sourcing candidates from underrepresented backgrounds. We’ve covered a few takeaways here, but check out our complete guide to recruiting for diversity and inclusion to learn how to up level your diversity & inclusion strategy and how Handshake can help.