Diversity and Inclusion
February 16, 2021

7 Easy steps to increase D&I at your workplace (from an HR perspective)

"In order to become more inclusive, we have to start from the core of any business – its people. As HR managers, we have a great responsibility in taking charge of this change." In this article, our HR manager Tatiana shares some tips on how each of us can contribute to an effective D&I campaign.

I’m lucky to be working for a company where everyone’s opinion is listened to, where female candidates are equally appreciated, where ageism, sexism, and racism don’t exist.  

Unfortunately, while I may be taking such things as Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) for granted, there are so many examples where these principles aren’t practiced due to time or resource shortages.

In order to become more inclusive, we have to start from the core of any business – its people. As HR managers, we have a great responsibility in taking charge of this change. Here I share some handy and easily implemented tips on how each of us can contribute to an effective D&I campaign.

7 steps to start with:

  1. Try blind screening: using blind screenings, you will minimize unconscious biases that may influence your shortlisting process. Studies have shown that people with stereotypically “ethnic” names need to send out more resumes before they get a callback. Minorities who ‘whiten’ their resumes by deleting references to their minority backgrounds are twice as likely to get an interview compared to candidates who reveal their background. Likewise, resumes with female names are often ranked lower than those with male names, even if they are equally qualified. By removing factors (like a candidate’s name, gender, educational institution, socioeconomic information, or background) from resumes, you can avoid those characteristics becoming a deciding factor.  
  1. Assess your careers page: your careers page is like a shopfront for your recruitment efforts. To attract a diverse candidate pool, make sure many different demographics are represented in your photos and quotes. As a step further, look at your leadership. Are they diverse? Candidates who see a non-diverse careers page and leadership team may infer that your workplace isn’t very inclusive.  
  1. Write results-based job descriptions: did you know that men often apply for jobs that they’re 60% qualified for, but women will only apply if they meet 100% of the job description? To avoid this, focus on the tasks and projects that a new hire will be expected to achieve within a month, six months, and a year into the job. This enables a candidate to share what they can bring to the job, instead of meeting a checklist of skills and qualifications.
  1. Invest in a structured interview process and training: consistency is key here, as structured questions will help an interview stay on-track and stick to the most relevant needs for a role. It also reduces biases and ‘gut-feeling’ decisions that could favor a certain demographic. Asking each candidate similar questions gives you a consistent data set to base your decisions on.  
  1. Celebrate diverse holidays and events: ask your workforce what holidays mean the most to them and don’t be afraid to publicly state your support for movements that matter to underrepresented groups. It can also provide a good opportunity to educate your entire workforce on the need for diversity and the experiences of minority groups. Why not set aside a time for everyone to share their favorite black authors and artists as part of Black History Month, for example? Or have a company celebration for Pride. 
  1. Visually display your company’s commitment to diversity: hang posters up to educate employees on different aspects of D&I, share different stories through your internal communications tools, and celebrate the differences that make your workforce unique. Take a look, for example, at these posters that The Guardian newspaper created and spread around its offices to start a discussion around the 10 pillars of its D&I strategy:
The Guardian printed these posters that have been spread all around the offices.

  1. Lead from the top: executive buy-in and example-setting are vital to the success of your D&I efforts. Ask your leadership team to get involved through their thought-leadership (sharing articles and thoughts on LinkedIn, for example), Tweeting about the proactive steps your company is taking, and including D&I on the agenda at company-wide meetings. Create a culture of transparency where people feel able to approach leadership with ideas to improve D&I, suggestions for new celebrations or events, and concerns about anything that could hinder your inclusive environment. Most importantly, make sure your leaders are not quiet about D&I as silence from the top can inadvertently discourage underrepresented candidates from applying for a role or remaining in your organization.  

Inclusion is not a one-off event, it’s an ongoing process

It’s not enough to relegate D&I to a one-time training session or to simply tell your employees what it means to be inclusive. Like any behavioral change, it will require people to identify those key moments throughout their workday where they can have a positive impact on D&I. When these “micro behaviors” are put into action in a supportive and open environment -real change becomes possible.  

It’s also worth considering what happens after you successfully hire an underrepresented candidate. Too often, we focus D&I efforts on employee hiring, which leads to a boost in diversity numbers, however, it doesn’t automatically create an inclusive culture. The employee experience continues long past signing the contract. It is, therefore, crucial to create conditions that promote D&I on daily basis in a systematic and measurable way.