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How To Create a DEI Strategy in Six Steps

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While some organizations are successfully deploying DEI efforts, an overwhelming majority want to create a DEI strategy and need a nudge or two (or six) in the right direction to leverage the resources they already have with a clear vision in mind. In fact, only one in five companies considers it’s truly prepared to address workplace diversity, according to an HR Dive study.

Whether you want to take steps in the “diverse” direction or consolidate your strategies, large organizations can benefit enormously from two major assets:

  • a flexible platform to bring their plan to life
  • the right partner that’ll help each individual company design the processes that are particular to it

Working with our countless clients from across the globe in different industries, we’ve seen a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for their recruiting goals. Diversity is no exception. That’s why it is essential to understand the many possible ways in which you can materialize your DEI vision.

To break down the process into different steps, Avature’s Product Marketing Specialist Misha Chakrabarti and Solutions Architect Gustavo Casazza hosted a webinar in which they shared key insights and best practices to help organizations design, plan, execute and assess their own DEI strategy. They covered six points that guide organizations that are only beginning to address the topic and serve as a checklist for others well on their way to fulfilling their most elaborate vision.

Read on to find out what you need to create a plan that’ll work for you and show the candidates you’re looking to attract that you care about them and their experience with your organization.

1. Identify Your Unique DEI Vision

Before you begin to make measurable progress, it’s crucial to take stock of your current processes. As Chakrabarti suggested, try to broaden your perceptions of what’s possible. Ask yourself a few questions. For starters, “where do I stand now?” to have an honest benchmark. Then, focus more on your vision: “what would my hiring look like in an ideal world?” and “what would I want my hiring processes to look like if there were no limitations?”.

“Ultimately, the clients who get the most out of Avature are teams who don’t want to be limited by an old or restrictive system and who want to reimagine the art of the possible to put in place their talent vision.” Misha Chakrabarti, Product Marketing Specialist

With this in mind, give yourself the time to think and rethink the company’s objectives and the challenges it faces when it comes to DEI and all-things-talent. Once that is clear, the rebuilding stage can begin.

2. Work With Your Partners To Create Your DEI Strategy

Now that you have your vision for your dream DEI strategy, you need to make it come true. For this, you’ll need a flexible system that will let you reach for the stars. To figure out how to navigate the journey, you’ll need an experienced vendor who can guide you along the way, an organization that will offer its expertise and work with you side by side.

“It’s not only about the technology, but equally about the partnership with the technology vendor. Having Avature as a true partner that challenges and consults you as you develop and apply technology is a crucial success factor.” Sebastian Hubert, HR Director at Siemens Energy

This is the kind of experience your HR staff can have when you collaborate with a vendor eager to share its experience, expertise and knowledge of best practices with you. It works like a charm to partner up with an organization that also understands your business challenges and opportunities and supports you in bringing your vision to life considering different local regulations and cultural contexts.

3. Adopt a Skills-based Approach

One of the latest recruiting and talent management trends can dramatically enhance your diversity hiring strategy. Focusing on skills rather than traditional indicators, such as work experience and academic achievements, will naturally diversify your talent pool and help you open doors to candidates from a broader range of backgrounds that might not have otherwise been considered. This helps reduce unconscious biases and level the playing field.

Another benefit for your hiring team is that a consistent approach based on people’s skills is easier to evaluate and standardizes interviews and subsequent assessments.

Applying the skills-based approach is only possible at scale if you have the right technology. Let’s see a few examples:

  • Revolutionizing traditional search, AI can help sourcers discover hidden gems within your database. Recommended Candidates and WebSources are two Avature functionalities with which they can do this faster and better. The former suggests candidates with the necessary skills for different talent pipelines. The latter runs scheduled, semantic-powered searches to import qualified candidates from the open web with the skills sourcers have their eye on.
  • Recruiters can also promote diverse hiring by resorting to skill-powered Recommended Candidates. This will broaden the range of talent for a requisition and allow recruiters to reap the benefits of their database.
  • Hiring managers can be encouraged to focus on skills while reviewing candidates so that they can focus on what truly matters: finding the right person for the position.

4. Ensure Transparency, Agency and Equity

Skills and AI are great tools that can bridge the DEI gap, but are not the answer themselves. An inclusive hiring process should also be transparent and equitable and have a sense of agency for all applicants. They want to feel they start the process on equal footing and have all the tools they need to be a successful applicant.

One way of doing this is to provide external applicants with a one-stop-shop career marketplace. Even before they apply, you can give those interested in your DEI initiatives information about what your organization has already done in this regard. You can also create specific pages for audience segments such as veterans, women and other underrepresented groups.

You can continue leveling the playing field with advanced AI capabilities to deliver personalized job recommendations. Apart from suggestions based on their browsing history, candidates can upload a resume to your career marketplace and get openings based on skills, work experience and qualifications.

Grant further transparency and agency and allow candidates to track the status of their application or withdraw if they so wish. Talent that don’t find the right fit for them, but whose interest you’ve sparked, can set up job alerts and join a talent community.

When it comes to your employees, offer them a clear career path based on skills and experience so they can see how they can reach their goals in a way that is logical and fair. You can demonstrate your investment in their growth by creating a bustling talent marketplace where they can access tailored learning recommendations and upskilling opportunities as well as see open positions.

Leveraging Skills and Promoting Diversity the Deutsche Telekom Way

A leading integrated telecommunications company with over 215,000 employees worldwide, the organization puts the skills-based approach and robust platform to work while keeping staff engaged and giving them agency over their professional development. It shows care when it personalizes the process to each individual and creates an engaging environment that generates tailored growth opportunities for its workforce.

It also shows its commitment to employees’ development by encouraging collaboration among staff members. The organization sets the stage for business leaders to act as sponsors for other employees looking to upskill. Through two-way communication, internal candidates receive advice and guidance on the best ways to grow within the organization.

“You don’t want your talent to be sifting through a list of jobs or development opportunities. You want to give them what they need at the right place and at the right time. And Avature really enabled us to do this with its white-box approach towards algorithms.” Pranav Chadha, Senior Technical Product Manager at Deutsche Telekom

Other organizations can also offer new opportunities to diverse talent by involving them in projects. This alternative is part of the modern approach to mobility, which entails more than vertical growth for top performers. By creating short and long-term projects, you can give employees the opportunity to leverage skills that are on the backburner. Projects can also represent a chance to upskill and open new internal doors. Plus, they can also be a test run as candidates can get a sense of what the career change that they’re looking for would be like.

Understanding whether or not your candidates feel they have agency can seem like an impossible task for a seemingly intangible metric. One way to get real insights into this is to collect feedback.

5. Gather Stakeholders’ Feedback To Optimize Your DEI Efforts

Congrats! You’ve done the heavy lifting. You’ve come across diverse candidates and may be patting yourself on the back for having broadened your perspective on what’s possible in the talent acquisition and talent management arena.

The question is, have you collected honest, unfiltered feedback about the process from all those involved? If not, it’s time to do so because it will be extremely beneficial to your organization.

With automated, branded surveys you can gain insight into how your inclusivity initiatives are performing in practice and do so in a way that is sustainable for your teams and consistent with the rest of the candidate experience. You can also put in place a similar process to gather feedback from recruiters and hiring managers, who can zoom in on different stages and perspectives of the process and identify aspects that can be improved.

Asking for feedback lets you continue engaging with talent in a meaningful way, whether they made it to offer or not, so that they can think of your organization for future steps in their careers. It’ll also benefit future candidates because they’ll have a better experience as the company continues to improve its strategy and deployment.

6. Report, Iterate and Improve Your DEI Strategy

In addition to gathering feedback, it’s essential to look at hard data that has been collected throughout the process and assess the impact of your DEI initiatives. Right at the beginning, when you envisioned your DEI strategy and set your objectives, you also established KPIs to evaluate the outcome of your initiatives. Now’s the time for numbers to do the talking and let the data model give you the metrics you want to track. A collaborative vendor can also offer great support and help you identify the data you need and retrieve it in custom reports.

A powerful, flexible platform allows your stakeholders to create specific reports and dashboards depending on their interests and audiences, giving them real-time insights to take evidence-based action. The Avature data model lets you track anything in your system and see all the data together in a fully customizable diversity dashboard.

“I love the customization Avature provides. No matter what situation you have, there is a way to configure Avature for what you need. I also love the reporting feature that lets you take a report that captures real-time data from the system and export it to an excel spreadsheet. The spreadsheet can be refreshed so that even non-Avature users can have real-time data. The dynamic reports are fantastic!” Undisclosed Reviewer on G2, Talent Acquisition Operations Manager

For instance, sourcers may benefit from understanding the diversity of their talent pipelines, while hiring managers may want to focus on the experience talent has during the interview stage. You can also create and export reports with the metrics that are most important to the C Suite, such as cost per hire, time to fill and DEI-specific ones like male/female annual salary and diversity by department.

Once you’ve spotted strengths and weaknesses, you can make informed decisions to adjust your strategy accordingly.

An Ongoing Journey

DEI can be a big topic to handle, but doing nothing about it or implementing a generic plan isn’t going to do your organization any favors. What you can do is turn to your vendor and start taking steps in this direction. You already have a six-point checklist. If you pair that with a strategy that makes sense to your company and its point on this journey, a robust platform like Avature to empower your HR teams to execute its vision will put you well on your road to success.

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