Starting Strong With Inclusivity💪
Updated: Jan 3, 2022
The best candidates want an inclusive environment, here's how to land them
This is my second post on inclusion. If you haven’t already, you should go back and read last week’s post about why corporate diversity programs feel so empty. People seemed to like it!
This week I’ll be writing about how you can model inclusivity in your hiring process. Candidates and employees alike will love you for it.
As always, thanks for reading!
Last week’s post was all about how inclusion is the foundation of any successful diversity program.
This week my goal is to define the inclusive values you can model in your hiring process to attract the best candidates.
Any investment you make in inclusion has a pretty great return, both financially and emotionally - so doing this work is well worth it!
With that, let’s get started.
Defining Workplace Inclusion
So what are the hallmarks of an inclusive workplace?
McKinsey has three dimensions that translate to an inclusive culture:¹
Openness – it is safe to express thoughts, ideas, and concerns. Equality – there is a perception of fairness, an equal chance for all employees to succeed. Belonging – employees share a positive connection to each other and the organization.
Those all sound pretty good to me.
Not to be outdone, Deloitte has a slightly different take:²
Authenticity - Employees can be themselves and use their unique strengths Flexibility - Employees can determine, for themselves, where and when they get their work done. Purpose - Employees can make an impact and understand how their work fits into the bigger picture.
To put these values in my own words:
Inclusive work environments are places where employees can be their authentic selves, have autonomy over their work, perceive their rewards as fair, feel heard by their colleagues, and understand how their work impacts the organization.
How to signal inclusion in your hiring process
Knowing what we know about inclusion, let’s list the factors that must be present in an inclusive hiring process.
Openness and Transparency
Now let’s discuss these factors in greater detail.
Demonstrating to a candidate that your organization values their authentic self starts with understanding that, as a hiring manager, you are in a powerful and privileged position. Therefore, the burden is on you to be authentic first.
Being honest about the role and what it entails, discussing your organizations strengths (and weaknesses), and being open about your own abilities signals that it’s OK to be vulnerable as long as you seek solutions.
Demonstrating authenticity isn’t about “selling” a candidate. Rather, it’s about having an honest conversation as quickly as possible, and the best way to do that is for you, the interviewer (and person with all the leverage), to lead the way.
In my experience, this is the one factor that managers value the least and employees value the most. If you can create an environment where your employees feel empowered to hit their goals, then you will never lack high-quality hires.
The best way to signal this value during the hiring process is to tell the candidate how they can “win” at their desired job. If it’s sales, give them their quota (and better yet, tell them how many reps hit quota last quarter); if it’s operations, tell them their production goals, etc.
I am shocked at how few organizations can articulate what a “win” looks like for any particular role.
And, for the record, the definition of a win needs to be as objective as possible - it should be measurable, not subject to corporate politics, and intellectually honest.
If you tell a candidate how they can succeed at their job and the methods you use to define a win is quantifiable and objective, you’ll be practicing equality almost by default.
During the hiring process, you can further communicate this value by explaining what traits and skills you’re looking for, why you value them, and how you measure them. Again, it’s essential to be as objective as possible here. The more objective your criteria the more equitable your process.
Openness and Transparency
Congrats, if you’re doing the top three things, then you’re already being open. It’s a “buy three, get one free” situation!
The Inclusive Hiring Checklist
As always, thank you for reading. As a special thank you, I put together this checklist that you can use to ensure that your hiring process is inclusive.
See you next week!
1 It’s important to note what the dimensions don’t say. Being inclusive doesn’t mean that an employee can express ALL thoughts, ideas, and concerns - for example, Bob from Accounting doesn’t get to tell Linda from HR that he’d like to sleep with her. It doesn’t mean that ALL employees will succeed, just that each employee will have an equal chance to. And “positive connection” doesn’t mean you’ll be lifelong friends with everyone you work with.