How a Recruitment Partner Can Strengthen Your Diversity & Inclusion Strategy

by Tim Plamondon

How a Recruitment Partner Can Strengthen Your Diversity & Inclusion Strategy

Generation Z has begun to enter the workforce and along with Millennials, they will make up the majority of job seekers. While both groups of job seekers look at diversity in the workplace as a priority, Genz Z sees it differently than the previous generation, and won’t settle until they find a  workplace that reflects their values.

With the value job seekers place on diversity, companies must be nimble, integrating a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) strategy with their Employer Value Proposition (EVP). This commitment to creating an authentic EVP will prove to candidates the value of  DEI as an integral part of your employee experience. 

Recruitment providers are strategic partners on the frontlines of enhancing DEI in the workplace and can help companies create a genuine EVP that highlights their commitment to their DEI strategy. 

Why Is It Essential to Infuse Your DEI Strategy Into Your EVP?

"The majority of job seekers actively seek out opportunities with companies that prioritize DEI, and it’s a deciding factor in making employment choices," Michele Krier, SVP, ClearEdge Marketing said. Gen Z workers makeup 34 percent of the workforce and encompass an additional 60 million job seekers in the labor market. Considering that Millennials already make up a third of the labor market, the addition of Gen Z represents a highly influential mix of job seekers. Therefore, to attract and retain the top talent in this group of job seekers, it's vital to integrate your DEI strategy with your EVP. 

An EVP is about optics and reflects how potential employees perceive company values. Today, most job seekers want to see that DEI is vital to your company culture. "Integrating your DEI strategy with the EVP recognizes and demonstrates the importance an organization places on DEI," shared Stephanie Roemer, President of Roemer Consulting Group. "This shows that DEI is part of the value and commitment of the organization and the importance of the way you do business."

Keep It Real: Why Authenticity Matters When Designing Your EVP 

When your EVP presents an honest picture of where your company falls on the DEI spectrum, candidates can better determine whether or not your company values match their personal values. For instance, if your EVP accurately represents your DEI strengths and weaknesses, top candidates that fit available jobs will self-select into your pipeline. Candidates that don't fit will move on to another potential employer. 

Most candidates (especially target candidates) will have a hard time resonating with an inauthentic EVP. If your EVP claims a specific DEI strategy that doesn’t actually represent your company’s actions, candidates and employees will recognize and question the disconnect. "It is crucial that the value proposition represents the organization's reality and shared aspiration as an organization,” Roemer said. “If an organization represents itself as diverse and employees do not see diversity in leadership or applicants do not see diversity amongst interviewers, individuals may question the organization's motives, intention, and diversity commitment." 

In today's labor market, companies can no longer hide from an EVP that is dishonest. Candidates will research the following before applying to get the full picture of a company:

  • Visiting the company career site.
  • Checking job boards such as Indeed, Monster, and Glassdoor.
  • LinkedIn network
  • Company social media presence and content.
  • Utilize Google to learn more about the company

If your EVP isn't upfront or transparent about DEI at your company, it won’t take long for a candidate to discover and will likely cause them to steer clear of open job opportunities. 

Your DEI strategy should be an ever-present initiative. "Being authentic and transparent about your EVP means delivering an employee experience with integrity, and constantly taking the pulse of your team members to ensure you’re providing the best possible outcomes," Krier said. Authenticity will inspire your current employees to become advocates of your EVP that share a positive message about the company with potential new hires. 

How Can a Recruitment Partner Align Your DEI Strategy With Your EVP?

Recruitment providers are strategic partners who can work hand in hand with clients to align their DEI strategy with their EVP. The first step in this alignment is to complete an honest assessment of your DEI efforts. "Understanding the 'as-is' state of the organization is the starting point. This means understanding your strengths, opportunities, gaps, and conflicts," Roemer says.

You can utilize surveys, focus groups, or other data collection and analysis methods to complete the assessment. As early as 2020, recruitment leaders were recommending that companies get an honest image of where they stand on the DEI spectrum. “Doing an assessment is important. You need everyone's input,” shared Joe Marino, Executive Vice President at Hueman. “If one group of people doesn't respond, you could just let that be, or you could take the approach of saying, ‘Why didn't they respond? Are they afraid to respond, and they failed to give feedback? Have they given it before, and there's no action?’ So you have to dig into that." 

A recruitment provider can assist HR and TA leaders in digging deeper into the weaknesses of their DEI strategy. From this deep dive, organizations gain the needed information to improve their DEI initiatives.

After receiving all the relevant information, a recruitment provider can help you flesh out what Roemer calls the "to-be state as an organization." Although the RPO firm is your partner, this partnership, Roemer says, "Should be driven by leadership and clearly describe where you want to be as a company." Companies should align all of their DEI efforts with this to-be vision. A recruitment firm can help you create an EVP that will highlight where you are, what you're doing about it, and your concept of organizational being.

Suggest related content: Are you in the know with diversity recruitment?

The Impact of an Authentic EVP

With an authentic EVP that infuses your DEI strategy, working with a recruitment partner  to execute the deployment of it will gain you the following benefits: 

  • Expand your pool of talent: Use the best diversity job boards, social media groups, forums, publications, and events to advertise and announce your company’s openings and promote your firm's message. As a result, attract a larger population of diverse candidates you need.
  • Better Retention Rates: Good employee morale increases retention rates. When your EVP is authentic and matches your culture, employees are excited to work for you. When employees know they can express their authentic selves and see that the company will use their input to grow the company, they will be more productive. These employees will more likely become employee advocates who write positive reviews on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed. The overall impact will be having a steady supply of top candidates in your pipeline to choose from when a valued employee leaves on good terms. 

Best Practices of Launching an Authentic EVP that Highlights Your DEI Efforts

HR and TA leaders can consult a recruitment marketing partner about the best practices of launching a genuine EVP that infuses their DEI efforts. The foundational best practice is to challenge yourself. 

Recruitment marketing experts Tim Hawk of NAS Recruitment Innovation, Stephanie Roemer of Roemer Consulting Group, and Michelle Krier of ClearEdge Marketing offered the following advice.

  • Mix a little aspiration with authenticity. Authenticity is vital, and mixing some aspirations reinforces the genuineness of your EVP. For example, say your organization is working on providing an inclusive workplace, and you've reached some milestones, but you haven't reached your goal. Your EVP message could say, "We're a company that is aspiring to create an inclusive workplace, and so, we've recently introduced new policies to eliminate unconscious bias." This message helps to focus your team while gaining the benefits of an authentic EVP.
  • Engage employees in recognizing the company’s  EVP that matters most to them and create an employee spotlight that highlights and reinforces the value.
  • Use leaders and members of Employee Resource Groups(ERG)/Business Relations Groups(BRG) to support and champion the EVP launch. Employing ERG/BRG leaders and members this way benefits  the organization in two ways:
  • They are authentically promoting a diverse workforce. 
  • They recognize the ERG leaders who contribute to the value proposition by volunteering their own time to support and enhance its culture.
  • Consistent messaging of the EVP across all of your audiences and channels is crucial for its success.
  • Work with your client to ensure the company presents its EVP in the same way on social media posts and company emails, for example, and think through the nuances in communications. 
  • Encourage clients to leverage and engage with their current team members to share the DEI efforts that are a part of the EVP. Employee voices are one of the strongest assets in launching a successful EVP.

In Conclusion

To create an authentic EVP that infuses all the elements of your DEI strategy takes an enormous amount of reflection. This kind of soul searching must include everyone in the organization. Organizations and employees mustn't be afraid to honestly assess their DEI achievements and failings. An RPO provider can help your organization on this journey and come out on the other side with dedicated employees and a stronger company. 

To learn more about how RPO providers can help you create an authentic EVP, please visit our RPO Academy for free RPO resources.

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