Reaffirming diversity and inclusion hiring efforts post-Covid

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When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, it forced many of us to reassess our priorities and make changes. This significant reassessment of the workforce, in general, has led to a transformation of work, but it has also left women – and especially women of color – behind.

When the pandemic and its growing variants finally become a fundamental concern for businesses and parents struggling to balance all of life’s obligations, reaffirming diversity and inclusion in hiring efforts will be more important than ever. Diversity at work has the power to improve a company’s capacity for innovation as well as its reputation. These are benefits that most businesses could use in the post-COVID economy.

But for companies looking to revitalize their diversity and inclusion hiring practices, it’s important first to understand the impact COVID has had on the workforce. From there, you can reaffirm your inclusion efforts to build a diverse and empowered team.

The impact of COVID-19 on women and minority workers

First, it is important to address the issues that existed long before the pandemic regarding workplace representation. While some industries have been more successful than others in recruiting diverse teams, others have faltered considerably. In computer engineering, for example, only 30% of workers were either women or ethnic minorities. These corporate failures to promote fairness generally meant that women and people of color were getting the small ends of the stick. COVID-19 has only exacerbated the problem.

According to the Center for American Progress, women suffered a net loss of 5.4 million jobs throughout the pandemic recession. This is almost a million more jobs lost than those occupied by men.

And, as is too often the case, minority women have experienced even worse. Figures for December 2020, for example, showed that all of the job losses for that month were going to black, Asian and Hispanic women. These losses have been accompanied by increased pressure on women around the world to take on increased roles as caregivers at the expense of their position in the workforce.

But the post-pandemic economy owes it to women and minorities to make the necessary adjustments to re-recruit them into their dream jobs. After all, the ideas and innovative potential of a diverse team are worth it, and representation is key. As recruiters prepare to step up their efforts to hire women and minorities, you need to consider all the needs of the post-COVID workforce.

This means reaffirming a commitment to diversity and inclusion and structuring a work environment complete with benefits that will attract new talent.

Reaffirming Diversity and Inclusion Efforts in a Post-COVID World

Fortunately, there are a few simple strategies that you can improve your recruiting efforts to welcome all kinds of recruits. Here, we’ll explore some of these strategies and how they can be used to create a more inclusive post-COVID world.

For rationalization diversity recruitment strategy for the modern era, consider:

1. Learn

Building an inclusive workforce begins with education. The right workplace diversity training program may be enough to revitalize the way any business views inclusion and culture, making it easier to create an overall welcoming environment that will attract diverse talent.

To be successful, your diversity training program must:

  • Raise awareness of the issues
  • Make inclusiveness a value of your corporate culture
  • Build good understanding between employees.

With a functional training program, the hiring and recruiting processes can work much more efficiently and inclusively than what could come from blind approaches. But to be successful, you need to focus on inclusiveness from the start.

2. Focus on inclusiveness, not just diversity

Reaffirming your inclusion efforts will not be effective without authenticity. This means creating a culture of empathy and openness across the company rather than embracing diversity as another metric. Inclusiveness requires tolerance and welcoming of individuals who are not based on race, gender, sexual orientation or any other marker of identity. Such an approach will be very useful in structuring the type of workforce that people want to return to.

3. Evaluate your message

The way you word and structure your job postings can make a big difference in the pool of candidates you need to tap into. For example, certain terms often used in job postings can directly discourage applicants from applying for the job.

Studies have shown that women tend to apply only to jobs where they were 100% qualified, while men will apply if they only have 60% of the qualifications. Since this is the case, gendered language that has implicit biases can undermine the inclusiveness of your recruiting efforts. Words like “strong” and “competitive”, for example, may prevent some women from applying.

Reevaluate your job descriptions to reduce sexist language and implicit biases.

4. Engage with the community

One of the best ways to create an inclusive and diverse workforce is to reach out and engage with your community as a whole. It could mean a locality or even an online collection of people interested in your industry. Community engagement is essential because it allows recruiters to establish a real presence and discover talent where it exists rather than seeing it behind a resume.

Here are some ideas for effective community engagement and inclusion:

  • Volunteering
  • Local sports and event sponsorship
  • Online contest

These and many more are effective ways to show that your business is an inclusive and caring member of its community. In the post-pandemic environment, you can still participate in these events with a safe social distance to enhance the feeling of comfort and inclusion for all who wish to participate.

5. Explore new avenues for improvement

Finally, your diversity and inclusion efforts should include a litany of new outreach practices that open up your business to new talent pools. In the world of remote working, this can be easier than ever, as geography is no longer as big a barrier as it used to be. Now you can explore a world of talent through digital events, Zoom meetings, and recruiting platforms.

Find new ways to attract talent and be sure to invite feedback from every potential candidate. Sometimes it can be almost impossible to know where we fail to be inclusive due to limited life experiences. Conversations with people from all walks of life can help us break out of these bubbles.

Why diversity and inclusion are more important than ever

When the pandemic struck, 27% of inclusion and diversity leaders suspended their programs to address other concerns. However, the impacts of the pandemic have created a less diverse workforce. To reaffirm recruitment efforts for the post-pandemic world, recruiters will need to understand the issues and get women and minorities back to work in environments that meet their needs.

From education to engagement, a more inclusive workforce awaits us.

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