Group of diverse office workers holding up speech bubbles

The Importance of DEI Surveys in Recruitment

Tom Stroud By Tom Stroud on 19.02.2021
Diversity & Inclusion | 3 Min Read

Surveys are customarily the first step a company will take towards appreciating how diverse and inclusive their business is. Recruitment is also one of the first and easiest ways to address any imbalances that such a survey may uncover. But although recruitment is frequently implemented as a 'quick-fix for diversity, how often is the process itself scrutinised? Hiring is typically the first touchpoint for candidates with the company, so getting it right by measuring and monitoring the process is a vital step many are missing. But why should your business include recruitment within its employee surveys, and how best should it be done?

An essential element of any robust diversity, equality and inclusion strategy is routinely carrying out staff surveys. More often than not, the first will be to assess current levels of DEI within the organisation. The data collected can then be used as both a measure and a tool to generate alternative ways to improve at all stages of the employees' journey. By also including surveys on your recruitment process, many of the following subsequent issues may be avoided.

A widespread complaint made by HR or TA teams is the lack of diversity in the talent pool to hire from. This is rarely accurate and is more likely to represent a lack of diversity in the sources rather than candidates. By sourcing applicants from a range of diverse streams, specific job boards and diversity-focused resources to reach certain demographics, you will ensure that your talent pool is as diverse as it can be. Once this is established, discover via surveys which candidate sources provided the most diverse range of applicants to improve talent diversification significantly.

The following stage of a potential employees journey with your business is the interview itself. The diversity of the interview panel is an often-overlooked area of the recruitment process. According to a recent article on LinkedIn , when Intel started requiring diverse interview panels, within two years, the diversity of its new hires jumped over 40%.

This is a perfect example of how a diverse interview panel demonstrates that the business is open to various views and opinions, and a potent message to candidates that it values diversity. It's also a great way to reduce any unconscious bias interviewers may have throughout the process. Subsequent surveys should include questions inviting new employees to share their thoughts on the diversity of people they first met at the organisation. This will provide robust data on first impressions and the effectiveness of the interviewing team.

Another significant factor in utilising DEI surveys during the recruitment stage is the collection of post-application demographic data. It's a vital measure of the effectiveness of your DEI strategy, but also critical that it's kept separate from the process itself to avoid creating any perceived or actual bias. Ensure that different reporting points are used to record demographics step by step – who applies, who passes the screening process, who goes on to interview, etc. This will provide statistics on both the inclusivity of sourcing and any negative impact on the procedure.

Joiner surveys provide an excellent source of information about new employees experience of diversity, equity and inclusivity at your organisation. By asking employees to complete a survey after six months in-roles, you can get a good understanding of how inclusive new hires feel and how effective your overall DEI strategy is for them and others. Likewise, exit interview surveys can provide valuable insights into staff perceptions of DEI policies and real-life experiences of those applied to real scenarios.

Further benefits of recruitment surveying can also be discovering the strength of your companies employer branding. By comparing your employer brand across different minority clusters, you can spot potential hiring roadblocks and subsequently reduce staff turnover, decrease the cost and time to hire and increase the number of qualified applicants.

Many large businesses are aware their existing recruitment strategies may be counterproductive at sourcing diverse candidates, but many continue to use recruitment channels that deliver similar candidates. If so, consider whether non-graduates or job seekers with unique skills can be found through your established channels. Your business may benefit from new and practical technology. Once those have been identified, focus on incorporating the most relevant into your recruitment processes, couple that with ongoing diversity assessments throughout the hiring process via surveys, and you will be appropriately placed to succeed.

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