Recruiting Enablement Blog



Why Diversity & Inclusion Matter in Hiring

Josie Sutcliffe October 2, 2020

While it has been proven time and time again that diverse and inclusive teams are more effective than teams who have the same experiences and perspectives (they generate more revenue, make better and faster decisions, drive more innovation), many employers have still made little progress with D&I. And according to Gartner, less than 40% of recruiters say their function has implemented a D&I strategy.

We are in an era of social change, where important movements like Black Lives Matter and MeToo have drawn increasing attention to companies where Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is a statement, but not a strategy, demanding systemic change.

At the same time, the Covid19 pandemic has impacted our economies, demanding a level of business agility and sustainability unimagined just a short time ago -- and D&I is one of the keys to making it through: 

Research has found that companies that remained diverse and inclusive during the Great Recession (in terms of diverse workers’ experience and representation in different ranks) did better financially during and after it, with as much as a 4x better stock return after the Great Recession than the S&P 500 at that time.

D&I is a company’s mission, strategies, and practices to support a diverse workplace and leverage the effects of inclusion to achieve a competitive business advantage. You can think of Diversity as the “who,” and Inclusion as the “how.” 

  • Diversity is about who you are sourcing, selecting, and hiring; who you are engaging, retaining, developing, and promoting. Diversity is any dimension that can be used to differentiate groups and people from one other, such as age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education, national origin, first language, and so on. 
  • Inclusion is about how you are culturally and socially accepting and welcoming everyone, how you are creating a sense of belonging for all, and how you are ensuring everyone feels valued.

Achieving both Diversity and Inclusion is key to driving the best performance. So, how do you make progress with both in recruiting?

D&I is not just a set of tactics. It’s a strategy that, when successfully implemented, can create significant business impact. 

Diverse and inclusive workforces are:

  • More profitable: McKinsey studies found that the profitability difference between the fourth and first quartile of performers due to executive-level diversity was +21% for gender diversity, and +33% for ethnic diversity.
  • More likely to perform better: Research by CEB found that gender diverse and inclusive teams outperformed gender-homogenous, less inclusive teams by 50%.
  • More innovative: Research published in Harvard Business Review found that more diverse companies deliver 19% higher average innovation revenue.

As the adage goes, “if you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Critical to success with D&I is understanding your baseline (where you are today) and the levers you can pull to achieve your goals. For instance, answering the following important questions:

  • What is the diversity in our recruiting funnel?
  • How do diverse candidates move through the funnel?
  • Do diverse candidates withdraw from the process at higher rates? At what stages?
  • Are diverse candidates rejected at higher rates? At what stages?
  • How does the diversity in hiring funnels vary by recruiter, hiring manager, role, location, and so on?
  • What are our diversity hiring results?
  • What are our diversity trends over time? 

You can then use the insights gained from answering these questions to inform your D&I strategy and tactics, as well as to gain buy in for your programs and initiatives. Learn more in the infographic linked to the image below.

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