Tips on attracting a diverse talent pool from the Inclusion 360 guidebook

So you want to attract diverse talent? Before you start - Your goals and your culture


If you’re reading this, you either want to hire a greater diversity of people but don’t know how or you have been trying and something isn’t working.

You’re not alone.

Over 50% of recruiters and hiring managers listed diversity as their top priority this year, according to LinkedIn.

Whether it is to improve your brand or business performance or to better reflect your customers and clients, it’s clear that diversity is no longer just a tick-box. Which is why this year we’ve stopped focusing on the‘why’ to uncover the ‘how’.

Over the past 12 months, we've run a series of workshops across the country with hundreds of employers, of all shapes and sizes, on how to create an inclusive talent attraction strategy that will engage a wider talent pool.

From those conversations we published a guidebook on inclusive attraction, sharing ideas and starting a conversation about ripping up the rule book of recruitment.


If you keep doing the same thing over and over again, you can expect to get the same results. 

This logic has served many very well – there are more men named John on corporate boards than there are women – but when the time comes for change many will look for shortcuts and quick fixes rather than a holistic approach. And quite often, the burden to achieve diversity targets falls on recruitment teams to fulfill.

What most discover is that the challenge isn’t in finding the talent but with the culture and behaviours of the organisation. What you say to attract someone to work for you should match what they experience when they walk through the door.

If your new hires don’t feel supported or included, they won’t preform to their best and might consider leaving. Then all that time, money and effort spent on hiring and training will have been in vain.

This is a marathon, not a sprint. Recruitment should form part of a much longer term culture change programme. It is no use doing a big recruitment drive unless you have a realistic picture of your culture, why people choose to work for you and why they stay or leave. Then you must consider who you want to attract, why and what will make them want to join and stay.

So the first step is to ask yourself what are your Goals & Objectives:

Why is diversity important to you?

Who is driving this agenda?

What needs are you trying to address?

How do these align with business objectives?

What are your time scales?

Plans work better in collaboration. Hiring for difference is more complex and will take a shift in mindsets and practices. That is because we’ve been trained to spot talent against a traditional concept of success – the university they attended, their years of experience or the brands they worked for previously – and AI isn’t always the answer as Amazon embarrassingly found.  

Recruitment in isolation won’t solve the diversity challenges and the key is communication between hiring managers, HR partners,recruiters and top level support. Being clear on your motivations for hiring and who you are trying to attract will ensure everyone is on the same page and understands the business imperative. It’s not fair to tack on the responsibility for diverse hiring without also equipping individuals with the right support, training and resources.

In order to shift these behaviours look at your level of Sponsorship & Support:

Have you engaged key stakeholders?

How much sponsorship do you have?

Who is responsible and accountable for diversity in your organisation?

Are key decision-makers aligned?

What tools and resources do you have to achieve this?

Know yourself inside and out. Do you know the truths about your employer brand? What do people really think about the company and its culture? What do they say when you’re not in the room? Do you really live and breathe your values and are they still relevant for today’s job market?

Most companies use an employee engagement survey to test how people feel. The problem with these is that people don’t always trust the anonymity of results and therefore, edit themselves or don’t respond at all.Also, they don’t always get to the granular level of everyday lived experiences.

A much better way, albeit more time commitment, is to run focus groups or look at exit data to understand views from individuals at all levels within the organisation. These insights are crucial for understanding what’s valued and the areas for improvement. These can be used to paint a more accurate picture of your organisation and your aspirations for the future.

Listen and learn through feedback, Review & gain Insights about what makes you attractive:

How well do you know your culture and environment?

What needs to change in behaviours or environment to attain your goals?

Where can you influence in the short and medium term?

What have you done to review your external reputation and image?

What is the diversity make-up of your organisation?

What does the data tell you about your current attraction methods?

Planning is always the hard part, but once in place it creates a benchmark to test the success of new strategies. In the next post we’ll look at reviewing the candidate journey, where is talent coming from and what are the opportunities to create new avenues.

Download a copy of the guidebook here.

Amanda Faull, Head of Inclusion 360 at Harvey Nash

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