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How Best To Build A Diverse Talent Pipeline

Verity Hesketh
Verity Hesketh June 30, 2021
Diverse Talent Pipeline

An inclusive culture that is cultivated from the top is not only an ethical move – it's also a smart business one too, since diversity within the workplace is shown to have a direct correlation with business success.

Diversity can cover all kinds of bases, from gender, ethnic and cultural diversity, to external or personal diversities such as appearance, morals and political views.

From the perspective of generating fresh ideas in a space that is filled with a variety of voices from a range of backgrounds, it makes sense that a diverse team can move a business forward.

From a moral standpoint, a diverse business will have a positive global impact, as well as a boost to its own reputation. As we work together as a society to bridge gaps between minority groups and the quality of work available, it is important that recruitment does everything within its power to build a fair and inclusive workplace.

What Is A Talent Pipeline?

Diverse Talent Pipeline

A talent pipeline refers to a pool of potential candidates who are qualified and ready to fill a position. This means that when a role becomes available, members of this pool can be contacted and put forward for recruiting. This puts recruitment professionals in a position of thinking ahead about who would be right for the company in the future, whilst simultaneously networking with ready professionals.

Networking with professionals in this way requires recruitment professionals to nurture fruitful business relationships, making good and consistent communication a key asset. With a secure pipeline in place, hiring costs and time should be dramatically reduced.

How Do I Build A Talent Pipeline?

To develop a talent pipeline that matches your company's needs, you first need to create a strategy that is in line with the organisation's business goals and company culture. What you are doing is making a collection of the best talent you can, while keeping an eye on the future.

Think of it as having a ready-stocked fridge, ready for that recipe you're planning on. Every single potential candidate in your talent pool is another top-quality ingredient to be added to the recipe of your business team, cooked up in your HR kitchen. Cooked correctly, your results for the business will be fantastic.

It's wise to keep your imagination ticking over when creating your hiring strategy; prepare for all potential outcomes that may impact your planning. This kind of mindset will pay dividends for the future when you are as prepared as possible.

Looking after candidates in your talent pipeline is just as important as sourcing them in the first place. Some of your potentials may not be actively searching for a new role, so tactfully engaging these candidates will help them to keep you in mind.

What Is Diversity?

Diverse Talent Pipeline

Firstly, it is prudent to remember that diversity is complex and there are many different types and subsets. It is easiest to separate diversity into four categories: internal, external, organisational and world-view.

  • Internal: Internal diversity is diversity that is beyond the control of the individual. This includes race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, assigned sex, gender identity, national origin, physical ability and mental ability.

  • External: These are factors relating to an individual that can be influenced by outside factors, such as other people and living and working environments. These can include education, location, relationship status, religious beliefs, familial status, appearance, and socioeconomic status.

  • Organisational: This kind of diversity relates to the diversity that is given as a result of the workplace and business. For example, a person's place of work, management status, pay type and job function will all play a role in giving another dimension of diversity.

  • Worldview: This part of diversity is all about our perception of the world. This can shift and change with time and can include our political beliefs, morals, and philosophy.

How Do You Ensure That Your Talent Pipeline Is Diverse?

Keeping in mind all different types of diversity is key to creating a truly inclusive talent pipeline. Something as simple as the wording of the job description, or the imagery used next to it, will immediately begin to create an impression of your company and the person you are aiming to hire.

Give yourself time to think outside the box and be creative; step back and consider previous hiring techniques and strategies that you have used and how they can be improved to attract a more diverse pool of candidates.

Remember that you are not hiring simply for diversity's sake, you are hiring with the aim to reduce hiring bias, which will in turn lead to a more diverse team.

6 Easy Steps To Build Diverse Talent Pipelines

Diverse Talent Pipeline

1. Use Tools That Support Equitable Recruitment

Tools that support equitable recruitment mean that you now need to broaden your range of places you usually use for hiring. If there are a select few job sites that you use for advertising, you may only be getting your job roles seen by a particular type of professional who predominantly uses these sites.

There's a vast range of job-board sites out there that can be used to help create a more diverse team, including those that target a specific sub-section of society, for example for ex-veterans, or jobseekers with disabilities.

If you aren't already using social media for recruitment purposes, you can target different audiences specifically, depending on who you want to see your posts.

There are also tools that you can use for screening candidate abilities using intelligent software. Often recruiters are overstretched, and will make conscious and unconscious shortcuts based on their own personal biases.

Using screening techniques should, in theory, reduce bias at the screening stage of the recruitment process. However, screening processes are by no means perfect and do require careful consideration.

2. Upskill Your Teams Around Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias, also known as implicit bias, are biases that function below the level of consciousness. They are essentially learned thought patterns that become automatic, running to us making decisions that we believe are rational and fair, but may in reality be discriminatory and prejudiced.

Small biases add up, and can multiply to the result of a network of biases that present a real disadvantage in the workplace; leading to inaccurate decision-making and micro-aggressions and intolerance.

Educating your team on unconscious bias will not only help to diversify the team, generating more open-minded discussion and creative ideas, but will be a positive moral decision for the company itself.

A team that has been properly trained on unconscious bias is a team that is able to function in a much more considerate, intentional way. In building a diverse team, you are already challenging unconscious biases that your team may hold; you have made a good start, but you need to build on your foundations.

3. Blind hiring

Blind hiring is becoming more common in organisations across the world, being taken up by huge organisations such as Google, HSBC and the BBC.

In anonymising the hiring process, you are automatically reducing the opportunity for unconscious bias to creep into your decision-making. There are of course limitations to blind hiring, and even with names and addresses removed from resumes, identity can still indirectly present itself.

4. Get Involved With Minority Institutions

Another option for recruiting more diverse candidates is to partner with MSIs (Minority Serving Institutions), which are defined as institutions of higher education that solely serve minoritized populations.

This will naturally stand to expand your talent pipeline, positioning your business organisation as an employer with diversity and inclusivity at its forefront. Like the friends we choose to socialise with, the associations that a company chooses to partner with give candidates an immediate first impression of the culture of the business.

5. Look At The Data

It is wise when putting together a diversity hiring initiative to compile the relevant data to understand the current status of your company in terms of its diversity. By capturing employee demographics in data form, you will have a much clearer idea of any areas for concern and what trends are present.

Data can be collected using surveys and personality testing, as well as data you may already have at hand. When collecting data make sure to stick to company policy and always check the legalities surrounding employees submitting data.

Additional information from using anonymous employee surveys may also uncover other areas for concern or certain needs that need to be met by the company. Consider conducting focus groups where employees can be encouraged to openly discuss their needs and concerns.

6. Build An Inclusive Company Culture

Creating a diverse talent pipeline is one part of creating a company that is truly ethical, moral and diverse. To establish an inclusive company culture, it is important to remember that diversity needs to go hand-in-hand with inclusion.

Establishing diversity is your first step. Making sure all individuals feel included, and therefore have a sense of loyalty and belonging, is your next.

Lastly, remember that your dedication to building a diverse talent pipeline and therefore an inclusive company culture is not a one-off. To be a company that truly has a sense of inclusivity, diversity and ultimately community for its staff, real change has to be learned through habit, training, and openness.

Verity Hesketh
Verity Hesketh June 30, 2021

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