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Resources for Employers

How Inclusion Can Help You Attract and Retain Top Talent

There's a lot more to building an inclusive company than just hiring more people from diverse backgrounds. So, how can you build an inclusive culture that will help you attract and retain a diverse group of employees?


As part of a series on Diversity and Inclusion, we spoke with PowerToFly's Strategic Global Enterprise D&I executive, Dionna Smith-Keels, about the most effective ways to recruit and retain underrepresented talent. Learn about her four top tips below:

Write an Inclusive Job Description

One of the best ways to attract inclusive talent is by having a job description that has inclusivity baked into it. Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Be open to transferable skills. For example, a recruiter has plenty of transferable skills for a sales role, but if the job description says 5 years of sales experience is required, that former recruiter may not apply to the job. Not being too rigid here could help open up your candidate pool to more diverse applicants.
    • This is also true with technology. While some technical skills are not transferable, a candidate may have a software skillset with a program very similar to yours that is transferable.
  • Be clear on what you do need. If your job description includes "must be able to lift 25 lbs" even for a position that does not require a person to carry any weight, you may be unintentionally excluding great applicants who are disabled.
  • Be intentional in your inclusivity. Avoid using gendered pronouns for roles, and do include information about your D&I initiatives in your "about the company" section.
  • Use the tools available to you. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lays out guidelines of inclusive language that can be used in your job descriptions.

Make the Interview Process Inclusive

Not only do we get to know the candidate better when we do an interview, but the candidate also gets to get a glimpse of the company and its employees during an interview. Here are some suggestions to make the interview process more inclusive:

  • Have a diverse panel interviewing the candidates, even if they are pulled in from other departments. Having a diverse panel can make the candidate feel more comfortable; alternatively, a lack of diversity can be seen as a red flag. It also gives better insight into the candidate when you get feedback from people with different backgrounds.
  • Do interview training. Trained interviewers can make more thoughtful decisions both during the interview and when choosing whether or not to move forward with a candidate.

Avoid Making New Hires Feel Like the "Diversity Hire"

There is little as uncomfortable as feeling like you were hired just to hit a quota. Unfortunately, we have all heard stories of whispers in a company that a person got hired (especially when for a leadership position) just because they were a woman, a person of color, etc. Here's a few suggestions Dionna had to remedy this situation:

  • When any new hire comes on board, share with the team about the new team member's background and the great things they have to offer your organization. Also, let them speak at town halls so that employees can get to know them better.
  • Encourage mentorship. Strong leaders from all backgrounds can be instrumental in helping marginalized people feel set up for success. It makes people feel seen and can give opportunities to those who may not have known certain doors were open to them.

Create a More Inclusive Workspace

When a company is lacking in diversity and a person from an underrepresented background joins the team, the difference is apparent to the new employee and everyone else. It can feel a little awkward at first when a woman joins an all-male team, for example. Dionna gives this tip with making your workspace feel more inclusive.

  • Don't avoid the elephant in the room. If your office is new to inclusivity, the changes will seem obvious and sometimes this means having uncomfortable conversations.

Finding the right talent is one of the most important initiatives any company can take. Ensuring that diverse voices are being heard is what helps companies stand apart from their competition and thrive. Working collaboratively with those differences that help nurture success. Ask hard questions, be intentional, and provide training to help foster the inclusivity that you are searching for both when recruiting diverse talent and keeping them around for the long hall.

To hear more of Dionna's chat and to learn even more about recruiting and retaining underrepresented talent, click here.

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