Inclusive Hiring in 2022: What’s Changing and What’s Next?

March 8, 2022
5 min

The past few years haven’t been easy for human resources and people teams. An ongoing pandemic, racial injustices, and disturbing global events continue to rock our personal and professional lives, upending the way we conduct business and forcing us all to refocus our priorities.

Now, amid the Great Resignation and increasing competition for top talent, organizations’ cultures and hiring practices are under scrutiny. And much of the work of identifying and eliminating prejudice, improving culture, and creating a more inclusive environment has fallen on HR and talent teams’ capable-yet-overwhelmed shoulders.

As we head into Q2 of 2022, many professionals wonder what macro trends will wield the most power over hiring practices in the months ahead. To get more insight into how we can weather the storm and thrive amid uncertainty, Mathison co-founder Arthur Woods sat down with the VP of People Operations at Protenus, Joi Smith, and our own Senior Customer Impact Manager, Rob Woods.

Here are a few highlights from this lively and information-packed panel, The Inclusive Hiring Landscape for 2022:

Will the Great Resignation Continue? 

One of the most challenging issues plaguing hiring teams across the country is the Great Resignation. Since April of 2021, employees have been quitting their jobs in record numbers, often seeking higher pay and a better work-life balance. After nearly a year, many leaders speculate whether this mass exodus will continue.

“Right now, I see no indications of this slowing down,” Joi says. “I don’t know how long this is sustainable, but I haven’t seen any evidence of this slowing.”

Many people who left previous roles are now settling into new jobs where, hopefully, they’ll feel fulfilled. But a significant number of people are retiring, and many young professionals are entering the workforce with a portfolio mindset. Younger pros are more comfortable job-hopping than older generations and more likely to have multiple income streams. In fact, half of millennials and 46% of gen z have a side hustle, according to a survey by Lending Tree, which can offer a safety net between jobs.

For those in charge of sourcing and hiring talent, the Great Resignation offers a wealth of lessons.

“One thing I’m noticing and hoping to see more of is organizations realizing diversity goes beyond gender and race,” Joi says. “Now we have people who are speaking freely about mental health and making choices for their lives and moving to different locations, so there’s a geographic difference or a cultural difference. I’m hoping organizations look at these trends and welcome people of all different backgrounds to their organization.”

Rob agrees and says now is the time to invest in existing employees. “More employers are going to have to uplevel the current employees,” he says. “There’s going to be a major push for skill acquisition.”

As we move forward, employers may also want to get comfortable with lower average retention numbers and recognize this isn’t always a reflection on the organization (although it’s still a good idea to identify potential root causes). In this era, job switching is quickly becoming a norm.

How Can Organizations Boost Inclusive Hiring?

In recent years, organizations of all sizes and industries have begun focusing on inclusive hiring — or at least taking the first step by publishing diversity statements. But many employers still haven’t determined the right process or decided on metrics to measure their performance in increasing diversity.

In fact, according to our data, 76% of employers aren't even setting diversity goals. And job seekers are paying attention.

“Candidates expect you to put the rubber to the road,” Joi says. “They’re looking through LinkedIn to see how many people of color or women you have in your organization. They’re happy that organizations made it very public where they stood [on diversity], but now they’re looking for evidence of that.”

In some cases, companies don’t want to publish their efforts until they’ve made considerable progress toward more inclusive hiring. But this is one of those instances when it’s better to focus on progress over perfection. Your team and candidates will respect your transparency.

“If you’re in the 24%, keep going, and be public about it. And if you’re in the 76%, you need to do it,” Joi says. “It’s ok to be at the beginning of your journey, but just get on the journey.”

But what exactly does being public about diversity in hiring look like?

As Rob points out, companies like Accenture and IBM have dedicated pages on their websites that outline their diversity efforts. “That makes a person from an underrepresented community feel like there's a space for them within that organization,” he says.

Of course, it’s crucial you ensure you’re being authentic, so your diversity efforts don’t come across as contrived.

“It’s not enough to say ‘these are our diversity numbers.’ Talk about the experience of underrepresented people in the community,” Joi says. “A candidate wants to know what their experience will be like.”

How Can Organizations Continue to Walk the Walk After Making a Hire?

Inclusive hiring is the first phase of creating a more diverse workforce. The next stage is retaining your diverse talent, which begins with the onboarding process.

Here are a few suggestions Joi and Rob shared for genuinely inclusive onboarding experiences:

  • Start the process before a new hire’s first day. Consider creating a welcoming video from the team to help new employees feel accepted and familiar with coworkers, so they start their new job comfortable and excited.

  • Find a commonality to foster a sense of belonging. For example, you might discover that a new hire is from the same city as another member of your team. You might pair them up on the new hire’s first day since they already have a shared experience.

  • Remember, inclusivity is a team sport. The onus shouldn’t be on the Chief of People or the HR team alone because, although they own the process, they can’t control the outcome. The experience a new hire has with their team and manager will have a much more significant impact on their level of engagement and overall job satisfaction.

Of course, successful inclusive hiring and onboarding start with identifying the obstacles holding you back from diversity in the first place. And, in many cases, this is the hardest part.

“It brings up a lot of uncomfortable stuff. But it's in that uncomfortable situation that you see the biggest growth,” Joi says. “Keep working at it until it is the DNA of your organization.”

To learn more, including how to avoid “ghosting” applicants and ensuring your diversity efforts are authentic, check out the full webinar here.

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