How to Build a Diverse Talent Pipeline? Here's Everything You Need to Know

Ilona Tarnavsky

Ilona Tarnavsky

8 min read

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are top priorities for many executives and talent leaders today. 76% of employees and job seekers said diversity was important when considering job offers. While we're making progress, much work still needs to be done.

People and women of color are still under-represented in specific job categories, leadership positions, and sometimes in entire industries. The wage disparity still persists, and organizations are biased toward certain minorities.

Employers must take responsibility and play their part in correcting these wrongs. We can begin by building a more diverse talent pipeline to strengthen our workforce and offer more opportunities for people from underrepresented groups.

We've designed this guide to help you understand what a diverse talent pipeline is and how to create one for your organization.

What is a Talent Pipeline?

A talent pipeline is a pool of potential candidates who are skilled, qualified, and ready to take on a position. The candidates in this pool can be contacted and referred for hiring whenever a role is available to be filled in.

Doing this helps recruiters consider a suitable candidate for the organization in the future and, at the same time, network with ready professionals.

Hiring managers must effectively network with professionals by regularly keeping in touch with them. A solid diversity pipeline can dramatically reduce recruiting costs and time.

What is Diversity within the workplace?

Diversity in a workplace involves gender, race, age, ethnic groups, religion, sexual orientation, citizenship status, mental and physical conditions, military service, and other differences between people.

When considering your diversity goals, you must define your workforce's Diversity, equity, and inclusion gaps. Measuring your organization's unique demographics is an objective way of tracking your DEI growth and success.

Diversity is complex and has various types and subsets. It is easy to understand when you separate diversity into four categories:

Internal Diversity: It is the diversity that's beyond any individual's control. It encompasses race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, and mental and physical abilities.

External Diversity: These are factors related to an individual's external aspects, such as education, location, familial status, relationship status, appearance, religious beliefs, and socioeconomic status.

Organizational Diversity: This relates to the diversity that is seen as a result of the individual's workplace and business. For example, an individual's place of work, pay type, job function, and management status all play a role that provides another dimension of diversity.

Worldview Diversity: This part of Diversity is about our world perception. This can shift and change with time, including our political beliefs, morals, and philosophy.

Diversity in the workplace leads to numerous advantages from both internal and external perspectives. However, implementing diversity initiatives in the company comes with its unique challenges. And to achieve that, you need to set a strategy before creating a diversity pipeline, which will be covered in the next section.

17 Effective Methods for Building a Diverse Talent Pipeline

To build a talent pipeline, you must create a strategy that supports your organization's business goals and culture.

Nurturing the candidates in your talent pipeline is equally essential as sourcing them in the first place. Some candidates may not even be looking actively for a new role, so engaging them tactfully will help them keep you in mind. Here are nine ways you can build a solid diversity pipeline:

Look At The Data

Put together relevant data to understand your company's current status in terms of its Diversity. By capturing employee demographics in data form, you will have a clearer idea of any areas for concern and current trends.

Data can be collected using surveys and data you may already have. When collecting data, stick to company policy and check the legalities surrounding employees submitting data.

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

Craft an inclusive job listing

The primary and vital step that every employer should take is to write an inclusive job listing. The language used will either encourage or turn off diverse applicants. Hence, writing a job description without bias in gender, age, race, or other ethnic-coded words is the key. Mentioning the initiatives that highlight diversity, equity, and inclusion of the company, will help widen your diverse talent pipeline.

Leverage different channels to post job ads.

There are multiple platforms available to post your job ads. However, posting a job only on a particular forum, say, LinkedIn, will prevent sourcing diverse talent from the immense talent market. Hence, it is better to leverage various available platforms to post jobs that help reach underrepresented groups and minorities. Here are a few examples of job platforms you can leverage to reach underrepresented minority groups:

  1. PowerToFly is Ideal for hiring candidates from a wide range of backgrounds, including women, trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming individuals looking for remote positions.
  2. Pink Jobs to find a wide range of highly-skilled candidates from the LGBT+ community
  3. Diversity.com for finding and hiring Black and underrepresented talent at all skill levels
  4. iHispano to find ambitious candidates from the Latinx community
  5. Après is known for finding talented moms looking to re-enter the workforce

Search internally to drive Diversity hiring initiatives.

Your organization's ERGs (employee resource groups) can be incredible resources and help build a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Take their assistance and feedback to attract a more diverse talent pipeline.

Encourage diverse candidate referral programs.

Encouraging referral programs from your existing diverse team can be a fruitful way to build a diverse candidate pipeline. It enables you to leverage the network of your existing teammates.. This is also a quicker way to expand your candidate pool, especially when your existing employee recommends a talent from a minority group.

Build a robust onboarding process

A significant transition step between the candidate and the employer is employee onboarding. Create an inclusive onboarding experience even before the new employee's first day of work. Do this by asking for preferred names and pronouns, learning dietary preferences, and accommodating workspace set-up. Doing so will ensure that you don't lose your top-choice candidate.

Use an AI-driven recruitment management system.

Automation in the latest hiring software shortlists high-potential candidates based on their expertise and experience while being impartial. One approach to remove bias from your resume screening process is to leverage an Artificial intelligence-driven Applicant Tracking System. It aids in blind screening that overlooks the applicant's name, gender, and ethnicity to amplify the chances of making the pipeline more diversified.

Develop a structured interview process

A structured interview involves asking the same questions, including skill assessment, for all qualified candidates. It also comprises a scorecard for each candidate and is a systemized procedure for assessing the candidates based on predefined questions. This prevents bias while hiring and supports creating a more diverse work culture.

Structured interviews reassure an impartial and rigid hiring procedure to build a diverse team by eliminating unfair bias among all the job applicants.

Conduct blind resume reviews

Unconscious bias can happen even during the resume review process, as recruiters can pass judgments and create impressions based on a candidate's name, school, or address. By removing all non-essential information from resumes before screening when recruiting for diverse talent, you can get past this unconscious bias.

Set diverse interview panels

A set of diverse interviewers will be able to relate better to diverse candidates and are also suitable to recognize the unique traits that would or would not make a candidate a promising recruit. The candidate will feel at ease knowing they will not be the only employee from an underrepresented group.

Challenge potential biases

Gather interview feedback individually to avoid group thinking. Utilize the criteria that you've set for that particular role. Based on specific examples from the interview, decide whether the candidate fits those criteria. Challenge those viewpoints or decisions that may be rooted in unconscious bias to ensure an unbiased decision-making process.

Keep in touch with candidates that declined.

Make an appropriate follow-up with potential applicants who have declined your offer. If you discover that diverse talent is rejecting the offer more than non-diverse ones, investigate it by interacting clearly and receiving feedback from them. Doing so will enable you to identify drawbacks and encourage you to set better strategies to appeal to and retain diverse candidates.

Employer Brand to reflect diversity and inclusivity

According to a report by Glassdoor, 86% of employees and job seekers study the company ratings and reviews before applying for a job, and 50% of candidates acknowledge that they are not ready to work for a company with a negative reputation, even for higher pay. If prospective candidates find that your organization isn’t welcoming of URMs, it would dissuade them from applying to your roles, thus hampering your employer brand. You must make sure your employer brand reflects diversity and inclusivity.

Organize unconscious bias training

Unconscious biases are inherent. Hence, organize training programs to overcome this bias for interviewers, hiring managers, and people who want to attend and learn. You can begin by defining unconscious bias and talk about how it hampers productivity in the workplace. Your training programs can include exercises like “The Circle of Trust” which addresses implicit bias by having employees open up about their bias. You can also leverage online courses to teach your teams the negative impacts of unconscious bias.

Get Involved with Minority Institutions

An option for recruiting more diverse candidates in your organization is to partner with MSIs (Minority Serving Institutions), defined as higher education institutions that exclusively serve minority populations. This will further grow your talent pipeline, placing your organization as an employer with diversity and inclusivity at its forefront.

Build An Inclusive Company Culture

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

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

Measure the success of your Diversity recruiting programs

Maintain track of your progress toward your goals, and share the outcomes with your team. Letting everyone know how significant diversity, equity, and inclusion are for your company can encourage them to keep doing the work to build a better workplace.

Where to begin?

  • Check your talent sources to see what kind of candidates come through each source.
  • Assess the new talent sources to expand your reach.
  • Comprehend who is coming into the funnel and move the needle accordingly.
  • Organize an effective diversity survey to understand more about your candidates.
  • Create a sourcing strategy and nurture diverse talent with a steady and reliable brand message.

To bring diverse talent to the top of the funnel, you have to evaluate candidates reasonably so you're not unconsciously losing out good talent at every pipeline stage. Tracking conversion rates between these stages to recognize the steps you must focus on can be helpful.

6 Benefits of a Diverse Talent Pipeline

Workplace diversity gives access to various perspectives, where different backgrounds and features can bring other skills and experiences.

Decreased employee turnover

74% of millennials believe that their organization is more innovative when it has a culture of inclusion Workplace diversity forms a strong foundation for employees to be content and happy as they feel valued and accepted. When the employees are comfortable and contented in their place of work, they are less likely to move to another area of work. Hence, the turnover rate tends to be lower for organizations with greater diversity in the workplace, and a low staff turnover will decrease recruitment costs in the long term.

A wide-ranging skill set

Diversity in the workplace can bring comprehensive skill sets to your organization as they come from diverse backgrounds and experiences. They are more adaptable and offer your organization a broader range of products, services, ideas, and innovations. Individuals in a diverse workforce can bring different viewpoints to problems and find solutions much quicker when these are brought together.

Improved company reputation

Diversity in the workplace can boost your employer's brand. An organization that works towards employing people from diverse backgrounds can improve its reputation, making it easier for job seekers to relate to your brand. A positive employer brand will attract new talent into your talent pool by creating interest as a diverse employer.

If job seekers see your organization as a place with a diverse workforce, they will influence their opinion of you as a potential employer. Organizations that do not present a diverse workforce could lose out on top talent.

Increased creativity

When an organization prioritizes diversity within its workforce, there is no shortage of creativity because diverse groups generate innovative ideas and make better decisions. Employees with different backgrounds and experiences can view the same thing differently, bring various ideas to the table and improve the creativity of your workforce.

Improves employee engagement

Employee engagement can be heightened by hiring a diverse workforce, as those who feel comfortable and included are automatically more engaged. Employing a diverse workforce encourages all employees to be confident in their abilities regardless of background and enables them to contribute equally. While working in an environment where inclusivity is a priority, employees are motivated to perform better in their job roles.

It widens your talent pool.

Diversity in the workplace begins during the recruiting process and can bring visible benefits to your organization. With skill shortages across the UK, broadening your search of job seekers to include people with diverse backgrounds can widen the talent pool you have access to. A wider talent pool of candidates to choose from can decrease the time it takes you to hire and reduce your cost per hire.

An organization embracing Diversity will also attract a broader range of candidates to their vacancies, widening your talent pool. Recruiting a diverse workforce within your organization is not just a trend for you to follow. Still, it will lead to better hiring results when seeking top talent. Diversity in the workplace can boost your employer's brand, increase employee engagement and reduce the turnover rate of employees.

Final thoughts

Building a diversity pipeline is critical to business growth. Companies must remain open-minded and continuously find ways to improve and diversify their talent pools. Therefore, analyzing your current talent pipeline through an augmented sourcing tool can help your company refine its diversity initiatives accordingly.

Covey allows your team to easily track, report, and download data and insights on candidates and pipelines. It gives your recruiting team and leadership complete visibility into candidate pipeline progress, recruiting team performance, and diversity goals. Schedule a Demo now and see Covey in action!

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