- What employee outreach is and why do employee outreach ideas matter?
- Make Your Brand More Inclusive
- Make an Effort To Reach Underrepresented Groups
- Ending Notes
Your team member can only reap the benefits of an inclusive workplace once they are actually on your team. Many underrepresented groups, including people of color, women, the physically disabled, and the members of the LGBTQ+ community among others face barriers that make it harder for them to land great jobs, no matter how qualified they are.
So, in this blog post, we’ll take a look at how to conduct employee outreach effectively to help build a team that reflects the diversity of your organization’s community.
We’ll cover what employee outreach ideas entail, and offers several steps HR can take to both meet diverse candidates and their communities and welcome them into yours.
By the end, you’ll have the key employee outreach ideas along with the tools you need to develop a robust and substantial outreach program at your organization.
What outreach is and why does it matter?
How to make your brand more inclusive?
How to make your application process more accessible? and,
How to reach underrepresented groups in recruitment?
So, without any further ado, let’s get started.
What employee outreach is and why do employee outreach ideas matter?
The word “outreach” is often used by non-profits to describe programs that seek to engage community members in a certain event or service.
In HR terms though, outreach includes everything your organization does to get involved with your community. And in the modern world of work, that consists of a bigger and more prominent group as more people interact with businesses online.
Recruitment outreach in particular goes beyond just engaging with the community. It includes strategies to identify quality candidates in the community and encourage them to apply for an open position.
In this blog post, we’re focusing on the ways employee outreach ideas can be applied to recruiting from underrepresented groups whose skills and insights your organization may be lacking.
DEI outreach initiatives in recruitment are vital to your organization’s success for several reasons:
A Diverse Team is an Innovative Team
With more voices and more perspectives, you avoid the risk of collaborations turning into echo chambers.
A “Culture Add” Can Be Even More Valuable Than a “Culture Fit”
After all, if everyone on your team has the same background and outlook, your company culture risks becoming homogeneous, stale, and even insensitive.
The Candidates You Find Through DEI Outreach Are More Than Just Token Diversity Hires.
They’re top talent, and your organization can’t afford to miss out on the value they’ll bring.
So, let’s take a look at what you can do to recruit star candidates for your team
Make Your Brand More Inclusive
In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement’s rise in the summer of 2020, thousands of companies around the country whipped up statements on racial justice and made promises to take DEI measures within their organizations.
But even the most carefully crafted diversity statement and employee outreach ideas both are meaningless if your team isn’t prepared to actually build a more inclusive brand and workplace.
As a part of employee outreach ideas, here are the three ways your organization can communicate a real commitment to respecting and honoring your community’s diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
Watch Your Language
The words you use matter. So, to conduct employee outreach effectively, train your team to speak with intention when they’re representing your organization to customers, prospects, and potential future employees.
Speaking with intention can mean combating racial stereotypes, respecting a person’s pronouns or preferred name, avoiding religious assumptions, and speaking up when someone else’s language or actions are hurtful.
Highlight The Value Your Organization Places on Racial, Gender, Disability, Background, and Religious Diversities
In your HR role, reflect on the privileges you have and use them to amplify the voices of others who don’t have the same privileges.
A simple way to start is by including info about your organization’s culture and views about hiring on your careers page or at the bottom of each job posting
Admit Your Mistakes
Even with good intentions, efforts to conduct employee outreach effectively can sometimes misstep and cause harm to those they are meant to include.
When this happens, help your organization take responsibility, apologize, and create a plan to avoid the mistake in the future.
Make an Effort To Reach Underrepresented Groups
If you want to recruit exceptional candidates from underrepresented groups, your organization will have to get involved in its community.
This can be a tangible or strategic move when it comes to conducting employee outreach. Do some research online and make a list of organizations your team might want to learn with.
Then call them, ask about potential volunteer opportunities, and get your employees involved. Just be prepared to put your organizational money where your mouth is.
For example, start an initiative that invites team members to volunteer in the programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters Program or the Best Buddies Program and provide a certain fund yearly to help defray any costs that arise from this volunteering.
Obviously, this is not a direct recruitment strategy. But it is a way you can show your commitment to outreach and engage and improve your community.
When it comes time for active recruitment outreach, it’s important to make your organization visible to applicants you want to recruit. Posting on job boards is a good start, but, be creative.
For example, consider sponsoring a career fair booth at an HBCU – a historically Black college or university.
To maximize your visibility post physical calls for candidates at local trade schools, community centers, and libraries. Remember, not everyone has internet access at home, you never know what top talent you might recruit when you widen the pool.
Finally, make sure your employee outreach efforts are consistent, repeatable, and measurable. DEI work is not a “one-and-done” strategy. Work to build lasting relationships in your community by reaching out regularly and sincerely.
Remember, what gets measured, gets managed. So keep records of your employee outreach efforts to make sure you hit your goals. For example, if you attend a career fair, determine ahead of time how many resumes you hope to collect, or how many screening calls you hope will result from them.
Make Your Application Process More Accessible
Once you have more candidates from underrepresented groups aware of your organization and openings, they still have to apply.
The application process can be full of roadblocks that disproportionately impact people of color and people with disabilities.
Here’s how to mitigate those roadblocks
Prioritize skills in job descriptions
There are countless great candidates in your community. Don’t limit your pool by ignoring the ones with less traditional training.
Think hard about whether a formal degree is really necessary for each role or whether transferable skills and experience may be just as valuable.
Keep The Application Short and Simple
According to a recent study by Greenhouse, 70% of job seekers said they would disregard a job application that takes more than 15 minutes.
Many applicants are searching for jobs on their phones, not computers. And need to be able to complete the application in one quick sitting.
If you use an all-in-one HRIS, you can set up a streamlined application in your ATS. Ask only the necessary questions to get the process started.
Make It Easy To Interview
We recommend you always do the first interview on the phone. This can help reduce impact bias and it’s a low time and effort commitment for both you and the candidate.
After that, be as flexible as possible with timing location, and methods for subsequent interviews. Even a passionate and qualified candidate may have to juggle multiple responsibilities to make it to an in-person interview.
There’s a lot to balance when applying employee outreach ideas and designing your employee outreach program but keep the end in mind. The more your team reflects the diversity of your community, the stronger, healthier, and more versatile your organization will be.
In this blog post, we’ve covered everything you need to know about the robust ways to conduct employee outreach. If it sounds hard, that’s because it is hard. But prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion in your hiring practices isn’t just a trend, it’s also the modern among employee outreach ideas along with an ethical imperative that also makes your organization better.
Investing the time effort and money into regular outreach will pay off in the long term as you build a strong agile and forward-looking team.
As always, remember that your role is as strategic as you make it.