Building a DEI Powerhouse: Proven Catalysts from Dentsu

The work to build a diverse and inclusive workforce can seem daunting. In today’s environment with legal and political challenges and high interest rates many businesses are looking to scale back investments considered non-revenue-generating which seem to make corporate DEI programs vulnerable targets. However, with a proven approach that makes immediate impact in hiring fairness and efficiency, you can build momentum that can propel you to new DEI heights. 

This blog summarizes the inspiring learnings of Sabrina Long, Talent Acquisition Pipeline Leader at Denstu who has transformed her workforce through focused DEI hiring excellence. In our webinar series, “Choose Both: DEI and Hiring Efficiency in 2024” Sabrina and Amit Bhatia, Co-Founder and CEO of Datapeople, break down her steps so you too can improve your DEI impact in 2024.

Make a DEI business case

Securing organizational interest must start with aligning impact and success with business goals. Make sure decision-makers view DEI as an accelerant, possibly even a required ingredient, to achieving your organization’s overall business goals. This involves aligning OKRs and demonstrating the clear connection between a diverse workforce and improved performance.

  • Align DEI journey with business objectives: To succeed, you must help others envision DEI as a contributor to important business objectives. It cannot be seen as a separate initiative from other growth levers. Show how it benefits the organization through improving hiring fundamentals that secure the top talent your organization needs to thrive and lift your employer brand in the process.
  • Focus on metrics: Instrumentation that illuminates the journey and progress for others is critical. Measure key metrics like applicant pool, gender split by stage, and pass-through rate by candidates to illuminate success and opportunities. 

Bake–in inclusivity and fairness

Unconscious bias can creep into the hiring process at any step, from job postings to interview questions. This can lead to the exclusion of qualified candidates, smaller, less qualified candidate pools, and elongated time to fill. Sabrina shared some great ways to identify and build a more fair process, especially if you’re encountering internal/organizational resistance, which begins with understanding motivations and context by embracing the 5 whys. In her experience, asking “why” five times will help get to the root of the issue with clarity.

  • Standardize job posts: Ensure clear, concise, and bias-free language that accurately reflects the role and attracts diverse candidates. To do so more consistently, consider embracing a Smart Editor which makes standardized and inclusive job posts second nature.
  • Align the entire hiring team: Hiring is a team effort, success requires that the entire hiring team is on the same page regarding the target talent profile and how to evaluate candidates (fairly). Ideally, alignment is secured through joint collaboration during key moments, like crafting the job post

Build intentional DEI habits

Sabrina highlighted the importance of learning to instill positive habits. But in her experience, just deploying educational courses is not enough. True change requires a more holistic approach that educates, guides, and reinforces in the process of hiring great talent. Infusing execution with education will build intentional (and positive) habits. 

  • Micro-learning upskilling: Embrace the potential of micro-learning opportunities to continuously improve skills and address unconscious bias. A comprehensive approach to upskilling delivered through in-product tooltips and proactive nudges combined with expert-led educational experiences will seamlessly invest in your team.
  • Reinforce habits and wins: It is important to not lose sight of the daily journey. Reflecting on actions, desired daily habits, and celebrating small wins will cultivate a culture of continuous learning within your team.
  • Intuitive, accessible workflow: DEI needs to be “out of the box” to truly become the default at your organization. Embrace the familiar and efficient with out-of-the-box ATS integrations to ensure a consistent and standardized hiring process is accessible where your team already works, securing data, increasing efficiency, and improving adoption.  

Focus on the right metrics (including DEI metrics)

In talent acquisition, it sometimes feels like it is either feast or famine with metrics. At times we have so many it’s blinding, whereas in other situations we have so little it’s limiting. As Amit and Sabrina pointed out, focusing on the right metrics will offer clarity on progress and opportunities for improvement. By embracing a best-in-class metrics platform like Datapeople Insights, you can ensure your team has the right requisition, content, and process metrics to boldly step into your data-driven hiring future.

  • Full funnel visibility: Instrument your entire funnel for detailed data collection. Ideally, your efforts go beyond mere collection to synthesis for greater impact and accessibility by all those involved.
  • Focus on key problems and metrics: Do not try to improve everything all at once. Selectively and deeply invest in understanding and actioning a handful to your specific recruiting challenges to make progress efficiently. 

Embrace storytelling

Bring the entire organization together through the power of storytelling. Secure personal interest and investment by helping team members and leaders step into the journey, imagining themselves contributing, and experiencing the benefits of a more inclusive workforce. 

  • Engage stakeholders: Regularly communicate DEI progress and goals with stakeholders like talent acquisition, hiring managers, HR leaders, and business leaders. Remember to connect efforts and progress to business objectives in a way that is clear and relatable. 
  • Celebrate wins big and small: Acknowledge and celebrate milestones along the way to keep your team motivated and engaged. No achievement is too small, in fact, celebrating smaller wins for those closest to them can be highly motivational. 
  • Offer transparency and accountability: Be transparent about challenges and opportunities, and hold yourself and other leaders accountable for achieving DEI goals and measuring their impact on business goals.

Invest in a fun, inclusive, culture

A curious and learning-oriented culture does not arrive by accident. Thoughtful investment in the team can bring everyone together in ways that inspire action and investment, even by those less naturally inclined.

  • Gamification for good: Use creative challenges and gamification to make learning and DEI initiatives fun and engaging. Sabrina shared that a recent team-wide challenge energized her constituents attracting participation from those that had previously been hardest to reach.
  • Micro-affirmations and recognition: Acknowledge and celebrate your efforts to create a more inclusive hiring experience. No improvement is too small to highlight. Consistency here is important; habits are not built overnight so ensure you recognize and celebrate the progress not just the outcomes.

Let’s build a fairer DEI-impactful future together

DEI is constantly evolving, yet one consistent remains. A fair hiring process is also an efficient, effective hiring process – and that’s always an unwavering priority for TA and business leaders alike. So learn from Sabrina’s efforts to position DEI not just as a nice-to-do but as a must-do for your organization. For more actionable intelligence and additional depth on the insights shared above, watch our “Choose Both” series on demand

And, if you want to know more about how Datapeople can support your efforts to bring equity to the hiring process – especially in this resource-constrained, post-affirmative action environment – we’d love to show you how.

Subscribe to stay in the know 💡

Sign up for the Datapeople newsletter to receive all the iIlluminating data, valuable insights, and actionable tips today's recruiting leaders can't afford to miss.