Building a diverse and inclusive workforce should be a priority for all employers, regardless of the size of your business or the industry you operate in.

All HR professionals know the challenges of attracting and hiring top talent - so in the search for the best candidates, you should be casting your net as far as possible, and aiming to reach groups and individuals you may not have an existing connection with.


discover the key strategies for workplace diversity.

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Additionally, research from Randstad’s 2024 Workmonitor report showed 39% of surveyed workers wouldn’t accept a job if the organization wasn’t making an effort to improve its diversity and equity. Soon, proactive DEI initiatives (diversity, equity and inclusion) could be a necessity for attracting top talent. 

However, large-scale changes in the workforce don’t happen overnight. Planning and executing a DEI strategy takes time, and many organizations aren’t sure where to start. In this article, we’ll look at the three most important steps your company needs to take to get on the right track to diversity in the workplace.

make diversity, equity and inclusion part of your culture

To be an effective and lasting pillar of your organization, workforce diversity and inclusion needs to be ingrained into your culture. It's not enough to take a siloed approach that brings about change only at a departmental or team level. The entire business needs to be fully committed to the mission of building an inclusive culture and aware of just how important it is.

A crucial part of this is making sure the company's leadership are fully on board with your DEI drive, and ready to provide the support you need to get the best results. Leaders play a crucial role in defining workplace culture, so getting them on your side is essential. 

As DEI professional Daisy Auger-Dominguez says in this interview with Harvard Business Review, managers are “the ones responsible for building a workplace culture where people feel seen, heard, and valued.” Inclusive leadership and boardroom backing is likely to rely on you making a strong business case for the value of diversity and inclusion, and explaining its importance for your organization’s wider goals.

As an example, if your firm is currently looking to expand into new markets, you could focus on how making your workforce more diverse and representative will help you understand a broader range of customer needs and expectations. Alternatively, if certain key skills are lacking in the workforce, you might place emphasis on the advances in equity that a company-wide training program could create, as well as solving the skills shortage.

diverse workforce
diverse workforce

increase diversity and inclusion in recruitment by rethinking your process

There's a lot you can do to make sure each stage of your hiring process is specially designed to eliminate bias and encourage applications from the widest possible range of candidates.

To start with, it's important to make sure job descriptions are written carefully to be as inclusive as possible. That could involve avoiding unnecessary jargon and not using gender-coded words or other language that will make roles feel exclusive or unwelcoming to particular groups.

It can also be beneficial to only list essential skills when discussing job requirement and omit ‘nice-to-have’ qualifications. In its list of good practices for inclusive vacancy announcements, UN Women, the United Nations body for gender equality, says these non-essential criteria can discourage underrepresented groups from applying, perpetuating exclusion and diversity issues.  

There should be an emphasis on diversity and inclusion in every phase of the hiring process, particularly at crucial stages like the interview. If possible, put together an eclectic interview panel to minimize the risk of bias (conscious or otherwise) and to show all interviewees that they will be welcomed and given every opportunity to move forward in their careers with your company. Research from Glassdoor showed that as many as 76% of job seekers consider diversity an important factor when considering job offers, so displaying your company’s diversity at the interview stage can ensure the best candidates end up choosing your company.

In order to set candidates up to succeed in their interview, it’s important to give them as much information as possible in advance so that they can process it and have time to request accommodation if needed. Try to provide written or visual instructions related to the interview, like how to reach the office, what to do when arriving, as well as an agenda for the interview itself which includes the names and roles of the interviewers. 

Remember that each candidate is unique, and may need individual adjustments to be able to perform at their best. Adjusting your process as needed is part of recruiting inclusively. Although standardizing the interview structure could help mitigate the risk of unconscious bias, a willingness to accommodate and be flexible if needed is more important. For example, some candidates may request a telephone interview due to mobility disabilities, while someone that is deaf may prefer a video interview to allow for lip reading or assistance from an interpreter. Just as every job opening is different, each candidate is different, and should be considered as such. 

When trying to find great talent in an inclusive way, try not to be influenced by social norms. For example, make an effort not to finish people’s sentences, always try to provide a quiet space to process information, rephrase questions if needed, and understand that a lack of direct eye contact or firm handshake is no longer considered a reliable indicator of someone's ability to be successful in their role.

Introducing AI tools is a new way to make your recruitment process more diverse, equitable and inclusive. Many companies make use of AI when screening resumes or developing interview questions in order to remove the influence of unconscious biases. However, these tools should be used with caution and human supervision—as discussed in this Harvard Business Review article, even advanced AI tools aren’t always free from human biases.


discover the key strategies for workplace diversity.

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introduce diversity training in the workplace

If your company is serious about introducing genuine and lasting change on the diversity and inclusion front, dedicated training on the subject is a must.

This can be a good approach if you feel there is a need in your organization for more discussion and understanding of key issues such as:

  • why diversity and inclusion matters
  • the differences between diversity and inclusion
  • conscious and unconscious bias
  • discrimination laws

It’s likely there are people in your workforce who are keen to learn more about subjects like these, or have questions they would like to ask, but don't know when or how to bring them up. Focused training sessions will provide a good opportunity to have honest conversations, share useful information and raise awareness of topics that fall under the banner of diversity and inclusion. As explained in this Gartner article, it’s also one of the best ways to respond to any pushback against your DEI efforts.

Going forward, it's important to make it clear that this is an ongoing mission, not something that can be encapsulated in a one-off training session and then forgotten about. Sabrina Clark, associate principal at SYPartners, a consultancy specializing in organizational transformation, said one way to bring about lasting change in how people think and behave is to entrust the task to dedicated cohorts who aren't at executive or management level. These groups can be equipped with the skills and information needed to drive change in their team or department by leading through example.

interested in learning more about diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

Workplace diversity and inclusion has become a crucial consideration for employers. It's also a rapidly changing, increasingly nuanced concept, which means it's a good idea to keep educating yourself so you can feel confident that you're making the right decisions for your people and your business.

We've produced an in-depth guide that takes a detailed look at the key strategies leading companies have used to create a truly diverse workplace. The condensed guide will give you a clear overview of the strategies at your disposal, along with clear figures showing their effectiveness at boosting the impact of your DEI initiatives. 


discover the key strategies for workplace diversity.

download the guide
about the author
Abree L. Ramirez SHRM-CP
Abree L. Ramirez SHRM-CP

abree ramirez, SHRM-CP

compliance & diversity manager

Abree Ramirez has been the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Compliance Manager for Randstad since 2022 where her passion and dedication extend far beyond her daily role. Abree is also a Leadership Committee/Council Member of Disability:IN and National Organization on Disability, Mentorship Committee Lead for Randstad’s “Alliance for Disabilities & Allies BRG”, Certified HR Professional from the Society for Human Resource Management & a Certified Business for Good Champion against Human Trafficking.

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