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Recruiting Talented Employees by Focusing on Equity

Equity in the Workplace

September 6, 2022

Diversity is not enough.

To be honest, it never was.

Companies need to stop recruiting to be more diverse or even more inclusive, it simply is not enough.

Not what you were expecting to hear from the CEO of a recruitment firm, especially one who runs a socially responsible recruitment firm? To not say this would be socially irresponsible.

Companies that want to be more competitive must recruit with the intent to achieve equity.

The “why” of an organization’s recruitment efforts, policies and practices must be extended beyond the goal of a company being more diverse or inclusive — it must be about building an organization that is more equitable.

Creating a Foundation of Equity

Although many companies refer to their efforts as diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, too often their focus is on being more diverse and inclusive — equity is a bit more elusive.

Verna Myers famously describes diversity and inclusion in the following way:

“Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Following her explanation, then the “E” or equity in DEI means that a person is not only invited to the party and asked to dance, but they also have the power to select some of the music that is being played.

Far too often, companies are recruiting to be more diverse and inclusive, but not more equitable. What I mean is that potential candidates, while coming from diverse backgrounds, are seldom recruited with the plan for them to grow into a leadership role.

Recruiting with a focus on equity means an organization views potential hires as investments in the future — how individuals can help to reshape the leadership of the organization, and the company itself.

Also, having a more diverse leadership team is a great recruitment tool. It tells people of all backgrounds that there is room inside the organization for different people to not only work but grow and advance. It has been found that the presence in leadership of a variety of people with different identities and experiences is seen as an indication that there is room in an organization for a more diverse group of people. It is a great recruiting tool.

Equity must be the goal.

And it starts with how your organization recruits.

Now, all of this does not mean that diversity and inclusion no longer matter, just the opposite. Equity is obtained by working on diversity and inclusion to become more equitable as an organization.

Having diverse candidates leads to an organization being more inclusive, which should result in equity being obtained, but the stated goal for leadership is for your organization is “equity.” All actions, steps, policies and practices are directed at reaching this goal.

A business that is equitable has a distinct business advantage, it has a greater pool of experiences, knowledge and skills to pull from. Studies have shown that diverse teams outperform homogenous teams in decision-making.

However, this only happens when all members of the team have the ability to fully participate in the process. Achieving equity has to be a top-down approach.

It was never enough for an organization to be more diverse and/or more inclusive alone. It was a good start but if a company wants to reach its full potential, leadership has to set a goal of becoming equitable.

For companies to reach the next level and give themselves a competitive advantage, they will have to strive to become more equitable. Learn more about equitable processes in recruiting at focusandfind.com.

Looking for tools to help grow your startup or small business? Visit the Small Business Resources Hub to find the information you need or sign up for Mentor Connection to build relationships with a trusted group of mentors.

Desmund Adams

Desmund Adams is the Founder and CEO of Focus & Find in Greater Des Moines (DSM).