5 Ways to Turn Your Desire to Hire Diverse Talent into Actual Diversity Hiring

By Linda Brenner | June 16, 2022

Now more than ever, organizations want to hire faster and better – often targeting skills that are in scarce supply – and it’s hard work to do it well and consistently.

What’s new and different is the fact that organizations now are genuinely interested in increasing the number of people of color – specifically Black talent – in leadership positions. For some organizations, senior leaders are more inspired than ever to improve the diversity of their workforce in a measurable and sustained way.  

Proper recruiting, selection, onboarding and performance management routines are critical for the success of any new executive, but particularly for companies seeking to expand diversity among their leadership ranks. The old routines that may have worked reasonably well with primarily White leaders need to be examined and adapted to successfully and consistently win top, diverse talent.

Five tips for diversity hiring success and sustainability:

1. Conduct a diversity audit of your past and current workforce:
Conduct a deep analysis of the recent history and current state of your workforce. Analyze two (or more) years of hiring, internal movement and attrition data by level, job type, geography, business unit, compensation, race, gender, age, etc. What is the health of the current workforce (i.e., attrition, retention, and retirement); what positions and skills are hard to find and retain, and why? Determine trends related to diversity hiring, mobility and retention. Identify the priority and specificity of diversity needs by business unit, location, level, etc. 

2. Determine your future workforce needs:
Answer the following questions:

  • What is our optimal workforce profile (i.e., size, shape, mix, diversity, and capabilities) today vs. in the next 2-3 years? 
  • What does our future workforce need to meet our business objectives now and in the next 2-3 years? 
  • What emerging technology and skills are critical to ensure business success and competitive advantage today and in the next 2-3 years?

3. Identify your workforce diversity priority areas: 
Use this analysis to determine the priority areas for “diversity” hiring. “Diversity” appears in quotes here because it is a requirement to clarify and prioritize exactly what this means by job type, location, etc. Does this mean women? Any person of color? Black people? Clarity in this respect is a key component for moving diversity hiring and retention outcomes forward. 

4. Assess your organization's current ability to win passive talent:
Assess your current ability to successfully find and win passive talent. After all, you’ll now be competing for high-performing diverse talent that is in scarce supply. How well does your organization currently do the following?

  • Build prioritized, specific, measurable sourcing plans based on business demands?
  • Have the capability to broadly research competitors in the industry and across your competition for talent?
  • Have a consistent / documented methodology for identifying, connecting with and tracking high performing passive talent?
  • Build and report on pipelines of talent and level of engagement over time for key roles?
  • Work with hiring managers to successfully attract and compel passive talent to consider your organization (e.g., willingness to engage, participate in interviews, consider and accept job offers, etc.)?
  • Win top passive talent that stays and performs well over time?

5. Assess your organization's current ability to effectively onboard and retain talent: 
Remember, the key isn't just hiring diverse talent - it's that plus ensuring they stay and perform well over time. Therefore, it's key to assess your organization’s ability to successfully onboard and retain high-potential diverse talent throughout the organization. This will tie back to the analysis completed in step 1 because the data will indicate where (geography, roles, levels, etc.) in the organization diversity hiring is succeeding and where it is failing. Is there a structured and documented approach to onboarding with clear roles, responsibilities and measures of success? Is there survey data from new hires that indicate the strength of the onboarding experience? Is the company successful at integrating new hires and helping them to become acclimated and productive quickly? Do managers get personally involved in the orientation, assimilation and development of their team members?  Are they held accountable for doing so?  Are these activities a stated investment priority for the organization?


This is quite the to-do list for talent teams within most organizations. Need an objective, third party to discuss the best way forward? Contact us for a quick call.

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