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It’s often the stated goal of companies to strive for employee hiring diversity in normal business periods. But what happens to the company practice during an unprecedented crisis like the one we are currently facing?

It’s a question that has many engineering leaders working overtime to think through. If diversity is in fact a key value of a company’s mission, shouldn’t that key value sustain itself through thick and thin? Is diversity important enough to engineering teams to survive this crisis?

Once a company has established benchmarks for diversity hiring, can they simply immobilize that priority during a crisis? Or is the alternative just to slow it down? We’ve seen companies start off with lofty ambitions for diversity hiring, but if funding falls through, or market conditions recede, then diversity seems to be deprioritized. It actually shouldn’t go backwards. Companies might look to re-tool the process while in a slowdown of budget cuts and hiring freezes.

Diversity as a Mission

Companies often tout their diversity of hiring practices and make it a staple of their management thinking. Making promises in marketing materials is one thing, but do companies actually live up to diversity hiring goals? The examples we found seemed to show that they do.

Web-tech companies like Nylas, Dev.xyz, Mode, and Lever all show clear diversity initiatives in their hiring practices. For example, Mode acknowledges their engineering teams are well-populated in their diversity, consisting of under-represented minorities, women, and non-binary staff.

On a larger scale, global consulting firm Accenture is committed to diversity hiring principles based on gender equality, persons with disabilities and lifestyle orientation. In addition, Accenture, in partnership with Service Now, Verizon and Lincoln Financial, has launched a new B2B hiring platform called People Work Connect that aims to match laid-off employees to companies that are hiring.

Time will tell if these hiring ambitions and employee goodwill endeavors lead to long-term diversity hiring solutions. But for a start, they appear to be on target.

Diversity in a Crisis

The coronavirus has elevated the topic of diversity high in the minds of business leaders. As employees work remotely, companies have had to readjust quickly to a remote workforce and virtual economy. For some organizations, it’s been a slight change. For others, it’s meant having to manage a major ramp-up. Plus, business managers must keep in mind the impact that the coronavirus is having on teams. It’s crucial to acknowledge the wide degrees of life and family considerations.

Lloyd Howell Jr., CFO of global management consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton recently wrote that the major challenge now for leaders is to try to better understand their diverse  employees’ needs and circumstances, as they are all impacted differently. Beyond that, the crisis may be the time for a diverse team of employees to re-evaluate current business processes and open up new perspectives for next business steps.

Tips for Increasing Diversity Recruiting

In the ongoing months, there are areas in which HR executives can better incorporate diversity into their hiring. Here are a few action items from Entrepreneur for improving your diversity recruiting for engineers that you can start using today:

  • Broaden your search tools – If you’re only using 1-2 of the main recruiting platforms, and finding similar candidate responses as a result, try to expand your searches to include lifestyle/ethnic business associations, Reddit engineering groups, social media pages, and job-seeker forums for greater targeting of diverse candidates.
  • Use diversity recruiting software tools – Today’s tech recruiters need more specific software for pinpointing diversity in candidate profiles. Start to use diversity recruiting software to help your company hire the right people to foster innovation and bring new perspectives to your company.
  • Revisit the language in your job ads – Some ads might use language that may  inadvertently lessen the number of male or female candidates. Overly aggressive language (‘rockstar’, ‘dominant’ or ‘killer’) may not help you attract female candidates. Likewise, you may receive less male respondents with ads that appeal to workplace sensitivity, for example.

Questions

Some questions still may linger.

  • Can we afford to hire for diversity?
  • Do we want standardized coding experts, or creative innovators?
  • Will diversity hiring in a crisis lead to long-term employees?

The answers will depend on your particular industry, growth opportunities and long-term funding to see you through the current crisis. If you are able to secure your business longevity through the end of 2020, then it is imperative that diversity hiring remains as a key principle in your talent strategy. Diversity hiring is as much a part of the new normal and the future of work as is remote hiring and remote work. Diversity is a value-creating initiative and there has never been a better time to embrace it as the world moves to a remote, global workforce.

When assembling a diverse, creative engineering workforce, diversity remains the optimal goal. If your business must act quickly to achieve high levels of consistency, standardization and scalability in your hiring practices, along with diversity, contact Codility to learn more about our highly targeted software platform to help you achieve that. Our tech screening platform can help your HR managers avoid bias, and find the right candidate that fits into your parameters.

Roy Solomon is Chief Revenue Officer at Codility, and an expert in the future of work. Roy leads Codility’s customer-facing teams and advises TA and Engineering leaders from around the world on how to build their technical hiring and retention plans.

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