How to get hiring managers on board with your DEI strategy

Hiring managers

Hiring managers are a vital component of any talent acquisition strategy. But while they might be strong at identifying rising talent, hiring managers aren’t often given the right training or understanding as to how their decisions shape your organisation’s DEI strategy.

But when your hiring managers are all aligned with why diversity and inclusion is important to your organisation, it means everyone is selecting, evaluating, and hiring people based on the same set of criteria.

In this post, Thomas Forstner, Senior Director of People and Talent at Juro, tells us his four key tips to get your hiring managers on board with your inclusion efforts.

1. Communicate why having an inclusive hiring process is a strategic priority.

“When you’re a hiring manager — especially in a small startup — you’re constantly under pressure to balance hiring people fast alongside the needs of your team and primary responsibilities,” Thomas says. “DEI isn’t a People or HR team problem — it’s a whole-company objective,” Thomas adds. “Hiring managers must play their part in its success — but it has to be scalable.”

Simply sharing your DEI strategy as a top-down directive won’t be enough to drive action. Instead, you need to work directly with hiring managers to help them understand why building inclusive talent acquisition processes matters to them directly.

“We work with hiring managers to figure out what their vision for their team is further out,” Thomas says. “We ask, what do you want your team to look like, how big do you want it to be? Where do you see your team in terms of composition? This helps us tap into their larger motivations as a leader so you can direct your energy to where you can make wins.”

Try this:

Adapt your communication to drive accountability based on departmental goals. If you’re speaking to a hiring manager in Sales, for example, connect inclusive hiring processes to hitting revenue targets.

2. Create job description templates that standardise role design.

If there’s one thing Thomas swears by when creating an inclusive hiring process, it’s making sure that any processes passed down to hiring managers are as easy, replicable, and scalable as possible.

Thomas creates structured, templated resources that help managers stay on track when selecting key skills or characteristics for a new role — meaning everything stays standardised, consistent, and inclusive.

“You have to remember that as a HR or People team member, your goal isn’t to hire people for them — your goal is to advise and help,” he says. “We have a discovery process for each role that we run with managers that makes this easier. We run through structured questions together, like why we’re looking for the role, what characteristics we’re looking for and what the interview process should look like. This helps us build a job description that’s structured and consistent.”

Try this:

Create job description templates that help managers pick a set number of skills and competencies to avoid creating a ‘laundry list’ of traits that harm inclusion. Give managers access to inclusive communication tools to further analyse their job description language choices.

3. Implement structured interview criteria to eliminate unconscious bias.

Interviews are one of the least consistent parts of the hiring process. Managers are frequently undertrained, and overconfident in their abilities to make a good hiring decision. And frequently, this means that they’re far more prone to bias.

Implementing structured interview processes and hiring manager training here can help eliminate these biases from the start. This ensures that every manager knows how best to ask the right questions that evaluate candidates well, while giving structured scorecards and evaluation criteria to keep interviews on track.

Try this:

Give managers access to inclusive interview training and tooling that helps them understand points of bias in their own interview processes. Create structured scorecards and question sets to help managers evaluate all candidates by the same criteria.

4. Be strategic about who becomes a hiring manager.

In startups, progression is fast, and many employees end up stepping into new responsibilities as first-time managers. But the reality is that not everyone in a leadership position is equipped to lead a team — or to hire its next members. And that’s something Thomas takes very seriously when considering new hires for manager roles at Juro.

“We have six skills that we look for in a hiring manager specifically,” Thomas says. “When we’re evaluating their hiring skills, for example, one key question we ask is what’s most important to them when hiring people. That tells us a lot about their approach to decision-making, and how they view the future of their team.”

Try this:

Create strong skills and competency-based job levelling criteria that helps you identify the skills needed for future leaders and hiring managers according to your organisation’s culture and values.

Inclusive hiring that leads to inclusive People processes

Hiring inclusively is just the start of your DEI journey. Everything you do after that point to foster belonging is critical to creating a diverse, inclusive company.

“Creating an inclusive hiring process is essential to us at Juro, because it leads to a more diverse team,” Thomas says. “When that’s coupled with inclusive employment practices, you’re not just getting people through the door, you’re able to make sure people can bring their full selves to work. It creates a higher sense of belonging across the organisation.”

Find out more about how Develop Diverse can help you scale your inclusive hiring efforts and beyond by booking a demo with our team.

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