How Skills-Based Hiring Results in Workplace Diversity

How Skills-Based Hiring Results in Workplace Diversity

What do companies that excel in problem-solving, thinking outside of the box, and netting higher financial returns have in common? Engaged employees? Strong research capabilities?

While both can play a part, the answer is inclusion and diversity. Think about it – people from different backgrounds bring a wider variety of information, opinions, solutions, and perspectives. Inclusion gives those same people the chance to share their ideas and feel comfortable doing so.

A diverse team also has the ability to tap into the needs and challenges of a diverse customer base. It’s not just an abstract concept - diversity works. One-third of the companies in our data set have made significant inclusion and diversity gains over the past five years and are increasingly pulling ahead of their industry peers in financial performance. Our experience with companies in this group suggests that many of them will view their existing strengths in inclusion and diversity as a way to bounce back more quickly from the crisis while they actively seek to boost representation and inclusion.

Creating a Diverse Workforce

One way to know if your company has a diversity and inclusion gap is by observing your organizational structure. When it comes to the people in the room making high-level decisions, are they mostly the same gender/race/ethnicity? If so, you probably have some room for improvement.

To create a diverse workforce, the first step is to look into your hiring strategies. Currently, would you say that your hiring strategies are pretty sensible? Of course, you would! But when was the last time you broke down the process step by step to think about where you might be cutting off viable candidates?

Even those who think they have fair hiring policies might be unintentionally weeding out exceptional candidates due to unintentional bias. Use our diversity hiring guide to learn how to avoid diversity gaps in the recruiting process.

What is Skills-Based Hiring?

Diversity in the workplace is much more than checking a compliance box. It is an investment, and you need to be intentional about it. One effective way to begin your diversity strategy is to adopt skills-based hiring.

Skills-based hiring is the practice of hiring people based on the skills required to perform the open role, rather than education or prestige. Skills-based hiring is important when building a diversity strategy because it eliminates the pre-conceived idea of the “perfect candidate.” All candidates are considered equally as long as they are able to perform the duties.

A New Executive Order

This practice is gaining steam. In June, President Trump signed an executive order that encourages federal government employers to waive “college degree” as a minimum on job requirements. The order states that:

“Employers adopting skills- and competency-based hiring recognize that an overreliance on college degrees excludes capable candidates and undermines labor-market efficiencies. Degree-based hiring is especially likely to exclude qualified candidates for jobs related to emerging technologies and those with weak connections between educational attainment and the skills or competencies required to perform them. Moreover, unnecessary obstacles to opportunity disproportionately burden low-income Americans and decrease economic mobility.”

The order goes on to say that “modernizing our country's processes for identifying and hiring talent will provide America a more inclusive and demand-driven labor force.”

In other words, the White House endorses skills-based hiring as an effective way to increase workplace diversity, and so should you.

While skills-based hiring is a surefire way to widen the net for diverse candidates, it’s not enough to simply hire the right people. You must remember the inclusion piece. That means hiring the candidate into an environment where they will feel welcomed, safe, and equal.

The Case for Hiring Military Veterans: Diversity in Action

The enlisted military is a great example of skills-based recruiting. After taking multiple aptitude tests, recruits are given a choice of MOS (military occupational specialty) options that fit their abilities. This process does not take education into account – only the most basic requirements for the role.

As a result, America’s melting-pot society is reflected in today’s military. According to Pew Research Center, in 2017, 57 percent of U.S. servicemembers were white, 16 percent were black, and 16 percent were Hispanic. In addition, 4 percent were Asian, and 6 percent identified as “other.”

Companies that hire veterans gain a diverse workforce with a valuable array of advantages including tax breaks for hiring veterans and soft skills like leadership, commitment, and teamwork. Many veterans have worked with different populations across the globe during their service and bring a greater understanding of diverse cultures to the workplace.

If your organization is looking for a diverse talent pool that is rich with technical and soft skills, the veteran and military spouse population is an excellent place to search. RecruitMilitary offer a multitude of solutions to help employers hire veterans and military spouses.

Next Steps

Are you ready to evaluate your diversity hiring strategy? Let us help! Use our diversity hiring guide to get started.

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