Alternative Ways to Build Diverse and Inclusive Work Environments

Diversity_Inclusion_OP_Blog_AlexK

As a Talent Acquisition Consultant, it’s my job to help companies identify and attract candidates to their organization. Each client that I’ve supported is different and many of their hiring needs are varied, but one underlying focus among them is hiring and retaining people of diverse backgrounds.

Pipeline Diversity

How do we get diverse candidates in the pipeline?

This is not an easy feat but with proper planning and attention, can be achieved.

As you are building out your recruitment or sourcing strategies, I suggest joining different meetup groups or host networking/hack nights that may attract but also include people from diverse backgrounds.

Here’s how, find out if your company has ever, or is interested in, hosting a meetup group. Then, reach out to an organizer of a group through Meetup.com, and plan away!

A lot of groups on Meetup will need a space to host their event AND it is a great way to show off your office digs to potential candidates.

For example, check out the Meetup Queer Tech Club in Chicago. Objective Paradigm sponsors QTC, which was recently was hosted at Enova International – attendees were able to discuss the impact of LGBTQ leaders in history and grow their network.

Another challenge I’ve come across on the topic of pipeline diversity is the lack of diversity in University recruiting. Many companies will target the best schools for Computer Science Degrees including Georgia Institute of Technology, MIT, or University of Illinois campuses to Computer Science graduates – but there’s still a whole population of schools that don’t make that list.  

As recruiters and Talent Acquisition professionals, we should keep in mind that not every engineer has a traditional background or was able to attend a school that is considered to have the best Computer Science program.  

Have your company participate in programs with various boot camps (General Assembly, Metis, Actualize, etc) as well as mentorship/internship programs that offer career mentoring like YearUp, or schools that focus on diversity in tech like Chicago Tech Academy.

As recruiters and hiring managers, we should be focused on that engineer’s ability to problem-solve, their potential, and other attributes that can determine good quality hires versus where they received their degree and knowledge from.

Diversity actually starts with building an Inclusive environment!

Some may argue that building a diverse candidate pipeline is the most important way to build an inclusive environment.

But what happens if you’ve got this fantastic pipeline with people from all ethnic, socio-economic, and gender diverse backgrounds and the environment doesn’t foster their growth? Or what if they start and can’t identify with one person in the environment? Those individuals might not stay long because they won’t feel included.

It’s important to build programs and an environment that people from all walks of life can join and contribute to, and have a space for engaging with others while at work.

Here are a few ideas on building diverse and inclusive work environments:

  • Something as simple as including a gender-neutral bathroom in your space, rotating who runs your meetings so you’ll give everyone on the team an opportunity to lead and present ideas differently, and even celebrating other cultural events or heritage months instead of just Christmas!
  • Several companies are developing Employee Resource Groups (or ERGs) where people can join and discuss interesting topics that affect them and their peers, or plan events for individuals at that company to learn about a group, culture, etc.

Some examples of ERGs:

  • LGBTQ+
  • Women in Tech/Women in the Workforce
  • LatinX
  • Black in Tech
  • Working Parents
  • Single Parents

Hopefully, some of this helps you form an action plan for your diversity hiring and creation of an inclusive work environment ongoing.

For more on diversity and inclusion, check out OP’s Sr. Sourcing & Research Specialist, Sarah Goldberg’s article via SourceCon where she talks about becoming a trusted source for diverse talent and building your strategy for a broad candidate pool – check it out here.


Alex is a Recruitment Consultant with Objective Paradigm, spending her time developing recruitment strategies, handling full-cycle recruitment processes for Sales, Technology, and Product roles, and helping build brand awareness for numerous clients. When not at work she loves to attend spin, Pilates, or yoga classes and is highly addicted to Bravo TV. Stay tuned to the OP blog for more insight from Alex – connect with her on LinkedIn.

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