How to Measure Diversity in Your Hiring Efforts

Lauren Shufran

Lauren Shufran

Content Strategist

Posted on

September 14, 2021

Recruiting teams are often laser-focused on a single metric when it comes to setting diversity goals for their organizations: How many underrepresented hires do we need to make (or did we make) in a given quarter? And that’s understandable. After all, an organization’s diversity hiring efforts are most apparent in its employee demographics, the range of representation across its employees. But focusing solely on the number of hires doesn’t give you the full picture of your diversity hiring efforts. A true measure of diversity hiring takes into account everything that happens from first outreach to offer-accept… as well as what happens after onboarding and beyond.

For one thing, diversifying an organization is a long game, and progress will necessarily be incremental. It’s one thing to implement diversity recruiting metrics and KPIs, but it’s another to acknowledge—and work toward dismantling—the implicit biases and ingrained perceptions that all members of the organization carry. Are your sourcers and recruiters aware of their own biases; and are they actively seeking out talent such that your organization will eventually mirror the communities you’re based in and the customers you serve?

The strongest diversity hiring initiatives begin at the top of the funnel, before prospects even apply. (Channels like inbound and referrals are inherently less diverse; so if teams aren’t actively sourcing and nurturing diverse talent pools, they won’t see a diverse pipeline or a diverse team.) They also require careful attention to every stage of the hiring funnel; and a diversity recruiting initiative that doesn’t consider possible biases at each stage isn’t leveraging metrics to the best of its ability. The “number of underrepresented hires” won’t amount to anything if your diversity recruiting metrics don't account for why Black candidates are dropping out of process at the onsite stage, for example.  

For another thing, to only focus on underrepresented hires fails to account for retention of diverse talent—the ultimate indicator of how inclusive and equitable your organization is for employees. Diversity is about objective, measurable numbers, and equals concrete representation. Inclusion invites each person’s contribution and ensures every voice in the room is heard; and equity ensures each person receives access to opportunities, information, and resources that will help them grow and thrive. Equity and inclusion must play substantial roles in your organization’s efforts. It’s great for TA to move the needle on a set of numbers and realize more diverse representation in your business. But the organization will only become a revolving door for underrepresented talent if company-wide initiatives—onboarding, mentorship programs, ERGs, equitable promotional processes, and more—remain non-existent. 

So what diversity recruiting metrics do you focus on alongside number of hires? Here’s the data to pay attention to as you work toward meeting your diversity goals:

Diversity recruiting metric #1: outreach activity

How many underrepresented prospects are your sourcers and recruiters reaching out to for a given role? What do response and interested rates look like for that outreach—particularly in comparison with the response and interested rates for majority talent for the same roles? Look into content stats: is email outreach inadvertently alienating underrepresented groups? Outreach data can shed light on whether your team is reaching out to a diverse talent pool, and on whether your sourcers need to rework their messaging to be more inclusive.

How to Measure Diversity in Your Hiring Efforts (1)

Diversity recruiting metric #2: funnel activity

Analyze conversion rates of underrepresented talent all the way through the funnel, from first outreach through hire. When it comes to diversity, “funnel effectiveness” considers:

  • the number or % of underrepresented candidates that make it to phone screen

  • the number or % of underrepresented candidates that pass through from phone screen to onsite

  • the number or % of job offers extended to underrepresented candidates 

  • the number or % of offers accepted by underrepresented candidates 

Passthrough rates reveal where systemic biases might show up—by role, recruiter, or hiring manager—as some candidate segments get stuck at certain stages of the funnel. Are certain groups disproportionately dropping out of the funnel at specific points in the process?

How to Measure Diversity in Your Hiring Efforts (2)

Diversity recruiting metric #3: source of hire

This is a data point you’re probably used to tracking for your hires as a whole; but drill down for underrepresented talent specifically. Source of hire assesses how many qualified (and, in this case, how many underrepresented) candidates are entering your funnel from a given source. It also assesses where your most successful candidates first heardabout your job opening (you can discover this with Google Analytics or candidate surveys). Which recruiting channels are most effective in attracting and converting a diverse slate of candidates to your org? How did you find last quarter’s, or last year’s, top performers? How did your best applicants find you? This data will help you determine where to reallocate or amp up your recruiting expenditures, which channels to stop spreading yourself thin for, and which programs and tools to invest in. 

Diversity recruiting metric #4: candidate experience

Ask both quantitative (numerical) and qualitative (verbal) questions in your candidate experience (CX) surveys. What’s the average satisfaction score for underrepresented candidates when it comes to your hiring process? How likely would they be to apply to your org again? How likely would they be to tell people in their networks to apply to your org? What was the most memorable part of the hiring process with you, and why? What was the most surprising part? At what stage (if any) did they feel least confident in their performance, and what could you have offered them at that moment? And so on. When you see trends in responses coming from underrepresented talent, act on them. Then monitor the changes in satisfaction scores after iterating your process.

Diversity recruiting metric #5: company demographics

Representation is one thing; retention is another. So take a demographic survey of your organization. Disaggregated data should be available from your HR department (it should exist in compliance with the EEOC and Civil Rights law). Slice the data by race, age, gender, LGBTQIA+ identity, and so on. Dig deeper than company-level metrics. It’s one thing for your organization to realize a 50/50 split of male and female employees; but if your male employees are all C-levels and your female employees are all in HR, your organization isn’t nearly as equitable as it appears with surface-level statistics. Slice by department, role, and seniority level to give yourself the complete view of your diversity landscape. Here’s what to compare those numbers to:

  • Industry averages. If you’re in an industry that struggles with URM representation, your initial diversity targets might be more moderate. If you’re trailing far behind your competitors, on the other hand, you might consider a more aggressive acquisition strategy. 

  • The demographics of your company’s location. (You can get this through local census data.) Does your workforce reflect the diversity of the communities you’re situated in? 

  • The demographics of your customers. Does your workforce reflect the diversity of the communities you serve?

Diversity recruiting metric #6: performance and retention

This is another set of diversity hiring metrics you’ll work with HR on. What’s the average turnover/retention rate of underrepresented talent within the first year—and how does it compare to the same rates for majority talent? What’s the average performance rating of underrepresented talent after the first year (and again, how does it compare)? What do hiring manager satisfaction scores for underrepresented talent look like—both individually and in aggregate? Remember, the “D” of “DEI” is inextricable from the “E” and the “I.” Without equity and inclusion, underrepresented employees won’t be promoted at the same rates as their peers; neither are they likely to stick around your company for long. So these data points will necessarily impact your diversity hiring efforts.

Diversity recruiting metric #7: employee satisfaction regarding company-wide DEI 

This data you’ll get through periodic surveys. What are employees’ satisfaction scores when it comes to all-things-DEI at your org? Do they feel like they belong at your company? Do they feel respected there? Do they feel like they can voice their opinions without fear of repercussions? Can they honestly say they have a friend at work? Compare the satisfaction scores of underrepresented employees with the satisfaction scores of majority employees.

Use these diversity hiring metrics not only to track your progress, but also to set clear(er) goals for yourself. Be willing to constantly iterate on, and improve, everything. This might mean closely observing click rates in your outreach to ensure the links in your messaging are resonating with the talent you hope to connect with. It might mean being the one to sit hiring managers down and talk to them about the ways unconscious bias can surface during interviews. And so on. Pay attention to both quantitative and qualitative data—the numbers your sourcing solutions and talent CRMs are giving you, and the direct feedback you get from candidates. Both data types will be crucial to your diversity hiring efforts—which we now know encompasses much, much more than the number of hires you’ll make this next quarter.

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