How to Retain Diverse Talent

HR leaders are feeling societal pressure to create an inclusive workplace. 48% feel pressure to meet diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI) requirements, which means the door is open to foster a culture of diverse talent retention. Retaining talent and retaining underrepresented talent requires a different set of strategies—but ones that can pay off immensely. 85% of CEOs say their diverse workplace has also greatly improved their bottom lines.

According to a Glassdoor survey, over 50% of employees feel their workplace should do more to increase diversity. In fact, 75% of job seekers are looking for companies that have clear DEI cultures. Companies that are successful in their diversity initiatives and treat them with equity often experience higher retention rates and teams that are better at problem-solving.

Retaining top, diverse talent should be an important business objective, if it isn’t already. Keep reading to learn the best practices and top strategies to attract and retain diverse talent in your organization.

Understanding diverse talent

Diverse talent refers to companies with an inclusive culture that hire people from various backgrounds. Many associate this with hiring equity in race and gender, but it can also include members of communities such as:

  • Women
  • Those with a disability
  • Religion
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Other minority groups

Cognitive workplace diversity fosters innovation

Hiring employees with different life experiences and education can also contribute to a diverse workforce, balancing staff with many years of experience and those new to the industry. This balance creates excellent mentorship opportunities and can be used for succession planning.

Diverse talent can foster greater innovation. One study by the University of Chicago found that diverse workplaces drive 6% greater revenue, 15% more customer wins, and earn higher market share. This is likely because their different backgrounds, knowledge, and experience provide multiple perspectives to the team.

The Diversity Wheel

Benefits of retaining diverse talent

The benefits of finding and retaining diverse talent in your workplace are many. If your organization can retain high-functioning, diverse teams, you might expect the following:

Oleg Segal, CEO and Founder of DealA, says retaining diverse talent is a priority at their company. “One of the most effective strategies we've employed to retain diverse talent involves creating an inclusive culture that celebrates diversity at every level of the organization, he says. “This means hiring for diversity and building an environment where different perspectives are valued and encouraged.”

Accenture’s successful diversity culture

Accenture (a global professional service company) is strongly dedicated to diversity in its workplace. According to Refinitiv’s Diversity and Inclusion Index, they’re currently #5 in the world and the top technology company on the list. They practice diversity and inclusion by:

  • Hiring a diverse board of directors with 42% women and a cross-section of geographic representation
  • Having a solid anti-racism stance
  • Providing equality in hiring through unconscious bias training
  • Continually reassessing their diversity and inclusion initiatives
  • Committing to equal pay for equal work, with 100% pay equity

Challenges in retaining diverse talent

Employee turnover can be high in organizations where staff don’t feel valued and equal to their peers. You may hear some of the following complaints about your diversity program:

  • “No one is complaining about our current practices.” Just because your HR department isn’t getting complaints doesn’t mean your staff is 100% happy. Consider conducting focus groups or anonymous surveys to understand whether staff feel connected to their co-workers and if the corporate environment is inclusive.
  • “We don’t have the resources to upskill staff internally.” Look for external consulting and training companies to upskill and reskill your staff. Businesses like Lighthouse Labs can create a customized tech training program and deliver it during business hours or as a part-time course.
  • “Some have called our hiring practices biased.” If your hiring practices invite unconscious bias, have your hiring team take unconscious bias training and read these tips for a more equitable hiring process.
  • “How do we measure the success of our inclusion and diversity initiatives?” Your management team may want hard facts and numbers to determine whether their investment in diversity is paying off. Based on your diversity goals, you can measure employee retention rates for different demographic groups and compare these groups to each other to ensure more equitable talent and treatment within your organization.
If you’re struggling to find quality, diverse candidates, consider hiring from Lighthouse Labs’ tech graduate database. Here are 4 ways Lighthouse Labs’ Career Services team supports Employers.

Strategies for diverse employee retention

You can play a big role in diverse employee retention. Here are some proven strategies to help attract, nurture, and retain the best talent for your organization.

Support inclusive leadership

Your management and team leaders will be your biggest champions of your diversity initiatives and support. Ensure they have the training they need to support your team. Provide regular diversity and inclusion training to help your leaders create more inclusive environments and assess if their words and actions are culturally sensitive and appropriate. Unconscious bias includes an individual’s subconscious attitude towards something or someone, usually based on perpetuated stereotypes. When unconscious bias comes into play, the individual may not even recognize they’re doing it. For example, unconscious bias happens when a hiring manager makes an assumption about a candidate based on their name or something in their application. To help your team make more inclusive hiring and promotion decisions, provide unconscious bias training so they can learn to recognize their own biases.

Provide career development opportunities

When choosing a job, many candidates look at the opportunities for career development and advancement with a potential employer. It’s the second most important attribute when considering employment. Your organization can attract diverse candidates when you provide career development opportunities.

Here are some ways your organization can provide career development opportunities:

  • Actively recruit from within before looking for external candidates for a position
  • Outline clear criteria for internal promotions
  • Provide mentorship opportunities
  • Create opportunities to upskill or reskill your staff. Segal says that continuous learning and upskilling play a crucial role in the retention of diverse employees: “By investing in the professional growth of our team, we signal our commitment to their future. Initiatives like personalized development plans, access to online courses, and mentorship programs have been instrumental.” He also mentions that he sees other businesses incorrectly assuming that a one-size-fits-all training or upskilling program is sufficient. “We've found that tailoring these opportunities to meet the unique needs and career aspirations of each employee is key.

Explore Lighthouse Labs’ customized, tailored learning solutions to upskill your team and develop diverse talent.

Foster a positive, inclusive company culture

Everyone deserves to feel safe and included in the workplace. Create an inclusive environment where your staff feel comfortable being themselves. No one should be afraid to:

  • Ask for time off for a religious occasion
  • Share their ideas for fear of being discounted
  • Call out acts of inequity they observe
  • Share their feedback on creating a more productive or inclusive workplace
  • Ask for a merit-based promotion

When employees feel included in the company culture, they’re more likely to make better team decisions 87% of the time. Remember to ask your employees how they feel about the company culture so you can continually work to make it more inclusive.

Focus on inclusive hiring practices

Merit-based hiring and onboarding practices support inclusivity in the workplace. Companies with inclusive hiring practices often experience:

  • 72% higher employee productivity
  • 45% increase in workplace safety
  • 28% higher revenue
  • 30% higher profit margins
  • 2x more net income

Inclusive hiring means hiring without conscious or unconscious bias and focusing on the candidate's ability and experience to do the job (not based on their gender, skin colour, or religious beliefs). Create a candidate matrix and score every candidate’s professional experience and ability on the same scale to help minimize bias in hiring.

You can also create hiring equity in your organization by:

  • Removing gendered language in titles and job descriptions
  • Do blind resume evaluations, looking at only education, skills and experience, not name or other demographic information
  • Ask candidates to do a skills assessment or test
  • Standardize your interview questions for all candidates
  • Do panel interviews to ensure equitable treatment of candidates

Commit to wage equity

Are you committed to transparent pay equity at your organization? While steps are being taken to close the gender and race pay gap, Caucasian men are typically paid more than their female counterparts for doing the same job. Here are some examples of how much women of different ethnicities are paid per dollar a man makes:

  • Caucasian women: $0.84
  • Black women: $0.64
  • Native American women: $0.59
  • Latinas: $0.55

Commit to pay transparency in your organization to help all staff feel their contributions are rewarded equally.

Ask for feedback and adapt

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace aren’t projects you do once and forget about. As your staff and company evolve, reevaluate your inclusion initiatives to ensure they’re still contributing to equity in your organization. Talk to your team members about their job satisfaction and get their ideas about how equitable and inclusive your organization is in hiring and retaining diverse talent.

Listen and adapt your practices to create a more equitable environment.

Preparing staff for diverse workplaces with upskilling/reskilling

Lighthouse Labs helps prepare graduates for employment in workplaces that value diversity. We’ve prepared over 40,000 tech graduates for careers in today’s top technology companies, and recently completed our ICT Boost initiative with the Canadian government, offering 1,700 equity-deserving individuals with fully-funded learning opportunities. Organizations like yours can browse our list of diverse, job-ready candidates who are ready and waiting for a rewarding career at your company.

We also support companies by providing in-demand upskilling and reskilling courses in data, web development, and cybersecurity. Your organization may have hidden sources of tech talent that are not fully utilized. Our programs help your internal staff upskill to earn promotions and advance innovation within your company.

Book a discovery call consultation to learn how our bespoke training solutions can address your unique business needs. BOOK A CALL