Diversity Hires Secret Weapon: Employee Referrals 


Are diversity hires a priority for your business? Diversity in the workplace can cause tension. It forces people to push themselves, think differently, and challenge their assumptions. You can’t build diverse teams without a combination of diversity and inclusion. Equal opportunities are a priority in a workplace for employees to feel regarded. However, many companies try to add inclusion to their business with standard methods, like diversity job fairs, with little to no data backing them up. Diversity recruiting is extremely difficult to accomplish. Most people think that the human resources department should be responsible in handling matters like this, when in reality all employees should be thinking about diversity in the workplace and inclusion around them.  Nevertheless, this doesn’t usually cross people’s minds when they think about their current positions. 

When tackling diversity hire initiatives, it is good to ask yourself: 

  • What will be the challenges of diversity hiring?
  • What will be the strengths of diversity hiring?

Take a look at your company and consider whether or not you lack diversity in the workplace. If the answer is yes, then it may be time to move towards using referrals as an incentive to diversify. Before you start anything, be mindful of legal and moral concerns when implementing diversity hiring changes. The difference lies between hiring practices versus recruiting practices. It is important to recognize hiring someone based on their specific race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, national origin or other protected category is not only wrong but also illegal. However, ensuring that a company has diverse candidates in its recruiting pipeline is critical for a successful diversity initiative. Diversity hiring takes special care to ensure that you are hiring free from biases that are unrelated to job performance. This technique allows you to welcome and consider all applicants while having diverse candidates in your recruiting pipeline.

A company can lack diversity for multiple reasons, consider the words you use in your job posting. Stray away from words like challenging, ambitious, dominant, and competitive. Instead, try using words like exceptional, motivated, go-getter, and professional. A lot of times someone can read a job listing and immediately notice words that may be a red flag to not work for that particular company. Take the time to view your job listing and adjust your phrasing to allow more diversity and less bias. 

Check out this quick tool to help you find words that may be turning off potential candidates here.

Incorporating your diversity initiatives with your employee referral initiatives is a great way to directly engage employees to think about diversity at your company.  Focusing on the recruiting pipeline will help to ensure diversity in future candidates, such as women and minorities. Companies will be able to take initiative and encourage a more diverse workforce by  increasing bonuses for these specific referrals. This is where ERIN comes into play, using a referral app allows you to create customized bonuses and incentives at the drop of a hat. These incentives drive workers to new limits, whether that is doing more in their usual position or even filling a position. Take advantage of using something like ERIN, which allows customization to new limits. 

Now that you have veered past the diversity referral setbacks, consider the benefits such as, reducing hire time, decreasing cost per hire, and improving the quality of hire. This is your chance to diminish barriers and hire employees based solely on their qualifications. ERIN is taking things a step further by using the incentive of diverse referrals to incorporate more diversity in the workplace. 

  1. Ask your employees to make more diverse referrals.

Is it really that easy? Pinterest took the initiative to test it out for themselves and noticed some pretty great results. Not only did they see a 24% increase in the percent of women referred, they also had a 55% increase in the percentage of candidates from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds. This goes to show the simplicity of asking your employees for their help on expanding diversity. 

  1. Offer special incentives for referrals from underrepresented groups.

Take Intel for example. Employees can earn a bonus of up to $4,000 if they refer a woman, underrepresented minority or veteran who is ultimately hired.  

  1. Look into employee referral apps like ERIN.

ERIN gives you the opportunity to add more diversity to your company with customized referrals and automation. Empower your employees to participate in your employee referral program without taking away from normal recruitment.

The TAKEAWAY:  If your initiative is to bring inclusion into your company one of the most direct and strategic ways is through referral apps. Consider ERIN when you want to expand your company in a new way. Take the steps to look at your business and decide whether you thrive on diversity or hide from it.