Recruitment Marketing

How to Align Recruitment Marketing to Your Diversity and Inclusion Objectives

Profile photo of Lori Sylvia
Written by Lori Sylvia
How to Align Recruitment Marketing to Your Diversity and Inclusion Objectives
4.9 (97.78%) 9 votes

With Diversity and Inclusion a key priority for talent acquisition leaders and CHROs, how well are you aligning your Recruitment Marketing strategy to achieving these important corporate objectives?

In Recruitment Marketing, we’re always on the look-out for ways to prove our value. One way we can demonstrate the value of our strategy (and our value as practitioners!) is to show how our Recruitment Marketing and Employer Branding plans directly support our company’s objectives for Diversity and Inclusion.

To dive into this topic, I caught up with Aubrey Blanche, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at collaboration software provider Atlassian. I saw Aubrey speak on a panel at the Social Recruiting Strategies Conference in February, and was really inspired to see how she’s partnering across Atlassian’s talent acquisition team to incorporate D&I into Atlassian’s talent attraction strategies.

Here are 6 questions to ask to ensure your Recruitment Marketing strategy is aligned to your company’s Diversity and Inclusion objectives, and to showcase your own strategic thinking in the process!

1. Start at the top: What are your company’s objectives for Diversity and Inclusion, are the objectives stated publicly and who is accountable for reporting the results?

Diversity and Inclusion has become more than a TA and HR objective – at many companies, it’s a strategic priority for the corner office and the boardroom.

Well-known companies like Intel, Ericsson and Accenture have made bold, public pledges about expanding the diversity and inclusiveness of their workforce. Your CEO may even be one of the 400 members of the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace.

As recruitment marketers, we know the importance of transparency and authenticity. A corporate pledge to create a diverse and inclusive workplace will feel empty without showing candidates what actions you’re taking to fulfill this commitment, and how much progress you’re making.

Atlassian publishes an annual report to hold itself publicly accountable for its progress in reaching its Diversity and Inclusion goals. Aubrey believes that change doesn’t happen without accountability. Aubrey shared that Atlassian’s ethos is “to build balanced teams.” So they track, measure and report on diversity at the team level, including hiring rates, attrition rates and promotion velocity, including where they’re succeeding and where they still have work to do.

Action Item: Learn what are your company’s goals this year for Diversity and Inclusion. Lead the initiative to be transparent with your D&I results! Make it part of your communications strategy to share your company’s Diversity and Inclusion commitment statement, specific actions and open progress on your company’s website.

2. Conduct an audit: Is your Employer Value Proposition appealing to a diverse range of candidates?

An Employer Value Proposition (EVP) is the full experience and benefits that you provide to people who work for your company. If you already have your EVP defined, take this opportunity to review it through the eyes of the diverse candidate groups you’re trying to attract, to consider if the EVP is inclusive and appealing to all your target audiences.

If you’ve yet to formally capture your EVP, this is a great chance to consider and include diverse perspectives in the process.

“It’s important that the employer brand signals to everyone that they’re welcome at Atlassian,” said Aubrey. “But find a balance between aspiration and reality – if you sell something in your employer brand that’s not reality, candidates will see through it. Candidates know that companies aren’t perfect, but they want to know you’re making progress.”

Action Item: Find out the “reality” of your EVP by going straight to the source: your employees. Data-driven survey tools like The Muse BrandBuilder can uncover the authentic aspects of your EVP, told by your employees’ stories about working with your company.

3. Update your personas: Which audiences are you trying to attract?Candidat persona template and examples

As your D&I initiatives progress, your company’s recruiting strategy will be constantly adapting to reach underrepresented groups, and that’s your cue to stay aligned on target candidate personas.

“A question that we continually ask ourselves is, Does our office reflect the community that it’s in?” said Aubrey. “We look at our workforce to understand what groups are underrepresented or marginalized, and that may be different based on the location.”

Creating an empathy map for each candidate persona will help you know what messages and what channels are best to reach and connect with the candidates you’re seeking.

Action Item: As you build a partnership with your senior-most leader responsible day-to-day for your company’s Diversity and Inclusion strategy and results, it will be critically important that you get aligned on precisely who you are trying to attract and recruit into your organization. Update your target candidate personas 2-4 times a year to ensure that your Recruitment Marketing campaigns are aligned to your D&I objectives.

4. What’s your message: What are you communicating about your culture and values to attract and reach more diverse audiences?

Messaging is one of the most important aspects to our Recruitment Marketing strategy. If done well, we’ll attract our right-fit candidates to us from the start.

When it comes to Diversity and Inclusion, pictures are a stronger proof point than words on your career site. Candidates not only want to know what it’s like to work at your company, they also want to see who works at your company.

At SRSC, the panelists strongly advised against using stock photography, but at the same time recommended using the most diverse and inclusive photos you can of your employees.

“Try to mirror your target audiences, but do so authentically,” added Aubrey. “If there are diverse groups that are currently underrepresented, be transparent, then communicate your objectives.”

Here’s an example from Qualcomm showcasing engineering careers, and letting pictures communicate who they’re trying to attract.

But words are important too. Especially words that can exclude people due to unconscious bias. Some tech startups have received criticism for targeting too narrow of a demographic in their messaging (young male developers) by using words like “rockstar” or talking about a “beer fridge” or “foosball table.”

“Are you narrowing your candidate funnel with your messaging?” Aubrey asks. “Be conscious of subtle signals, like do benefits and perks only speak to one demographic?” For example, Atlassian’s benefits describe a “fully stocked kitchen” rather than a beer fridge, and highlights their programs and policies for “work/life balance.”

They also use Textio to help remove unconscious bias from their job descriptions and ensure their language is gender neutral and inclusive.

Action Item: Review the photos and videos on your career site and social channels, and ensure they’re reflecting your current employees as well as emphasizing the candidate personas you’re trying to attract to support your D&I objectives. These days all you need is a smartphone to take great photos, but consider an employer branding agency to be your partner in telling your story. Companies like TMP Worldwide, Stories Incorporated, The Muse and KRT Marketing are just a few that can help.

5. Check your presence: What channels are you using to deliver your message to reach intended audiences?

As you continually update your personas and messaging to ensure they align with your Diversity and Inclusion objectives, you also need to assess the channels that you’re using in your Recruitment Marketing strategy.

Where are your target candidate personas spending time, both online and off?  

There are many communities you can tap into to reach active job seekers in general as well as groups like millennials, women and veterans. Sites include: Glassdoor, The Muse, Fairygodboss, and, as well as organizations and conferences like Afrotech and Grace Hopper.

Many of these communities provide a way for employers to essentially market themselves and their job opportunities to their communities, usually with both free and paid options.

“Diversity is the outcome of how we raise our standards. It’s a threat to the business if we don’t have the institutional will to make positive change,” said Aubrey.

Action Item: Make sure your company is found when and where people are looking. Search Google yourself from the perspective of your target candidate personas and see if they will discover your company and find your career opportunities. Craft their candidate journey by creating personalized landing pages, like these great examples from Tenable for recruiting interns and women engineers, so that your target candidates can instantly connect with your messaging and picture themselves at your company.

6. Report your progress: What results should be measured and reported to leadership?

Analytics and measurement is an ongoing hot topic for Recruitment Marketing because we’re still figuring out how to show the effectiveness of our results, and that includes initiatives around Diversity and Inclusion.

Our advice at Rally is to connect the dots for your leadership, striving to get as close as possible between your top-of-the-funnel Recruitment Marketing activities and the bottom-of-the-funnel hiring outcomes.

For example, if your company has a goal of hiring 100 women engineers, put together a Recruitment Marketing plan for how you will support that goal, and then report on the results of each plan component and how you have helped build a talent pipeline and driven applicants (and new hires if you can connect that dot too!).

Your plan may include exhibiting at Grace Hopper. Report on:

  • Number of contacts made in your booth now added to your talent network
  • Number of applicants that came from the event, during and after
  • Number of event applicants that made it to screening, interview, offer, acceptance, new hire and onboarding stages
  • Total cost to exhibit, and then cost per contact (lead), applicant, screen, etc.

Action Item: Ensure that your reporting aligns with your recruiting funnel and / or hiring stages. It will be more meaningful to leadership than impressions or page views, even though those metrics are important to you to know if you’re campaigns are on track.

“Ultimately, Diversity and Inclusion must become more than an initiative. It must become woven throughout everything you do as a company,” said Aubrey, which is why she partners not only with TA but also with company leadership to make Atlassian’s D&I commitment, objectives and results so transparent.

And ultimately, this important corporate priority must be woven throughout your Recruitment Marketing plan as well, to ensure that you’re attracting and reaching the right candidate personas with the right messaging through the right channels. Considering some of the key areas outlined in this blog post as part of your Recruitment Marketing strategy is a great way to make an impact on your company and your career.

If you’d like more resources on D&I, here’s a Slideshare presentation on How to Align Recruitment Marketing to Diversity & Inclusion that I presented to the New England Talent Acquisition Consortium (NETAC).

How to Align Recruitment Marketing to Your Diversity and Inclusion Objectives
4.9 (97.78%) 9 votes

About the Author

Profile photo of Lori Sylvia

Lori Sylvia

Recruitment Marketing evangelist and community builder. Founder of Rally.

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