Talking about diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) at your company is one thing. Committing to it is another. And actively weaving inclusivity into every aspect of your hiring philosophy is something that many hope to master, but have not yet been able to.
One company that we believe most teams can learn from is the leading wedding marketplace organization The Knot Worldwide (TKWW).
In a Greenhouse podcast with Lauren Holzer, Vice President of Global Talent Acquisition at The Knot Worldwide, Lauren revealed how this global suite of brands powers an organization-wide willingness to embrace talent acquisition as a winning business strategy.
Something that particularly shines through is the TKWW team’s recognition of the value of diversity in the workplace. They use a number of initiatives, philosophies, strategies and tactics to make impactful improvements in this area.
We recently caught up with Lauren and stellar TKWW Sourcer and Talent Demand Specialists Ayana Singhateh and Joy McCants to dive deeper into their refined and structured approach to creating an inclusive hiring culture that brings in great talent. Read on to learn their strategies for success.
Can you tell us about your company's overall hiring philosophy and your ongoing commitment to DE&I?
Ayana: At TKWW, we are passionate about meeting the expectations of our teams, stakeholders and audience, as well as doing the right thing. That means that we’re committed to finding new ways to engage and attract diverse top talent, representing the voices of our employees and giving them options to learn from a variety of perspectives and facilitating a safe, inclusive workplace.
Lauren: A key part of our mission is to hire high-performing talent at TKWW – and DEI recruiting practices help drive this. We have a number of initiatives that help reach underrepresented talent, from sourcing to job and brand promotion to partnerships.
We then measure the demographics of our recruiting pipelines to determine if our efforts were successful. If not, we slow down the hiring process and push harder.
We strive for a hiring process that is equitable so decisions are based on competencies to ensure every candidate is evaluated in the same way. This helps us create an inclusive hiring process where candidates feel welcomed and represented during the hiring and onboarding experience.
Why do you think it’s important for companies to focus on top-of-funnel sourcing strategies to create a diverse talent pool?
Ayana: Top-of-funnel sourcing strategies are crucial. They allow companies to connect with and show up for underrepresented groups in diverse spaces.
Joy: When the goal is to reach underrepresented groups and share our job opportunities, the earlier the start, the better. Building diverse pipelines as soon as possible ultimately leads to hiring the best talent and giving the hiring team the best candidates to connect with.
Being intentional from the beginning sets the tone for the entire recruiting process – from the hiring team to the candidates we interact with.
– Joy McCants
Lauren: Overall, it’s important to get our brand and roles in front of more people to broaden the candidate pool. Focusing on proactive top-of-funnel sourcing only helps us be successful in that!
What are some tactics you’re using to diversify your pipeline?
Ayana: Because each department may have a different diversity need, I usually partner with recruiters in an intake session to learn the scope of the role and to identify the type of diversity gap. Once I determine where there might be a lack of representation, I blend a mix of sourcing strategies to search for top talent.
I develop a list of keywords for a role that targets the region, the job title and the skills and then I create a specific boolean search with LinkedIn. I also use custom filters on LinkedIn. For example, I created a custom Historically Black College and University (HBCU) filter that we can use to search for talent profiles within that demographic. We also have custom filters for specific organizations for different groups pertaining to race, gender and sexual orientation. Because we have a few evergreen roles, we also have created custom filters that pinpoint specific skills and industries.
Our team has also developed a talent toolkit with a directory of information that we use to map our markets, tap into diverse spaces and market our company and career vacancies. Our toolkit lists specific job boards, professional groups, schools and organizations that support a specific industry and diversity groups within that industry. We also sometimes use diversity-centered job boards to market our opportunities including Professional Diversity Network and Disability Solutions.
Lauren: In the end, we make hiring decisions based on competencies, but our team is committed to broadening the pool of candidates and ensuring we reach candidates from all backgrounds. These well-designed sourcing tactics help us to get our jobs and brands in front of more candidates.
How are you defining and measuring the success of your initiatives and practices?
Ayana: Consistently reviewing your data is key. During my intake sessions with recruiters, I like to inquire about the percentage range of diversity in their pipeline pool using Greenhouse demographic reports. We then talk about activity and outreach goals and track percentages of diverse candidates at each stage, from application through offer.
What advice do you have for people trying to get hiring manager alignment and company-wide buy-in for diversity sourcing strategies?
Ayana: I suggest starting small and developing a diversity sourcing strategy for the hiring managers that you partner with, and making sure the plan aligns with your company-wide diversity commitment.
Once you’re able to track and measure success from your smaller plan, you can create a long-term playbook to get buy-in from executive level management.
– Ayana Singhateh
Joy: I believe there’s a better chance of buy-in when there’s an emotional connection added to the conversation. When you explain to your teams the value and impact that hiring someone from an underrepresented background can have not only on the business, but that individual’s life, it can ignite excitement no matter how heavy the lift is.
Yes, we care about hiring the best person for the role, but making the process equitable and exciting for all participants will ultimately lead to the best results. My advice is to be open and honest with expectations, have real questions for the team to make sure they are leaving their bias at the door and go into each process with an open mind and a plan.
Lauren: Don’t be afraid to have the conversation over and over again. Keep pushing! DE&I is important to candidates, team members and stakeholders. Leaders should be prepared to share what they are doing to bolster inclusion in their team and organization. There are small things you can implement without permission like top-of-funnel initiatives, but the more leaders are involved, the more impact these efforts will have. DE&I is not just a recruiting function – it should be embedded in the way the company thinks about their product, community and all employee initiatives.
Are you ready to learn more actionable advice on how to reach your DE&I goals? Join us for Open Forum: Building Belonging on June 16. Register now to save your spot.