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Diversity Hiring Guide for HR to Leverage Workplace Diversity

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They say don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify.

True for investing money and investing in human resources as well.

Workplace diversity has become an increasingly important topic in recent years, and for good reasons. Companies that prioritize diversity hiring benefit from more inclusive workplace culture, improved productivity, and branding to attract top talent as well. A Research and Markets report[1] suggests that companies with highly diverse teams can increase cash flow to the tune of 2.5 times per employee. Diversity hiring impacts more than 3 in 4 job seekers in deciding whether to accept a job offer, says Glassdoor[2]. These give enough impetus to HR leaders to not just put effort into hiring for diversity but also introduce diversity training in the workplace.

In this guide, we’ll be exploring various aspects of diversity hiring, including types of diversity, legalities of workplace diversity, ways to build, train, and manage diversity in the workplace, nd in the end, examine how AI recruiting tools can help you build and optimize diversity hire programs.

Before we kick off, let’s discuss the fundamentals of diversity hiring.

Table of contents

What is diversity hiring?

Strictly speaking, diversity hiring is the practice of recruiting candidates from exactly what it sounds like – diverse backgrounds. This may include people of different races, ethnicities, religions, genders, sexual orientations, abilities, and experiences. By prioritizing diversity in hiring, companies can build more innovative, productive, and engaged teams to better meet their business goals.

What is workplace diversity?

Workplace diversity refers to the differences among people in an organization or workplace. (e.g. race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, education, experience, and more.)

‘Diversity hiring’ and ‘workplace diversity’ might sound like the same thing. But it’s important to note that they refer to different aspects of diversity. The primary difference being that workplace diversity is not just about hiring people from different backgrounds. It’s also about creating an environment where all employees feel welcome and respected. Workplace diversity centres around developing a culture of inclusiveness regardless of an individual’s diversity designation.

Next, let’s dig a little deeper and shed some light on types of diversity at the workplace and some uncommon diversity designations you may not be aware of.

Types of diversity in the workplace

When it comes to workplace diversity, you may be familiar with the different diversity categories that are typically based on a person’s background, beliefs, ethnicity or biology. Over the years, human resource experts have categorized the different types of diversity indicators to help organizations identify workplace diversity gaps and to plan accordingly to fill those gaps by developing and implementing effective diversity hiring strategies.

In general, you can expect the following diversity categories in the workplace:

Racial diversity

Racial diversity is based on the differences between people of different races and ethnicities. A racially diverse workforce is becoming more and more important in the US, particularly among the most racially diverse generation in history joining the workforce – Gen Z.

Cognitive diversity

Cognitive diversity refers to the way people think, process information, and approach problem-solving. Neurodiverse individuals fall into this category, and employers increasingly recognize the benefits of having a cognitively diverse workforce when it comes to innovation and creativity in the workplace.

Cultural diversity

Cultural diversity refers to the existence of a variety of cultural or ethnic groups within a workplace. It can include differences in language, religion, ethnicity, food, music, art, and more. Cultural diversity can be a source of camaraderie and creativity in the workplace.

Religious diversity

Religious diversity refers to the coexistence of different religions within a workplace, where individuals hold varying beliefs and practices in regard to spirituality and worship. Accommodating different religious practices and beliefs can lead to greater employee satisfaction.

Gender diversity

Gender diversity refers to the differences among people of different genders. Having a gender-diverse workforce can lead to better decision-making and problem-solving and can also help companies better serve their diverse customers.

In fact, a McKinsey & Company report[3] stated that companies that were leading in gender diversity were 15% more likely to achieve financial returns above projections based on national industry medians.

Disability diversity

The inclusion of people with physical, mental, or sensory impairments in the workplace comes under disability diversity. Accounting for disability diversity at workplace creates an environment to attract specially-abled top talents.

Now that we’ve covered the most common types of diversity to be aware of, let’s examine how some of the largest companies across the globe are handling diversity in the workplace.

Diversity hiring stats and what they mean

While quantifying ROI on diversity hiring can be tough, there are still ways to measure results over long periods of time.

Below are some of the latest stats on diversity hiring and the workplace trends they point to:

Diverse management outperformed their counterparts

A McKinsey research[4] in 2020 found that companies ranked in the top 25% in terms of diversity related to ethnicity and race showed 36% increase in profitability compared to those in the bottom 25%.

Diverse teams make better decisions

Forbes[5] reported that compared to individual decision-makers, all-male teams make better business decisions 58% of the time, while gender-diverse teams do so 73% of the time. Interestingly, for age-diverse teams, this marker is as high as 87%!

48% of Gen-Z are racial or ethnic minorities

Currently, 77%[6] of the U.S. workforce is made up of Caucasians. However, with the influx of the most historically diverse generation (Gen Z) into the workforce, organizations will need to prioritize diversity hiring more than ever to capture Gen Z talent.

Focus on inclusivity of disabled persons

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four adults (25%) in the United States has a disability. Promoting the inclusion of more disabled persons in the workplace needs to be prioritized by organizations.

LGBTQ+ community needs a push at the workplace

Studies have shown that 5.1% of US women identify as LGBTQ+ and 3.9% of US men. However, their representation in the workplace is much less. On a more positive note, 40% of employees state they would like their company to be LGBTQ+ Inclusive.

Being aware of these diversity hiring trends can help you gain an edge and better plan your recruitment agenda. But there’s nothing like learning from some of the largest companies out there.

Diversity examples from tech giants in the US

In this case, we’re talking about big tech companies. According to a 2022 study by the Information and Innovation Foundation reported that the tech industry employs 6.7% of the overall US workforce. (12.3 million people)Diversity examples from tech giants in the US


Over the last decade, Google has made significant progress in terms of diversity hiring. In 2021, 68% of Google’s new hires were women, and 25% were from underrepresented groups. Google has also launched a number of initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion, including a mentorship program for underrepresented groups and a diversity and inclusion training program for all employees.


Microsoft, with over 10,000 employees, ranks in the top 15% of US companies for its gender and diversity scores. Employees from diverse backgrounds and women both rated the company at A- for perks and benefits, CEO rating, and happiness. When asked whether they believe they’re paid fairly, 74% of women said yes, and 69% of diverse employees said the same.


Meta (formerly Facebook) has also made significant progress in recent years in terms of diversity hiring. In 2021, 60% of Meta’s new hires were women, and 30% were from underrepresented groups. Meta has also launched a number of initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion, including a mentorship program for underrepresented groups and a diversity and inclusion training program for all employees.

It’s important to note that as a result of the massive tech layoffs in 2022-2023, tech giants have come under pressure to bring workplace diversity back in line. There are speculations about whether diversity metrics were considered during the layoffs, a consideration which may become apparent over time.

But it does warrant examining the legal and ethical factors surrounding diversity hiring (or firing).

Legal and ethical aspects of diversity hiring

With diversity hiring becoming more and more important, some businesses and recruiters may think that ‘hiring for diversity’ is somehow discriminatory and worry that “reverse discrimination could land them in legal trouble.

Let’s be clear – Diversity hiring is legal.

However, by executing proper measures, statutes such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964[7], the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967[8], and the Americans with Disabilities Act[9], offer protection to individuals belonging to protected classes against prejudicial hiring practices. Similarly, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission[10] was instituted to ensure impartial hiring processes based on factors such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability, while simultaneously encouraging workplace diversity. The point is that assuming all other factors are equal, it’s not only permissible to select a candidate belonging to a protected class over a non-member, it’s a step in the right direction to creating a diverse workforce and reducing hiring biases in the first place.

Building a diverse workforce

The idea behind diversity hiring efforts is to create a workforce that is reflective of society as a whole, as it tends to promote a workplace culture that values and respects all employees, regardless of their differences.

Let’s explore some of the ways to identify and mitigate potential biases when sourcing, screening, and shortlisting candidates that may intentionally or unintentionally exclude qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds.

Step #1: Conduct a diversity hiring audit

it’s crucial to analyze your hiring data and identify any bottlenecks or inconsistencies in the current process. This assessment can help determine if the issue lies in the beginning stages of recruitment, such as attracting a diverse applicant pool, or if it stems from later stages like retaining diverse candidates.

Without this analysis, it is challenging to gain an accurate understanding of how to make meaningful changes to enhance diversity hiring.

Step #2: Improve one diversity metric at a time

Revamping diversity hiring metrics can seem daunting, so it’s more feasible to focus on improving one metric at a time. One example could be to launch an initiative to increase the number of qualified women in technology-related positions by 10% within six months.

Step #3: Increase candidate diversity in sourcing

To ensure a diverse workforce, it’s essential to have a diverse applicant pool. One way to attract more diverse candidates is to ensure job descriptions are crafted to eliminate gender or age biases. You can also highlight existing workplace diversity and encourage minority employees to make referrals.

Step #4: Be more mindful in candidate screening

Some of the typical criteria used for candidate screening, such as evaluating prior company, education, and even social media accounts, often decrease the diversity of the candidate pipeline. To bypass this, HR researchers have found personality assessments help increase workplace diversity because they don’t differ significantly for minority group members.

Additionally, blind hiring methods can increase diversity hiring. One report in Forbes[11] report pointed out that blind auditions increased women’s chances of being hired by 25–46%.

Step #5: Shortlist candidates per diversity goals

Deciding who to shortlist and hire can be the hardest part of a diversity recruiting strategy because, at this stage, you know various aspects about the candidates.

To combat this challenge of diversity hiring, Harvard Business Review suggests a two-in-the-pool method works. It basically suggests that when the final candidate pool has only one minority candidate, he or she has virtually no chance of being hired. So, it’s always better to have at least two diverse candidates shortlisted.

Another important element of a successful diversity hiring program is to track your progress. You can do this by monitoring some key diversity metrics.

Diversity metrics you should be tracking


The percentage of employees in the organization from different demographic groups, such as gender, race, ethnicity, age, and sexual orientation.

Turnover rate

It is important to monitor the employee turnover rate – specifically to identify patterns that indicate if employees in underrepresented classes have a higher turnover rate.

Hiring rate

The percentage of diverse candidates hired in comparison to the total number of new hires.

Promotion rate

How many diverse employees are being promoted compared to the total number of promotions? Analyzing this metric can provide critical insights into why the number of diverse employee promotions is low and allow you to make strategic decisions to improve upon it.

Employee engagement

Measuring employee satisfaction and commitment to their job can provide insights into how effective and inclusive workplace culture is.

Diversity training in the workplace

Hiring for the sake of diversity alone is not enough to achieve your diversity goals. You’ll also need to know how to sustain, nurture, and improve it to make the most of your diverse workforce. That’s where diversity training in the workplace can be very helpful.

Workplace diversity training increases awareness and appreciation for diversity among co-workers, improves interpersonal and communication skills across diverse backgrounds, and fosters a positive work environment.

Below we explore the core components of diversity training in the workplace that can be practiced across all teams and seniority levels.

Managing unconscious bias

Raise awareness and provide strategies to mitigate biases that affect decisions and actions.

Diffusing microaggressions

Identify and interrupt subtle discriminatory comments or actions toward diverse individuals or groups.

Cultural sensitivity

Develop skills to work effectively and respectfully with people from different cultural backgrounds.

Addressing stereotypes

Highlight and address stereotypes that can lead to discrimination, prejudice, and exclusion of diverse individuals or groups.

Promoting allyship

Understand and practice allyship to support and advocate for marginalized groups and create a more inclusive workplace culture.

Key Takeaways

Diversity hiring is not a one-time effort but a continuous process to maintain a diverse company culture of inclusiveness in the workplace. It’s important to stay flexible yet focused while building a diverse workforce from scratch. And while it requires a human touch, intelligent diversity tools can help take the load of the manual, repetitive tasks involved.

An AI recruiting tool, like Arya by Leoforce, has diversity built-in, delivering diverse candidates but eliminating bias. When creating a job, clients can enable diversity indicators based on their organization’s diversity goals. Arya delivers a list of candidates, scored and ranked for compatibility, highlighting the candidates who match the diversity indicator, but doesn’t select only candidates in the selected underrepresented class. The result – an unbiased and diverse list of qualified candidates, giving the recruiter the power to choose the appropriate candidate for the organization.

To see it in action, take a demo today!


Why are there diversity hires?

Diversity hires promote inclusivity and bring diverse perspectives to the workplace.

What are diversity hiring rules?

Diversity hiring rules ensure that employers do not discriminate based on protected characteristics.

How do you say candidate is diverse?

A candidate is diverse if they bring a unique perspective or background to the workplace.

Are diversity hires legal?

Diversity hires are legal as long as they are not based on discriminatory hiring practices.

How do you include diversity when hiring?

To include diversity when hiring, create a diverse hiring team, use diverse job boards, and focus on skills.

What are challenges to diversity hiring?

Challenges to diversity hiring include unconscious bias, limited candidate pools, and lack of diversity in leadership.

What is meant by workplace diversity?

Workplace diversity refers to the differences among employees in terms of their backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.

What are the 4 types of diversity in the workplace?

The four major types of diversity in the workplace are racial diversity, cognitive diversity, cultural diversity and gender diversity.

What is workplace diversity example?

A workplace diversity example is a team composed of individuals with different cultural and language backgrounds.

What should be included in diversity training?

Diversity training should include topics such as cultural competence, unconscious bias, and creating an inclusive workplace culture.



[1] https://www.yahoo.com/now/diversity-inclusion-d-global-market-102300289.html

[2] https://www.glassdoor.com/employers/blog/diversity/

[3] https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/why-diversity-matters

[4] https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/diversity-wins-how-inclusion-matters

[5] https://www.forbes.com./sites/eriklarson/2017/09/21/new-research-diversity-inclusion-better-decision-making-at-work/?sh=64b3ed38372d

[6] https://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/race-and-ethnicity/2021/home.htm

[7] https://www.eeoc.gov/statutes/title-vii-civil-rights-act-1964

[8] https://www.eeoc.gov/statutes/age-discrimination-employment-act-1967

[9] https://www.ada.gov/

[10] https://www.usa.gov/federal-agencies/equal-employment-opportunity-commission

[11] https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanresourcescouncil/2018/04/03/the-benefits-and-shortcomings-of-blind-hiring-in-the-recruitment-process/?sh=12a212fe38a3

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