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Talent Published Date, 2022

5 Strategies To Help Nonprofits Expand Diversity And Inclusion In Their Hiring

Created By: Kate Foster Vishniakova
September 22, 2022

The ability of nonprofit organizations to serve as a conduit for equality and progress shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Too often the assumption is made that a holistic approach to diversity will happen organically. In fact, the opposite is true. Building a diverse and inclusive workforce requires our time, attention, and constant vigilance.

Valuing BIPOC creativity is critical, but it’s even more important – and productive – to appreciate and embrace their voice and perspective when building a team. Few nonprofits have dedicated human resources departments. That role is typically woven into departments such as Administration or Finance — or outsourced to consulting firms. With limited human resource support, diversity and inclusion strategies may not be prioritized or feel like too large of a task for others to assume.

Caitlin Upshaw, the former Director of Human Resources, Equity, and Inclusion at Portland Center Stage in Portland, Oregon, told American Theatre Magazine that the most important thing human resources can do is standardize and equalize the hiring process, with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion. 

“There’s a tendency in industries that have ‘grown up’ without HR to continue to be kind of insular in their hiring,” Upshaw says, “often bringing in folks …from the same set of schools, or who know someone who knows someone—and that is truly damaging to our efforts to diversify our workforce and create inclusive organizations.” 

As Upshaw highlights, the insular nature of hiring into creative nonprofits can prove in direct opposition to organizational diversification efforts. This is not an issue that is singular to creative-focused organizations. Nonprofits across industries will typically center their hiring efforts on the paths of least resistance, opting for internal referrals or drawing from the same pools again and again.

When creating a DEI hiring plan for your nonprofit, consider including these 5 strategies below:

  1. Make a dedicated effort to find diverse groups of job candidates.
  2. Provide inclusion training to managers and employees and track and report DEI metrics.
  3. Create employee journey maps that allow HR leaders to identify the touchpoints where employees may experience bias.
  4. Utilize Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to create spaces for real talks, affinity groups, and professional and personal networking opportunities.
  5. Be transparent and publicly post pay scales for all positions allowing your organization to advance the industry’s equitable compensation practices across all positions.

As we all show up more intentionally in our work environments to ensure all voices are heard, nonprofits have a unique opportunity to create inclusive organizations that have a positive forward-driven impact across industries and within individuals.

Want to strengthen and grow the talent at your organization? Get in touch with Orr Group today to understand how we can help you attract and retain great people.

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