Hiring and Retention: Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace

“If you do not intentionally include, you unintentionally exclude.”
—Ekaterina Walter, Forbes

Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) matter in design as well as everywhere designers work. To optimally impact individual experience, corporate culture, creative output, and bottom lines, diversity of thought must be embraced at the executive level and supported through inclusive practices. The following opportunities and tactics can be used by business owners and managers as best practices in hiring (and retaining) with D&I as priorities.


Interview stage: Influencing the screening process

  • Be aware of the effects of unconscious biases in creating barriers for underrepresented groups, and make efforts to reduce such obstacles
  • Include diversity statements in job postings, e.g. “Women and minority applicants are strongly encouraged to apply”
  • Use social media to reach underrepresented groups
  • Participate in school/community job fairs in geographic areas that have diverse representation
  • Involve applicants in the discussion: “What is your take on D&I in the workplace?”
  • Identify critical characteristics that match your redefined corporate culture
  • Create a blind application process that focuses on skills sets
  • Examine the structural and status divides between those overseeing diversity recruitment versus those who have the power and authority to hire
  • Empower your diversity team to influence the final decision making


Training and mentoring

  • Make D&I training (see example here) mandatory company-wide and consider the most effective means and messages
  • Tap into existing talent by creating upward mentoring initiatives
  • Establish a mentorship (or “buddy”) program as a way of retaining underrepresented groups

Establishing an inclusive culture

  • Let all staff know your commitment to D&I when seeking referrals
  • Create a D&I committee that can examine, analyze, and recommend solutions
  • Highlight D&I efforts and resources during orientation and special events
  • Encourage collaboration across departments and levels to foster engagement
  • Develop a climate assessment including demographics/psychographics of administrators
  • Prevent burnout amongst underrepresented individuals by rotating participation in mentor programs, D&I committees, etc.

Sustaining success

  • Consider implementing annual “stay meetings
  • Celebrate diversity through voluntary social engagement, e.g. a multicultural potluck or “Learn at Lunch” series
  • Conduct a pre- and post-assessment of the impact of D&I efforts as they impact ROI

Resources & References