Diversity and Inclusion

Does Diverse Slate Hiring Work?

May 31, 2021
November 7, 2023
Manasi Patel
Lattice Team

Companies looking to build more representative workforces are turning to a recruiting strategy called diverse slate hiring. Designed to make hiring more inclusive, this approach requires hiring managers and recruiters to fill positions using a diverse pool or “slate” of qualified candidates.

So, just how well does this practice translate into workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I)? We’ll explore the different aspects of diverse slate hiring.

What is diverse slate hiring?

Diverse slate hiring is a talent acquisition strategy that requires recruiters to start with an already diverse pool of qualified candidates. From the earliest stages of the hiring process, recruiting teams play an instrumental role in seeking out (and interviewing) talent from various backgrounds, identities, and experiences.

Diverse slate hiring originates from the National Football League’s implementation of the Rooney Rule in 2003, which signaled a pointed effort to increase minority representation among coaching staff. With the rule’s implementation, the number of minority head coaches jumped from 6% to 22% in a span of just four years. Since then, diverse slate hiring has been gradually implemented at many other American businesses.

Why does diverse slate hiring matter?

HR teams know that implementing any successful DE&I initiative takes time and effort. But the benefits that come with having a diverse workforce are well documented, and include:

  • An adaptable and accepting work culture
  • Business value driven by fresh perspectives
  • Higher employee engagement
  • Expanded skill sets
  • More representative customer service

Different strengths and perspectives have the capacity to evoke change on a massive scale, especially when given the platform and resources to do so. For any company that prioritizes steady, positive growth, it’s vital that they value every voice that’s ready to contribute to the conversation.

How effective is diverse slate hiring?

As straightforward as it sounds, the implementation of diverse slate hiring is incredibly nuanced. It’s a practice best supported by teams who have outlined their desire for more diverse staff and recruiters who have invested time in completing diversity, equity, and inclusion training.

Alina Clark, Growth Manager of the software company CocoDoc, stands by the value of welcoming employees with diverse backgrounds. She shared that diverse slate hiring isn’t about quotas or “diversity candidates,” but making a genuine impact on your culture and business.

“Diverse hiring shouldn’t be done for the face of it, but rather with an intention to challenge company cultures and push for growth,” Clark said.

Successful implementation requires organic, genuine interest on the part of recruiters and hiring teams. Without it, the existing bias of employees and the company as a whole will be left unchallenged. Business consultant Katie McLaughlin believes that “when the outcomes are focused on the overall work culture of a company, then efforts in pursuit of diverse slate hiring will yield more hires naturally.”

So, what ensures the long-term success of diverse slate hiring? Ultimately, it comes down to an equal focus on diverse attrition. CEO and Founder of DYP Consulting Paula Bowie offered her experiences of “situations where managers have made real progress in diverse hiring, only to lose more diverse individuals than they hired because there was insufficient focus on making them feel welcome and included.”

As a general rule, the values behind diverse slate hiring must always be at the forefront of its implementation in workforces. Understanding the desperate need for equal representation in virtually every industry and working towards it can bring companies closer to the kind of growth and innovation they have always envisioned.

When executed with the proper knowledge and intentions, diverse slate hiring has the potential to promote equity and inclusion, one business at a time.