Best Practices for Diversity Recruitment in the Healthcare Sector

Written by: Lisa A. Burke
Published on: Jun 22, 2020

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Workplace diversity is a concept that your organization’s employees should reflect the characteristics of the greater population. We may divide diversity into two categories: 

“Inherent diversity” is what differentiates people from one another and includes race, ethnicity, gender,  religion, sexual orientation, national origin, age, as well as physical and intellectual capabilities.

“Acquired diversity” are those things we can gain through our experience in the world: education, experience, credentials, etc.

Inclusion can be defined as any approach that ensures employees are provided equal opportunities to succeed within the organization regardless of background.

Employing candidates from diverse backgrounds brings several important benefits to your organization. A diverse workforce enables your organization to penetrate new customer markets, develop a wider talent pipeline, increase employee retention, as well as fostering creative and innovative ideas as employees from diverse cultures often approach a given project from different perspectives.

Fostering a diverse workforce is also good for your organization’s bottom line. Per a 2015 study by Mckinsey entitled Diversity Matters which surveyed 366 public firms two key findings provide a clear link between diversity and revenue:

  • Gender diverse organizations generally perform 15% better (than those with a more homogenized workforce) in terms of revenue as compared with competitor organizations.
  • Ethnically diverse organizations are more likely to perform 35% better in terms of revenue than competitor organizations.

To realize the benefits of a diverse workforce, diversity recruitment needs to be practiced at all levels of the organization, from CNA through facility administrator. But, how to build such a strategy? In many cases, the building block exists right within your company in the form of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).

Employee Resource Groups are voluntary, employee-led groups made up of members who share common interests and cultural backgrounds, such as gender, race or ethnicity. These groups provide opportunities for companies to leverage the inclusive nature of their existing workforce to reach diverse customers and communities.

How to start an ERG? Very simple: recruit members via the organization intranet. ERGs need not be large and can be composed of 2-3 employees from each demographic who will partner with the recruitment and diversity teams to ensure that recruitment messaging is inclusive. A corollary benefit to ERGs is that they help facilitate the very inclusion that your company seeks to foster via its recruitment efforts. ERGs are a wonderful resource to build employee engagement and show that their opinion matters. By having ERG members participate in the recruitment process, they effectively become brand ambassadors to their communities.

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8 tips to create a diversity recruitment plan

Below we list several tips to build a comprehensive diversity recruitment plan and, where appropriate, how ERGs can play a pivotal role.

Consider Brand Messaging

Think about messaging across multiple channels, such as the organization’s website, social media pages and job boards. What impression is your organization making on potential candidates? Align with diverse organizations that can help build a diverse pool of talent.

The organization website is a critical branding tool viewed by most job candidates before they decide whether to apply. The 2018 Yello Diversity Survey found that 83% of candidates consider the diversity of an organization an important factor in deciding whether to apply or accept a job offer. Similarly to how ERG members can help craft the language of job descriptions, they can also assist with content preparation and image selection on the organization website and social media pages. For example, members of certain communities place a high value on family so any pictures that show family/children will be of particular relevance to this demographic. Other ERG members may point out that certain styles of clothing may be offensive to their culture and advise that they be omitted from the company site. ERG members may also monitor comments to social media posts from members of their communities and be given the authority to respond.

Examine the Diversity of Current Employees

To identify the best fit for your existing team, first evaluate the make-up of current staff. Ask yourself these questions:

1) Is the current staff representative of a diverse workplace? If not, what are the areas in need of improvement? For example, is your nursing team comprised solely of women?

2) What are diversity strengths across all departments of the company? How can those strengths be incorporated across all areas of the organization? For example, if residency programs of your facility have made a conscious effort to attract candidates from African American and Latino communities, these recruitment methods can be transferred to all departments, whether clinical or administrative. 


Members of  ERGs, such as those composed of African Americans, Latino, LGBT community, etc. can contact qualified candidates in their immediate circles online and in their community. These employees have access to candidates not easily reachable by recruiters and, as such, can help your organization.

An important recruitment tool is to join groups on social media and contribute to the discussion to build relationships with passive candidates. ERG members should be encouraged to join groups within their communities and actively promote job opportunities and their facility. 

Attend Career Fairs

ERG members should participate in virtual and live career fairs where they serve as “ brand ambassadors.” The primary benefit of including ERG members in these events is that they show prospective employees the value your organization places on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) while also fostering employee recognition and reward.

Utilize Technology to Reduce Bias

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology can help to reduce bias in the sourcing process. An AI resume screening tool reduces bias and enhances diversity by replacing a manual process with a system that objectively and consistently applies the same set of screening rules across all candidates. Automated screening tools are part of your Applicant Tracking System and search through your organization's existing candidate database, to filter for experience, education, credentials and other qualifications and apply this same process to new applicants to rate and shortlist the best fit candidates with no unconscious bias.

Prepare Diversity-Friendly Job Descriptions

Thorough and accurate job descriptions are essential in attracting top talent to your organization. The most effective job descriptions include not only the requisite responsibilities, skills, and qualifications but also something about company culture. It’s important that the job description doesn’t turn-off any potential candidate. For example, there are linguistic differences among diverse cultures that your organization may not recognize. ERG members can help prepare job descriptions that include commonly used language in their respective ethnic or cultural communities, thereby widening the talent pool.

Participate in the Interview Process

ERG members can also participate in the hiring process by conducting or taking part in pre-screening interviews. This will allow a connection between the candidate and ERG member of the same demographic who is able to bring valuable insights into the company culture in terms of diversity and inclusion. ERG members can also phrase questions to reduce the potential for offense or misunderstanding. The cooperation of ERG members in pre-screening interviews  can save your company significant time and expense by identifying those candidates who would not be a good fit for the company early in the process.

Offer Flexible Workplace Policies

Research has shown that offering a flexible workplace culture attracts candidates with diverse backgrounds:

  • A PricewaterHouse study found that millennials gravitate toward those employers that value work/life balance.
  • Research by McKinsey shows that the most important cultural benefits that women value within the healthcare sector are inclusiveness and scheduling flexibility. Admittedly within a hospital setting this may be hard to accommodate but options such as self-scheduling for nurses could be explored depending on unit size. Offering flexible work schedules and work/life balance will help your organization attract a more diverse talent pool while reducing employee turnover.


Successful recruitment is a mix of art and science. The science comes into play as recruiters recognize that there are certain knowledge, skills and competencies required for optimum performance. The art of recruitment involves the connection that your organization makes with prospective candidates via multiple messaging channels. By offering flex work schedules, using technology to limit bias and having ERG members participate in the recruitment process, your organization can attract a broad talent base that will foster innovation, and highlight your workplace as one that values a diverse culture.


Want to explore various advertising channels to reach a diverse candidate pool? Contact our Sales Director Traci Peppers at today.