Unleashing the Power of DEI: Proven Strategies for Inclusive Workplaces

April 10, 2024
Checkr Editor

In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, organizations are increasingly recognizing the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in creating a thriving and innovative workplace. HR professionals play a crucial role in driving DEI initiatives and implementing strategies that foster an inclusive and diverse workforce. In a recent webinar hosted by Checkr and Greenhouse, industry experts shared valuable insights on key strategies for HR professionals to consider. 

We’ve gathered key takeaways and top action items in this blog, or you can watch the full recording here. HR leaders featured in this panel:

Breaking the paper ceiling

Traditional hiring practices often rely on rigid requirements, like specific academic degrees, which can unnecessarily limit your talent pool. By shifting the focus to skills and experiences, organizations can unlock a wealth of untapped potential. As Adasi highlighted, "We're looking at skills plus experience and how candidates perform in the interview itself. We're giving people a chance beyond just the piece of paper." By providing a holistic evaluation of candidates, considering their skills, experiences, and references, organizations can foster a fair and inclusive selection process.

"Being able to identify candidates with a skill-based approach opens up the opportunity to increase the diverse candidate pool, which will help diversify your organization by bringing diverse talent," said Jones. Plus, as Dyer emphasized during the panel discussion, integrating skills-based hiring practices with fair chance hiring policies can help companies tap into a large swath of talent that is often overlooked (justice-impacted candidates). 

By embracing skills-based hiring, companies have the opportunity to foster innovation, enhance their profit margins, and create a more diverse workforce, as Adasi noted in this specific example from her team’s efforts at Greenhouse: "Collaborating with employees with disabilities helped us expand and develop a new product, which then helped us increase our market share by X percent." 

Fair chance hiring and overcoming bias

Fair chance hiring practices play a pivotal role in addressing the stigma and bias associated with individuals who have arrest or conviction records—a group that accounts for 80 million adults in America alone. "By implementing fair chance hiring practices, companies are opening themselves up to a much greater talent pool, which allows them to identify and land the best talent, regardless of their records," says Dyer. 

Organizations that follow procedures designed to prevent discrimination and conduct individualized assessments may not only increase representation but also benefit from highly performing, loyal employees. Dyer shared, “Data shows that these employees are some of the highest performers. They're incredibly loyal, and they actually stay longer than their counterparts without records. And we've also seen higher promotion rates, at faster rates, [at Checkr].”

Dyer recommends training hiring managers to consistently use the nature-time-nature test or “Green factors” guidelines from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), to evaluate the relevance of a conviction or arrest record to the job position sought when conducting individualized assessments. “You want to make sure you really understand what the candidates bringing to the table and the transferable skills that they have before you're making any decisions based on something in their past,” says Dyer. Background check tools that allow you to automatically filter information so that hiring managers only view relevant, legally reportable records can also help your team reduce bias and perform consistent, fair adjudication.

Creating a culture of belonging from day one

The onboarding process serves as a crucial opportunity to establish an inclusive environment where employees feel a sense of belonging. By aligning the onboarding process with DEI principles, organizations can empower individuals to bring their authentic selves to work. "The initial few weeks in a new position are super critical to making sure someone feels part of the team and the organization right away," Jones noted. "The onboarding period, in my eyes, is just as important as the recruitment and hiring process."

Adasi added that employers need to consider the significance of structure and consistency in the onboarding process. By providing onboarding cohorts and implementing tools like checklists, organizations can build an inclusive onboarding experience that promotes retention. Adasi shared, "At Greenhouse, we try to make sure there's a lot of structure from having onboarding buddies pretty early on, all the way through." She also highlighted the positive outcomes of an inclusive onboarding approach, stating, "By making sure that people feel like they actually belong coming in, we're seeing tangible outputs when it comes to survey data, and in the number of people who are staying."

At Checkr, Dyer noted that, "We really feel like if you support individuals who may need a higher level of support, you get stronger results for everyone." She added that by creating a strong onboarding process for individuals reentering the workforce, they discovered potential improvements to the onboarding experience of all employees—further highlighting the benefit of building an intentional, inclusive onboarding flow that meets the needs of diverse employees.

Design your HR tech stack to support DEI

By implementing strategies like skills-based assessments, fair chance hiring, and creating a culture of belonging through inclusive onboarding, HR professionals can drive meaningful change and create a more inclusive and diverse workforce. These strategies not only increase representation but can also lead to innovation, higher performance, and employee loyalty.

Executing a successful DEI program can be a complex endeavor—and the right HR tech can help your team reach your biggest goals at a faster pace. Checkr helps employers of all sizes enable fair chance hiring with modern background checks that help reduce bias, streamline adjudication, and simplify compliance. Get started now or contact us for more information.


The resources and information provided here are for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Always consult your own counsel for up-to-date legal advice and guidance related to your practices, needs, and compliance with applicable laws.

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