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How To Build a Diverse Talent Pipeline

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How To Build a Diverse Talent Pipeline

How To Build a Diverse Talent Pipeline

Developing and maintaining a diverse workforce poses an ongoing challenge for businesses. Not only is it ethically important to ensure all candidates have an equal opportunity, but failing to invest in diversity hiring can cause companies to miss out on fresh perspectives and top talent. 

Enhancing your diversity hiring strategy will also help attract high-caliber candidates and encourage employee retention. Research has shown that companies committed to fostering diversity enjoy improved morale and higher employee retention rates.

Diverse teams bring a more comprehensive range of perspectives and ideas, fostering creativity and innovation. With some effort, you can facilitate a diverse talent pipeline where current employees help attract future diverse talent to help your organization thrive for years to come. 

What is Diversity Recruitment?

Workplace diversity is grounded in the belief that professional teams should reflect the broader society, encompassing individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Diversity recruitment aims to give applicants an equal opportunity to showcase their abilities, irrespective of gender, race, religion, or other aspects of identity.

While completely eliminating inequitable conditions may be challenging, steps can be taken to mitigate their impact. Diversity recruitment should create space for candidates from various backgrounds, including individuals of all genders, sexual orientations, religions, political beliefs, social classes, nationalities, and physical or mental abilities.

To ensure equal opportunities for all, employers can embrace recruitment practices that account for disparities within their workforce. This may involve actively seeking greater candidate diversity or working towards eliminating implicit biases and social barriers from the hiring process.

Steps on Building a Diverse Talent Pipeline

How To Build a Diverse Talent Pipeline

A talent pipeline refers to a group of candidates who could be a good fit for future job vacancies. Sometimes, the terms talent pipeline and talent pool are used interchangeably, but there are differences between them. 

Though a talent pool also refers to a group of candidates who could be a good fit for future openings, the candidates in a talent pipeline are more thoroughly vetted. For a candidate to be included in a talent pipeline, employers must already be familiar with their qualifications and cultural fit and believe they would be a strong asset to the organization. 

Therefore, it can be difficult to fill a talent pipeline with enough qualified candidates to meet future needs as they arise. 

This task becomes more challenging when focused on building a talent pipeline of diverse candidates, as many corporations still have work to do before meeting their diversity recruiting goals.

​​Organizations can work on building a diverse talent pipeline by implementing several strategies. 

1. Be Proactive

The first step to building a diverse talent pipeline is realizing that it requires constant proactivity. Make an effort to source candidates from underrepresented groups through targeted outreach, partnerships with diversity-focused organizations, and attending diverse recruitment events. 

Also, partnering with local minority universities is a great way to connect with less experienced diverse talent. 

Some fields may experience specific skill shortages or underrepresentation of certain demographics. By recruiting from minority universities, businesses can actively address these gaps while ensuring that they have access to a broad talent pool. 

It’s important to note that recruiting from minority universities should not be seen as a box-ticking exercise but as a genuine effort to foster inclusivity, equity, and equal opportunities. The focus should be on merit-based selection, fair evaluation, and providing a supportive and inclusive work environment for all employees.

2. Utilize Specialized Job Boards

Countless niche groups on online job boards and social media platforms can make it easier to find certain types of candidates, such as women in tech or people of color in law. Companies such as The Mom Project and Fairy God Boss focus on hiring women and bringing women back into the workforce. 

Another tactic is to pay closer attention to the way that you search more mainstream job boards. For example, you might filter your LinkedIn search results to graduates of an HBCU, or historically Black college or university. 

3. Watch Your Language

It’s important to use inclusive language in job descriptions, so consider whether your company’s job advertisements might be overly restrictive regarding requirements, potentially discouraging talented candidates from applying. 

Consider that it may not be necessary for a strong candidate to possess exactly 10 years of relevant experience or hold a specific master’s degree, and adjust your requirements accordingly. 

You might also include a note at the end of the job description encouraging candidates to apply even if they do not meet all desired qualifications. 

By making your job posts more inclusive and accessible, you open doors for individuals from diverse backgrounds who may have had fewer opportunities to build their resumes. You can even tailor your job ads to reach a specific audience, actively encouraging the candidates you wish to attract. 

Additionally, it is crucial to ensure that your job descriptions are free from bias and not geared toward a particular type of candidate. 

For example, avoid gendered language and overly complex industry jargon that could deter potential applicants. Leveraging technology tools like Textio can help scan job descriptions and identify any biases that may have been overlooked.

4. Reduce Bias and Improve Your Diversity Culture 

An essential part of building and maintaining a talent pipeline is ensuring your current diverse employees are satisfied in their positions. 

If they are unhappy, the networking and word-of-mouth tools that could have been an asset become a liability, as dissatisfied employees may discourage their contacts from applying. 

Therefore, your organization’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) standards directly impact your ability to build a diverse talent pipeline. 

To improve these conditions, work to eliminate bias in screening and selection processes and provide equal opportunities for growth and development. Other possible strategies include establishing employee resource groups and collaborating with educational institutions and community organizations. 

5. Retention

Most employees seek a workplace with inclusion sewn into its cultural fabric and are often unsatisfied with a simple program just meant to check the diversity box.

Employee resource groups, or ERGs, are great ways to build retention and strengthen company diversity. These groups provide a safe space for employees with similar identities to relax, build relationships, and have their voices heard. 

Understanding how to maintain diversity takes education and years of practice, but it’s essential to employee retention. Begin by ensuring management accountability, compensation transparency, and zero tolerance for microaggressions. 


A diverse talent pipeline can be a significant asset in creating a more diverse workforce and equitable workplace. However, building a talent pipeline does take some time and effort. 

The best practices for creating a diverse talent pipeline are to stay vigilant about improving your workplace’s diversity and inclusion conditions, utilize specialized job boards, and ensure your organization uses inclusive language and hiring practices. 

Investing in your more diverse employees is also important, as their job satisfaction can boost your employer brand and attract up-and-coming diverse talent. 

Diverse Talent Pipeline FAQS

How can organizations measure the effectiveness of their diverse talent pipeline efforts?

If you don’t have a method for keeping track of your efforts, it’s very difficult to recognize if they are succeeding. Therefore, the most effective way to measure the effectiveness of building a diverse talent pipeline is by tracking relevant metrics. This includes analyzing demographic data of applicants, hires, and promotions to identify any disparities or underrepresentation. You’ll also want to monitor the retention of more diverse employees, survey your team to gauge their perception of diversity efforts and examine the promotion/advancement rates of diverse groups.

What are some obstacles to building a diverse talent pipeline?

Building a diverse talent pipeline can be especially difficult if your organization has not done the work to reduce bias in the recruiting and hiring processes. Organizations with a reputation for discrimination, disrespect, or unchecked bias will likely be avoided by more diverse candidates. Some companies blame a small, diverse talent pool for their inability to create a diverse talent pipeline, but this is not the case. In fact, when companies can’t maintain a diverse talent pipeline, the fault usually lies with their hiring and recruiting practices.

Are passive candidates part of a talent pipeline?

Yes, passive candidates can be part of a talent pipeline. Passive candidates are individuals who are not actively job searching but possess desired qualifications. Including them in a talent pipeline allows organizations to tap into their skills when future job openings arise, potentially reducing time-to-hire and accessing high-quality talent.

What are the benefits of a diverse workforce?

Diverse recruiting is important because it unites different perspectives and fosters innovation. More diverse workforces also enjoy a more efficient decision-making process, better employee experience, and improved reputation amongst both job-seekers and consumers.