Rhona Barnett-Pierce


How to Improve Diversity Hiring by Involving ERGs in Your Process

Sponsored by: Equity Activations

Equity Activations partners with companies who are ready to strengthen the health of their business now and for the future by working to embed diversity, equity, and inclusion into their operations for actionable results.

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This week, I’ve been reflecting on two very important conversations about hiring I’ve had recently. The first was my conversation with Hebba Youssef on her podcast, I Hate It Here, where we spoke about the real reason why new hires don’t stick around and why many retention problems start in the recruiting process.

I don’t think most companies set out to do this, but the reality is that many companies are lying to candidates during the interview process. Everything from job postings that don’t paint an accurate picture to carefully rehearsed answers about the culture and the job itself. Once an employee starts the job and realizes that they were sold a bill of goods, they lose trust and leave as soon as they can.

GIF of Jim Carey making the peace out sign and the words: Alrighty then peace out

The second conversation I’ve been thinking about is the one I had with Tara Turk-Haynes on my podcast, Throw Out The Playbook. In the latest episode, we discussed what it really takes to make diversity hiring work. I know firsthand, from working with Tara when we were both at Leaf Group, that Tara knows how to integrate DEI into the day-to-day operations of a company, especially the hiring process.

One of the most impactful Diversity Hiring strategies we implemented was allowing candidates to speak to ERG leaders during the hiring process. This was optional, of course, but candidates who were interested could have a 1:1 conversation with the leader of any ERGs they identified with. We found that this helped level up our Diversity Hiring Strategy.

Some of the benefits of allowing candidates to speak to ERG leaders are:

#1 Authentic Representation

Candidates get a chance to speak with employees from similar backgrounds who can share their experiences at the company. This can be incredibly valuable in helping candidates assess if the company culture is a good fit.

#2 Demonstrates Commitment to Diversity

Offering ERG chats showcases your company’s genuine interest in creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. We’ve all seen the survey data; candidates want to work for inclusive companies that value diversity. This is a great way to show your commitment to DEI. Everyone says they are committed, but very few can show it.

#3 Higher Offer Acceptance Rates

If a candidate has a positive conversation with an ERG leader, they may be more likely to accept a job offer. This can be especially true if the ERG leader discusses opportunities for professional development and community within the company.

#4 Increased Transparency

ERG leaders can provide a realistic picture of the company culture and the ERG’s role in supporting employees. This transparency can help attract candidates genuinely interested in working at your company and being part of the ERG community. It will have a direct impact on your retention rates.

How To Get Started

To get started, you must have a plan. The first step is to Train your ERG leaders. Let them know why they’re being included in the process. I suggest you give them the same training you do for anyone involved in the interview process. You want to make sure that candidates can have a candid conversation. Still, ERG leaders must remember to follow any guidance and or/laws about communication with candidates.


It’s really not hard to authentically showcase your culture during the hiring process. It takes intentionality and the desire to attract the RIGHT candidate, not just any candidate. Once you let go of the mindset that you have to appeal to a broad candidate pool, you’ll see how your hiring process becomes one that repels the many and attracts the few. Your retention goes up, your quality of hire goes up, your time to fill goes down, it all starts to fall into place.

Additional Resources

Talk to you next week!

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