Best/Top AnalysisIndustry Case Study

Best Diversity and Inclusion Hiring strategies (With Case Studies)


Four case studies of brand initiatives where the goal is to increase their diversity hires, particularly, diversity & inclusion recruiting programs are Yelp, Slack, Citigroup, and Deloitte UK. Some diversity hiring strategies employed by these companies include bias elimination during the interviewing process and deliberate efforts to diversify the gender and ethnic composition of management-level hires.


  • Yelp’s engineering workforce was 10% female, 7% Hispanic, and 4% Black in 2014. With the lack of gender and racial diversity denying the company more than 60% of the labor pool, Yelp adopted various strategies to build a diverse and inclusive workforce, including efforts to recruit from historically Black universities, institutions with a higher proportion of Hispanic students, and women’s colleges.
  • The two main reasons driving this move was the need to increase the company’s pool of the best and brightest workforce as well as facilitate its efforts to customize its services for various sets of users.
  • The company set clear diversity goals, including matching the diversity composition of its sales teams with the communities they serve, which are communicated through its All-Hands meetings, CEO communications, and recruiting materials, with the aim of increasing both the company’s funnel of talent and yield, for instance, making effort to convince target recruits to take up their job offers.
  • Some additional strategies used by the company to enhance diversity hiring include promoting gender diversity in the composition of its of hiring committees, blinding resumes, and masking potential candidate voices during phone interview screening.
  • Within three years (2017), Yelp recorded an increase from 10% to 18% of women holding tech positions in the company, 7% to 10% Hispanic employees, and 4% to 6% Black employees. The company’s hiring diversity for the 12 months of September 2018 – August 2019 included 46.6% White, 20.7% Black, and 15.1% Latinx.
  • Yelp is also committed to transparency on its diversity hiring strategies, including details about the most and least effective methods. According to HBR, “increasing diversity at tech companies is about following a systematic process, involving two important steps: First, companies should be as transparent as possible, not only about the problem but also about their experiences and obstacles and share the things they have tried, the things that have worked, and just as important, the things that have failed. Second, according to HBR, “companies should be more proactive about rigorously evaluating the policies they implement since efforts that were successful elsewhere may not work at their company, for example, blind auditions may work wonders for diversity among violin players but do nothing to help the interview process at a tech company.”


  • The percentage employees from underrepresented minorities in Slack’s US workforce, including Black or African-American, American Indian or Alaskan, and Hispanic or Latino is, in some cases, three times more than that of peer companies, such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft.
  • While underrepresented minorities hold between 4% — 8% of technical roles and make up less than 11% of all employees at Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, a full 14.5% of Slack’s 2019 US technical roles were held by people from underrepresented racial and/or ethnic backgrounds, a 0.3% increase from 2018 (14.2%), with more than 45% of all employees coming from minority backgrounds.
  • The graph below illustrates the distribution of Slack’s US workforce across various racial backgrounds.

Slack diversity

  • Slack does not have a single diversity leader or Chief Diversity Officer. Instead, the company’s recruitment strategy is embedded in its diversity hiring initiatives where the company recruits from coding boot camps that are focused on underrepresented talent. According to Stewart Butterfield, the company’s CEO, he wants diversity and inclusion efforts to be something “everyone is engaged in,” with research conducted by Dobbin and colleagues indicating that employee involvement in diversity policies produces greater results.
  • Additionally, Slack focuses on bias elimination during the interviewing process through a clearly defined candidate criteria, including asking the same interview questions to all candidates and performing prior mock interviews with team members to rule out the possibility of bias development during the actual interviews.
  • Since its inception, Slack proactively seeks candidates through all-women’s coding camps, such as Hackbright, and Black or Latino programmer-focussed projects, such as Code2040, instead of the traditional programmer pipelines, such as Stanford and MIT. The company’s recruiters are trained to focus on skills instead of a candidate’s university pedigree.
  • Slack also utilizes technologies such as Textio, a writing platform, to evaluate job descriptions and screen for potentially detractive or attractive words or phrases that would turn away or intrigue candidates, respectively, based on their gender, age, and other demographics.


  • Citigroup’s diversity strategies include a series of employee-based affinity communities representing the company’s diverse staff demographics, including Black, Asian, Hispanic, and multicultural communities co-led a member of the company’s senior leadership.
  • On the other hand, its diversity hiring strategies include pre-interview mentor programs targeting standout college-aged women and minorities to facilitate the recruitment of young, diverse talent, for instance its Early Insights Freshman Discovery Day, and Early Identification Leadership programs.
  • Early Insights Programs targets “freshmen and sophomores, focusing on identifying, mentoring and hiring top diverse talent for summer analyst programs across the firm. These programs, provide early exposure to and education regarding Citi’s businesses, technical training, mentorship and Citi’s culture.”
  • The Freshman Discovery Day, on the other hand, is a two-day exploratory program that facilitates the enlightenment of underrepresented minority college freshmen about various roles in the financial services market. The program pairs participants with a mentor from the company at the end of the summit, providing them with an opportunity to participate in its recruiting activity.
  • The Early Identification Leadership Program, which pairs participants with mentors from the company, focuses on the identification, mentorship, and hiring of diverse talent for the company’s summer analyst programs through a five-week period. The program provides access to virtual learning tools, including weekly virtual trainings, virtual panels, and seminars given by the company’s professionals.
  • Some additional strategies used by Citigroup include partnering with US-based diversity hiring platforms, such as Jopwell and WayUp, to facilitate the communication of customized messages to directly engage and promote opportunities for diverse talent and leveraging opportunities for in-person meetings with students. In that regard, Citigroup participated in the National Black MBA Association Conference in 2019, a one-week career development summit that convenes Black professionals and MBAs, thought leaders, and corporate partners.
  • The company makes deliberate efforts to gender and ethnic-diversify its managing director and director level hires, including at least one woman in its global interview hires and one woman from a racial/ethnic minority background in the US. A full ​68% of its 2019 interview slates for director and managing director roles involved at least one diverse candidate
  • According to Citigroup’s 2019 talent and diversity annual report, the company’s goal is to have a 50% female representation in its analyst and associate programs globally and 30% Black and Hispanic/Latino representation in the US. Black and Hispanic/Latino representation grew from 14% in 2018 to 18% in 2019, with its summer representation growing from 17% to 26% within the same period.

Deloitte UK

  • The UK has one of the poorest social mobility rates in the developed world, with people’s social background significantly impacting their opportunities in life regardless of their talent or hard work. Deloitte UK,
  • One of the diversity hiring strategies used by Deloitte UK includes hiding a candidate’s college or university during the recruitment process, instead focusing on their skills and merit.
  • According to an interview with Victoria Lawes, the head of Deloitte UK resourcing, conducted by LinkedIn, the company calls it “school and university-blind interviewing,” stating, “what we really want to do is ensure that, whoever is recruiting isn’t consciously or unconsciously favoring a person who attended a certain school or university.”
  • The company has also partnered with Rare, the UK-based diversity recruitment consulting company, to facilitate the incorporation of a new screening process into the recruitment process referred to as “contextualisation.”
  • The process leverages Rare’s comprehensive algorithm involving both public information and application data to identify students who have overcome tough situations. For instance, Rare’s algorithm identifies candidates with exemplary performance from their schools or universities, in spite of, for example, qualifying for free meals due to low income or being the first to attend university from their families.
  • Some additional strategies employed by the company include:
    • Aligning its attraction and outreach activities to facilitate the engagement of broad ranges of schools and universities.
    • Promoting inclusivity and accessibility in the academic requirements and selection processes to accommodate more people, with particular focus the candidate’s ambition and potential.
    • Providing coaching and pastoral care solutions throughout the recruitment process, such as buddies and mentorship programs.
  • Today 6% of the company’s partners are Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME), a 3.9% increase from 2013, with more than 10% those promoted to partner in June 2019 being BAME.
Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at Simple Manifestation with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.

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