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How to Build a Strategy For Conscious Inclusion: Walking the Walk

How to Build a Strategy For Conscious Inclusion: Walking the Walk


So many great ideas begin with a buzzword, especially when it comes to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

Those of us who work in talent acquisition love our buzzwords — probably because we’re such a passionate and dedicated bunch. 

And while we should never let anything temper down that enthusiasm, what we can do is be better than all the talk. 

In 2024, it’s time to deliver a conscious inclusion strategy that actually walks the walk, so we put together a step-by-step, practical guide to building a strategy for conscious inclusion. 

Use this guide to make conscious inclusion a centerpiece in your organisation — from talent attraction to the candidate experience and beyond. 

Unearthing Potential Beyond The Resume 

Like many of our best ideas and innovations at Adway, this strategy was born from real life conversations about what’s missing in the world of TA, and how we can use smart, human-centric technology to fix it and charge forward. 

In a recent episode of Joanne Lockwood’s Inclusion Bites podcast called Unearthing Potential Beyond the Resume, Adway’s CMO Sara Dalsfelt dove deep into the nuances of modern talent attraction — challenging traditional, one-size-fits-all hiring approaches and advocating for inclusive, behaviour-based strategies that engage a diverse pool of passive candidates through social media recruiting.

What Is Conscious Inclusion?

We’re sure you’re well aware, but if you need a little refresher: Conscious inclusion is the recognition that simply having a diverse workforce doesn’t mean you’re off the hook, a box is checked, and the people in your organisation can bring their truest selves to work. A workplace that prioritises conscious inclusion institutes ongoing efforts to actively promote and foster a culture of inclusivity where every employee can thrive. 

Conscious inclusion is intentional and deliberate. It ensures every employee’s unique experiences, perspectives and contributions are recognised, respected and valued throughout the organisation. It involves building and maintaining a working environment where everyone can achieve their full potential and participate freely, without reservation or fear. 

Until recently, conscious inclusion typically fell into the bucket of “organisational culture,” but forward-looking companies realise that recruiting and hiring without unconscious bias is the gateway to a consciously inclusive organisation. 

And that’s where this guide comes into play. 

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

How to Build a Strategy For Conscious Inclusion in 8 Steps 

Step 1: Ditch The Resume 

If we’re talking about challenging traditional employer assessment methods, ditching the resume is a great place to begin. 

We're heading into a time where candidates not only can, but likely will start questioning why potential employers are assessing their potential based on a piece of paper. How does a single document hold enough weight to assess someone’s readiness, potential and transferable skills

The short answer is: it doesn’t. Everything is moving beyond the CV. The first step in conscious inclusion is not excluding based on the ancient, bias-ridden hiring practice that is the CV. This opens up a much-needed layer of transparency upfront in the hiring process and leaves room for the next step: conscious, early assessments that give everyone an equal chance. 

Step 2: Use Conscious, Early Assessments that Give Everyone an Equal Chance 

If you want to embed conscious inclusion into the earliest part of your recruiting process, it’s important to ask yourself two questions: 

  1. Are you giving everyone the same chance for this job?
  2. Are you including assessments and testing as early as possible?

By building conscious assessments into the earliest steps of the application journey, you’re choosing to veer away from weeding out and, instead, you’re focusing on building in. And it mostly requires some simple explanation on your part. 

Add a small box of information that lets the candidate know you’re putting tests super early in the process to give everyone an equal chance. Ask for five minutes (or, ideally less) of their time to grab a coffee, sit somewhere comfortable and get started with a test. 

This should be a smooth, quick journey based on finding potential with assessments and science-based screenings. It helps you ensure what's getting through is relevant for this role, and that you’re hiring for potential, transferable skills and the qualities and traits you need for a thriving workforce. 

If you've implemented everything suggested thus far, your funnel is being built in the most inclusive way possible. 

Step 3: Target Passive Candidates Through Social Media Storytelling

The broader you can go when identifying your candidate audience, the larger and more diverse your talent pool becomes. 

Enter: social media, where nearly 5 billion passive candidates are already actively scrolling around. To find your audience, start nudging and attracting and building a storytelling experience that speaks specifically to them. This is another way you can recruit for diversity in the very first steps.

Targeting means targeting passive, hard-to-reach talents who are likely fully employed and doing what they love. You need a strategy that puts your enticing EVP and employer brand into the hands of their phones, where they spend over 3-4 hours a day on social media. And it has to be an experience that's built for the specific social media channels they're in. From there, you can bring those candidates into your pipeline and use automation to sift and preselect them based on competency, capability, adaptability, etc. 

In doing this, you will only attract and assess the most relevant talents, because they've been targeted based on potential and readiness and the specific value propositions that you are selling to them as an employer. 

Remember: you're not in a war for talent, you're in a war for attention. Which is why it’s crucial to send the right message, at the right time, on the right platform, within the right window of opportunity. 

With Adway, you can build limitless social talent pools and retarget them with these relevant, right-on-time messages. That means you’re always telling the story of your organisation and recruiting for inclusivity 24 hours a day. 

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Step 4: Make Sure Your Tech Stack Walks The Talk

There's never been a time where more tools, more tech, more solutions, more everything are available to assess potential as early as possible in the hiring funnel.

With a wealth of resources at your fingertips, it’s up to you to consciously build inclusion into your tech stack, your strategy or wherever you go to engage talent. It has to be built into the data right off the bat, because if you’re not including, you are most likely excluding. 

It may take a little time for an algorithm to learn from your data but, once it does, you can teach it to work towards specific data points that build for an inclusive hiring strategy — such as not segmenting based on gender or ethnicity or factors that promote bias. 

In essence, your tech stack can (and should) ensure you’re walking the talk when it comes to conscious inclusion in your talent acquisition strategy. 

Step 5: Use UX Tactics For the CX Journey 

Another savvy way to use social recruiting is to create a 24/7 storytelling experience that sells candidates their newly employed lifestyle — complete with perks, positive emotions and work-life balance. 

This isn’t your typical spray-and-pray approach to targeted advertising. This type of digital candidate experience sends the right messaging at the right time and approaches the candidate as if they’re a consumer who’s being nudged along the way. 

With the right approach, on this journey, passive candidates will become active candidates. And the option to apply for your open position will be as easy as clicking a button or filling out a form right there in the ad. 

At Adway, we look at this moment as a window of time when a candidate turns “active.” You must make sure your software works for you to capitalise on this very rare moment.

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Step 6: Make It Easy to Apply

There’s an expectation among today’s consumers that they do not want to leave the form or page they’re on. They demand simplicity in every step of the purchasing process, right down to an easy checkout in the advertisement itself. The same thing goes for those coveted passive candidates. Let’s not forget we’re in a war for attention! 

After you’ve built your recruiting strategy based on personalised, right-on-time storytelling, the culmination of the candidate journey eventually bubbles up. And, at this point, applying should be as easy as possible. 

Embed a simple “Would You Like to Apply?” button at the bottom of your job ad, ask for an email capture, and meet your candidates — yet again — in that fleeting window of opportunity. 

From there, applicants can simply submit their email address and go about their day (which is what the modern day candidate wants to see!). Your smart recruiting tech will circle back with a retargeted communication that keeps the journey running smoothly, without inundating the candidate with unnecessary to-do’s and gruntwork.

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Step 7: Make Your Recruitment Marketing Budget Work For YOU 

Whether you’re a small business, a startup, or a well-established enterprise, ensuring your budget is working at its most efficient is essential if you’re going to stay ahead of the curve with social recruiting. 

If you don't join the party now, it will become exponentially more expensive next year, the following year, and so on. Because all of your competitors are choosing social recruiting for its countless benefits — like building diverse talent pools, optimising their career page, and not losing out on the valuable, relevant, diverse traffic that they’re driving, even if it's through search or outreach or automated processes. 

You need to make sure even the tiniest recruitment marketing budget works for you by going where the candidates are. So, we would naturally argue to never put all your eggs in one basket. Take a multi-channel approach and continue to invest in what drives the best results.

Do you want to know which industries are leading the charge when it comes to social recruiting? Take a look at our 2023 Social Recruiting Trends Analysis:

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Step 8: Keep Authentic, Human Connections

You don’t need to dance all over TikTok or pay top dollar for a super polished EVP and employer branding campaign to show potential employees “who you are.” Today’s candidates want to see realness. Showcase your employees as they explain how they’re supported in being their most authentic selves at work. 

This is another crucial area where the art of social media storytelling comes in. From employee testimonials to videos inside your office or even on an employee’s commute to work - let your people speak for themselves about how conscious inclusion is infused in the daily ins and outs of your company. 

Don’t forget to weave this authenticity into the candidate experience as well. From the targeting to the initial messaging to the distribution and even the AI-powered solutions, every aspect of your recruitment marketing engine must be supported by authentic content. The candidate needs to be able to trust your organisation and have continuously positive experiences with your brand, your hiring process and your people. 

Activate Conscious Inclusion With Adway 

There’s never been a more critical time to look beyond traditional talent acquisition techniques and prioritize conscious inclusion from the very first steps of the recruitment funnel. By incorporating inclusive, targeted marketing strategies and debiasing the hiring process itself, your organisation can attract diverse talent and cultivate a more inclusive and equitable workforce. 

And, when it comes to building a strategy for conscious inclusion, you have more control than ever before. There's so much we can do, so many tools in our hands, and tangible ways to ensure you are hiring people who can bring their most authentic selves to work. 

At Adway, we draw so much of our inspiration from conscious inclusion advocates across the globe. Those who are educating the market, creating great content and keeping our eyes on what’s really important. And we believe we finally have the technology and the solutions to activate conscious inclusion and make it a reality… not just another TA buzzword.


If you’re ready to change the way you work and build conscious inclusion into your recruitment marketing strategy (and beyond), fill out the form below!