7 ways to retain your diverse talent

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By Amanda Cross

7 ways to retain your diverse talent

12 mins read

retaining diverse top talent
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Are you on the hamster wheel of recruiting diverse talent?

Finding the right people to add to your company is already challenging, but many companies spend precious time refilling roles they've already hired for.

Instead of adding headcount, many companies end up recruiting for the same positions, which typically results in overhiring in your talent acquisition team.

Thankfully, there’s another strategy that companies can use to save time and financial resources: investing in employee retention.

Why is employee retention important?

You're not alone if you've seen a pull to invest more energy in retention. A recent Lattice report found that retention has become a major priority for company leaders.

Employee retention is important because it:

  • Reduces hiring costs.
  • Improves knowledge retention.
  • Enables more internal growth opportunities.
  • Allows for more effective teamwork.
  • Gives customers peace of mind.

To dig a little bit further, let's investigate why employee retention is beneficial to business.

A recent report from OpenView found that 37% of candidates feel that lack of diversity is a major red flag during an interview process. The same report found that high attrition rates were a red flag for 47% of candidates.

In the coming months and years, potential employees will continue to ask more profound questions about subjects like diversity, employee retention, company metrics, and more. Being able to answer these questions will be paramount for recruiters.

Retaining diverse talent also has many practical business benefits. Fetcher's diversity hiring guide gives an excellent overview of the business case for investing in DEI. By investing in the continued retention of your diverse workforce, you can continue to see the positive effects these team members bring to your organization's bottom line.

How To Retain Top Diverse Talent In 2023

Now that we know why we retain diverse talent, let's move into some actionable strategies you can use to make this a reality. First, it's important to understand that retention isn't solely a post-recruitment activity. From the moment you connect with a candidate, you should be trying to retain them. With that in mind, the strategies we discuss today will cover the entire candidate and employee lifecycle.

1. Understand your employer value proposition

Before recruiting a candidate, you must understand why a candidate would enjoy working with your organization. When your company is small, your employer value proposition or EVP is loose, but as you grow, you should focus on having a clear proposition. What does your company offer the employees who work for you? What makes your culture unique or special?

Specifically, when creating an EVP for diverse groups, it's crucial to think about what can move the needle for these individual employees. If diversity is part of your EVP, for example, you may also want to maintain remote work policies. Why? The increase of remote work jobs in the last few years has tremendously impacted disabled workers. For black women WFH is also preferable because they can avoid microaggressions like having their hair touched in the office.

So, what other benefits or experiences could you offer to entice a diverse workforce?

  • Employee mentorship programs
  • Childcare and caregiving stipends
  • Employee resource groups
  • Healthcare (mental and physical health options)
  • Career development plans
  • Flex-time to promote work/life balance

Once you understand what you can offer, implement those benefits, and discuss them when connecting with prospective employees.

2. Source top talent with precision

Candidate sourcing can be a complicated process, and DEI sourcing can prove even more difficult for companies.

One of the most effective ways to source top DEI talent is to get out of your sourcing comfort zone. Are you spending hours each week searching for diverse talent, but finding little increase in the diversity of your pipeline? Are you utilizing job boards or sites that don't necessarily represent the population of candidates you want to reach? If so, it's time to rethink how you source.

Many companies are using automation to scale and streamline the candidate sourcing process, and target talent with the exact criteria they are searching for. With the right inputs, you'll be able to uncover more potential talent than you could manually.

Another strategy companies are using is investing in their employer brand and company career page. When you actively build your employer brand, you can attract candidates who understand your value proposition, values, and mission.

3. Treat potential employees like current team members

Being a candidate is demanding. If they're looking for work, financial concerns and prepping for interviews can weigh heavily on their minds. If they're currently employed, candidates will be balancing their time working their current job with managing one or multiple hiring processes.

So, how can recruiters put candidates at ease and create a great experience for them? It starts with engaging potential employees in a way that's respectful of their time and aligned with how the company treats its current employees.

First, you want to consider the hoops candidates must go through to apply for your open positions. Is your application easy to work through? Do candidates need to enter the same information multiple times? Do you have unnecessary requirements? Consider requiring recruiters and hiring managers to go through their own application process.

Next, you can automate some aspects of the recruitment process so recruiters can focus on deeper conversations. For example, use a calendar tool to avoid multiple back-and-forth emails when scheduling interviews.

Last, you want to give actionable feedback, especially if the candidate made it far in the interview process. If you're down to the final few candidates, take the time to share why you chose a different person. They will appreciate the transparency, and you'll have kept the trust you built throughout the hiring process. That trust can come in handy when it comes time to hire again!

4. Onboard talent with care

After the candidate has accepted your offer, you want to consider how you integrate them into the team. Employee onboarding is an essential part of the retention process. How you treat someone during their first few weeks is typically a reflection of how they'll be treated at your company in the long run.

So, what makes a great onboarding experience? Companies often think about onboarding from a paperwork perspective, but it's about more than filling out the correct documents. You should also focus on:


Starting a new job can be scary. How are employees greeted by other workers and new hires? For example, you could use a cohort model (where you hire multiple new team members at once) to improve the onboarding process. Cohorts create an immediate sense of community for new workers.

Knowledge sharing

Employees shouldn't have to reinvent the wheel, even if their role is new to your organization. So how will you get them up to speed with company and department-specific activities? Creating a checklist that onboarding stakeholders can access will help you remember all the essential things you need to share with a new employee.

Accomplishments and growth

Quick wins are essential for new hires. Your team members need to feel like they are getting to know your organization, making progress on their job descriptions, and contributing. Most of all, the company needs to feel the same way. Let your team know what success in their new role looks like.

5. Recognize how top talent contributes to your team

Once new employees start positively contributing to your company, following that up with employee recognition is important. We recently gathered employee recognition statistics for 2023 at Nectar. We found that:

  • 83.6% of workers feel that recognition impacts their motivation to succeed

  • 77.9% of team members would be more productive if they were recognized more often

  • 81.9% of employees feel that recognition for their accomplishments impacts their engagement

Recognition comes in many shapes, sizes, and costs. Free recognition strategies like writing a thank you note or leaving a LinkedIn recommendation can help you get started. You can also go further by giving out a gift card or paid time off to people who go above and beyond.

Some companies avoid recognition because tracking and creating an equitable experience across the board can be challenging. Employee recognition software gives you the tools to formalize your recognition process. You also get access to analytics across your company to make certain underrepresented groups get the recognition they deserve.

Once employees obtain enough points, they can turn them in for gift cards, company swag, and custom rewards like additional PTO and HSA contributions.

6. Celebrate important employee milestones

In 2017, Inc. posted a story about the three days employees are most likely to quit. Class reunions, big birthdays like 40 and 50, and work anniversaries most commonly prompt employees to hunt for another job.

Significant life transitions bring about reflection. We use these times to think about what we've achieved so far and what we want to achieve in the future. Therefore, you want your organization to be a source of positivity for team members, especially when they are feeling introspective!

For example, Nectar syncs with your company's HRIS platform to help you automate reminders to celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries. Your managers must pay close attention to any other significant dates that might trigger a job search. You can do this by having consistent one-on-one meetings with direct reports.

7. Build out clear career paths for current employees

Finally, employers who want to retain their staff must consider how employees will grow with their current organization. In Employ's recent survey of 1,500 workers, 52% of job seekers listed career advancement as their main motivator for their job search. And when asked in Nectar's survey about the variables that impact tenure, 15.13% of the employees we surveyed shared that career growth opportunities were the number one reason for staying with an organization.

From a top-down perspective, companies must create multiple paths to success at the company. For example, does your organization have individual contributor, manager, senior manager, director, and executive levels? If you have a small business, you might not have this depth yet, but as you grow, you need those extra layers of leadership to promote growth.

Work with managers to create a career development plan for each employee. To create this plan, ask each team member questions like:

  • Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years?
  • How can this organization help you get where you want to be?
  • What do you want to learn in the next year to get where you want to be?

Once you understand where your team wants to go, provide the resources to get there. Focus on providing learning and development opportunities, offering mentorship programs, and creating an internal marketplace as new roles open up on your team.

By pairing company growth with individual career plans, you’ll be able to build a positive career experience for employees of all backgrounds.

Conclusion: Better recruiting = higher retention

Retention will continue to be a significant issue for holding on to diverse talent. As the median tenure for employees continues to dwindle, companies must be honest about the employee experience they are building. Fortunately, there are many things that organizations can do to improve their tenure, and it starts with how you hire your employees.

Using tools like Fetcher and Nectar can profoundly impact your company's retention rate. What strategies will you use to build a positive employee experience?

Written by Amanda Cross, Content Marketing Manager at Nectar

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