Healthcare HR’s Role in Improving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Healthcare

Senior Director of Marketing

As an industry that impacts all individuals and groups, including the most vulnerable, healthcare can play a major role in achieving diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). This begins with the healthcare workplace, and requires the involvement of healthcare human resources (HR). 

HR leaders understand the importance of developing a strong team, making them key to diversity and inclusion. Healthcare HR departments know the value of reaching out to all possible groups to find top quality individuals who can offer unique, valuable perspectives in the workplace.

Here are some of the biggest ways healthcare HR can help their organizations and communities achieve greater success in diversity and inclusion.

Review Recruiting and Hiring Processes

The hiring process is the most obvious place where HR can use their influence to improve diversity and inclusion in their organizations. Hiring leaders might reconsider their recruiting and hiring processes, implementing changes to make them more equitable. 

Such changes may affect different stages of the hiring process, including:

  • Reconsidering where HR departments seek out candidates
  • Rethinking how HR leaders define the “most qualified” 
  • Taking advantage of technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze resumes and job applications to reduce implicit biases
  • Publishing open positions widely, rather than sharing them privately with only a select few

HR leaders should consider diversity metrics in all levels and departments of their healthcare organization. While departments such as environmental services may see a great deal of diversity, HR leaders should also consider areas such as clinical roles and the C-suite. HR leaders may also consider other forms of diversity, such as age.

Improve Pay Equity

Research suggests that women in healthcare receive lower pay than men for the same positions. There may be greater pay gaps for black and Latina women. In addition, women and people of color may hold fewer executive positions in healthcare organizations.

HR leaders for health organizations and public health departments can improve pay equity by using data to assess pay gaps, controlling for numerous factors such as location and experience, and identify potential areas of improvement. This should not only include salary and other forms of compensation, but also representation in leadership positions. Besides ensuring equal pay, HR leaders should also consider employees’ access to training, mentorship, and other resources to encourage leadership.

Encourage Employee Engagement

Even the most diverse workforce possible will not live up to its potential without inclusion. This means that diverse employees must feel heard and valued in their workplace. The first step is to encourage employee engagement and create a culture of recognition. This improves the employee experience overall. 

Improving diversity-related inclusion, however, requires healthcare workplaces to go above and beyond these steps. Healthcare HR leaders may consider the following:

  • Conducting employee surveys regarding their workplace experiences
  • Creating employee resource groups with diverse employees to offer input on the organization’s inclusion practices
  • Encouraging team members to share, within the healthcare organization or the community, about their experiences regarding diversity and inclusion

These are just a few of the many ways that HR leaders can help their organizations achieve diversity and equity success. Encouraging diversity, equity, and inclusion can not only improve a health organization’s compliance, but also strengthen its operations with the incorporation of different skills and perspectives.