Diversity in the workplace isn’t just a nice idea, it’s great for business. Having a diverse group of employees in your organization helps ensure that you have a wide range of approaches, points of view, and talents — all essential for problem-solving and remaining competitive in the market.
Conversely, if your business recruiting hires the same type of person for every role, you’re at risk of succumbing to organizational groupthink. In other words, if everyone is the same, it follows that they will have similar ideas, similar solutions, and that your team will lack the imagination and dynamism that gives successful companies the edge over their competition.
Diversity works because everyone is different and is valued for their differences and what they have to offer. So how do you go about building a diverse workforce? Here’s how to get started.
First, to know what work needs to be done, you need to figure out where you’re starting from. This means analyzing your current workforce and determining how diverse it really is. Is your workforce representative of your local community? Are your employees from a range of backgrounds and ethnicities? Do you have an active equal opportunity employment policy?
Your goal should be to implement hiring practices that are free of bias and encourage and support minority applicants so that you can create a workplace that is inclusive and welcoming. A good place to start is to develop and implement an equal opportunity employment policy in accordance with the Federal EEOC (US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) guidelines. Creating an in-house committee to help implement your policy and workshop new ways of attracting more diversity to your organization will help to promote buy-in and make it a company mission.
Cast a Wider Net
If you always advertise your job opportunities in the same places, in the same way, then you’re going to attract a lot of the same candidates. Think about expanding your search to other cities and states. Today’s job market is competitive, so you really do need to think outside the box when it comes to attracting the best people. Why not offer your employees rewards for successful referrals? They may well know someone in the industry who is looking for work and could make a great contribution to your organization.
Developing relationships with diverse community and industry organizations that support minority workers in your area gives you a valuable resource when opportunities arise in your company. Sites like diversityworking.com offer searchable channels that can help you connect with talented people you might not have been able to reach elsewhere.
Rethink Your Recruitment Process
An open, transparent recruitment process inspires confidence in all candidates, particularly among people from minority groups who have been disadvantaged or subject to discrimination when applying for jobs. Underline your commitment to diversity by having it as part of your company’s mission statement and make sure this is displayed prominently on your website and on all of your job recruitment literature.
Also be aware of unconscious bias — finding yourself more comfortable with and relating more to a candidate who has the same religion, went to the same college, or who shares the same gender or sexual orientation as you. Engaging a diverse panel for the interview process gives a range of perspectives and is a fairer process for selecting the best candidate for the job.
Create a Positive Culture
While all of these strategies can help improve the diversity in your workplace, you need to not just talk the talk, but also walk the walk.
Be aware that it’s not just enough to employ a diverse workforce; you need to nurture them too. Create an environment of inclusion where all staff members are valued for their differences and supported as individuals, not just as a whole. There are organizations that provide diversity training, which, if you choose to engage them, should be attended by all who work for the business, including managers and the CEO.
Successful businesses create an environment of inclusion in which all of your company’s people feel valued and integrated into its mission, vision, and goals. And that means showing differences are recognized, valued, and embraced.
It’s never too late to build a diverse workforce?