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How to Increase Diversity in the Workplace

Diversity and inclusion have for a long while been hot button issues in the workplace. In recent years, however, they’ve become ever-more important due to issues like the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements, along with a worldwide rise in immigration. All that to say, hiring employees from diverse backgrounds isn’t simply a fad that will die down — it’s a necessity to have a workforce that represents the world we live in. 

Why is Diversity Important? 

The impacts of a diverse team reach all corners of your business. According to a study conducted by McKinsey using a data set of over 1000 companies, diverse teams produce financial returns 33% higher than the industry average. A diverse team allows your company to better connect with the wide array of people that make up your customer base. 

A Cloverpop study revealed that decisions made and executed by diverse teams delivered 60% better results and inclusive teams make better business decisions up to 87% of the time. 

Harvard Business Review released a report showing that gender diversity leads to a rise in collective intelligence, and a study published in Taylor & Francis online journal proved that companies with more women are radically more innovative over a two-year period. So, if you want your business to be ahead of the curve, a diverse workforce is absolutely essential. 

Here are a few ways you can attract and hire more diverse talent at your organization.

How to Attract Diverse Talent

Diversity efforts start at the top, so it’s up to you to implement change in your organization. Here are some initiatives you can start today. 

Talk To Your Current Employees

Understanding your shortcomings is the first step in creating a diverse workplace. Ask your employees to anonymously fill out a survey to identify where you need to focus your efforts. If your staff reports back that they don’t feel heard, take steps to make sure that all voices in your company matter. If your employees feel there is a large gender or racial disparity among your staff, acknowledge that you’ll actively implement steps to change that. 

Work on promoting transparency throughout your organization, especially in the context of diversifying your team. Let your employees know that they are important to your organization’s development and growth by keeping them in the loop as much as possible.

Set Realistic Goals 

It’s easy to get carried away when goal setting, but setting unattainable objectives will only hinder your progress. Set goals that are manageable and you will see change. Think about things that can have an immediate impact, like removing names from resumes and applications to eliminate unconscious bias when reviewing job seekers, and longer term goals, like having workforce representation that meets or exceeds the US demographic benchmarks by 2023 (a Hireology goal). Thinking large and small will help you to truly move the needle on diversity initiatives.

Have a Standout Culture 

If you want to hire a diverse workforce, you must have a business that people want to work for. On your career page and in your job description, highlight everything that makes your company great. Include any perks, company outings, and employee testimonials that prove that you’ve got an organization that’s worth applying to. Include pictures of your staff as well so that applicants can get a real sense for what working for your company would be like. 

Consider promoting your employees on social media, as well. It will mean the world to your current employees to be a featured spotlight on your Instagram, but it will also show that you run a company that values its team members.  

Lastly, because your employees are the backbone of your culture, make sure they’re on the same page as you when it comes to the need for diversity. Supervisors and managers especially must understand and support hiring and keeping a diverse workforce, as they have direct influence on your employees. If you have individuals in your organization that don’t echo these values, it might be best to cut ties with them.

Stand By Your “Zero Tolerance” Policies

If you want to attract a more diverse workforce, you’ve got to talk the talk and walk the walk. If your company has zero tolerance policies around harassment, violence,  discrimination, or any other undesirable behavior, you and your team must enforce these policies through action. This gives your employees a feeling of safety at work and shows that you’ve really got their back, while also showing employees exactly what is expected of them and what behaviors are and aren’t tolerated. 

If, however, you flaunt these policies in your job descriptions or employee handbook and don’t follow through when an incident occurs, word will quickly spread internally and externally, which can be detrimental to your company’s reputation.

Reevaluate Processes That May Be Led By Unconscious Bias

Unconscious biases are social stereotypes about groups of people that are formed outside of your conscious awareness. Every individual has some form of unconscious beliefs or tendencies regarding social and identity groups, so even if you or your coworkers strive for an inclusive workplace, there may be hindrances from unconscious biases that you aren’t aware of.

Think about the way you use certain words in your job descriptions, for example — do you use gender identifiers? Do you require a college degree when it’s not necessary for success in the role? Are you filtering out resumes that don’t have internships? All of these, though seemingly insignificant, can deter someone that’s fully qualified from applying to your company.

Think about your hiring process as well. How are you ensuring that you’re interviewing for role requirements rather than personality fit? We have a tendency to like people that have had similar experiences to us, which naturally can have negative implications when attempting to diversify your workforce.

Don’t Stop at Diversity

It’s one thing to hire diverse people, but a completely different ballgame to ensure equity and inclusion in your organization. 

Equity is to ensure fair treatment, equality of opportunity, and access to resources to all employees, while inclusion is to actively work to create an environment of contribution and collaboration for all of your employees. Essentially, your efforts to diversify your staff can’t end with getting them in your door — especially if you want to continue to recruit diverse staff.

Three steps you can take to make your company more inclusive are: 

  1. Be Aware: Going back to our first point, awareness of your shortcomings is the first step to creating a healthy and inclusive environment as well as a diverse one. 
  2. Create Opportunity for Allyship: Forming an internal Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) council that works to promote change in your company will help your organization continue to move forward with diversity efforts.
  3. Educate: Use your company resources to spread awareness and educate your employees. 

Make Thoughtful, Long Lasting Change

These initiatives will help you transform your organization slowly but surely. Your dedication to diversifying your workforce will benefit all employees, old and new, as well as your business’s bottom line. If you need more tips on recruiting, check out our Recruitment Marketing Playbook

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