Creating a diverse workforce is no longer just the ‘right’ thing to do it’s a completely essential part of a more inclusive, modern, and successful business strategy. Owing to the rich variety of perspectives, experiences, and ideas that it brings on board, cultivating a multitude of voices has been shown to significantly enhance innovation, decision-making, and financial performance within an organization. But how exactly does one source such diverse talent? We’ve gathered some research-backed insights and actionable strategies to help you facilitate an environment of inclusivity.
Why Diversifying Talent Matters
Before we venture into the steps to source diverse talent, it’s important to recognize the compelling reasons to do so.
- Innovation: Teams that are diversified in their experiences and backgrounds are likely to be more innovative due to the variety of perspectives brought into brainstorming sessions. An HBR report found that companies with diverse leadership were 45% more likely to report a growth in market share and 70% more likely to break into new markets.
- Profitability: Research by McKinsey found companies in the top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity on executive teams were 33% more likely to have industry-leading profitability.
- Reputation: In the age of social justice and corporate responsibility, diversity is also a key factor in an organization’s public image, and can be helpful in attracting top talent.
Moreover, a diversified workplace also fosters greater empathy and understanding between different groups, critical in the multicultural world we live.
Having understood these advantages, let’s delve into some strategies that can help source diverse talent.
Strategies to Source Diverse Talent
1. Reevaluate Your Job Descriptions
First impressions matter. Ensure that your job descriptions and listings are inclusive and welcoming to all candidates, regardless of their background. This means:
- Avoiding gender-biased language: Scan job listings for any gender-coded language, which might deter some candidates from applying. For example, use the term “salesperson” instead of “salesman.”
- Including equal opportunity statements: Begin your job descriptions by stating your commitment to diversity and inclusion, making it clear that you welcome candidates of all backgrounds.
- Make sure that requirements reflect the actual necessities for the position: Don’t overburden your requirements with unnecessary qualifications that could limit the pool of candidates. Stick to what is essential for the position.
2. Build Inclusive Candidate Pipelines
One common issue recruiters face is a lack of diversity in their applicant pool. To ensure your pools are diverse, consider:
- Partnering with universities and colleges that have a high number of minority graduates: Reach out to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-serving Institutions (HSIs) to actively recruit candidates from their diverse alumni pool.
- Attending diverse job fairs and recruitment events: Be proactive in attending job fairs that target minority candidates, such as those organized by organizations promoting diversity and inclusion.
- Sourcing candidates from online platforms and communities that cater to diverse demographics: Networks such as Jopwell, The Mom Project, and various veteran-focused job boards can provide you with access to a wider range of potential candidates.
3. Implement Bias-Reducing Hiring Practices
Even with the most diverse applicant pool, inherent biases can distort the hiring process. To ensure these biases are minimized:
- Implement structured interviews that standardize the process: Have a preset list of questions that are used for all candidates and stick to this structure to avoid any biased questioning. The more uniformity in the interview process, the better.
- Use tests or assignments that objectively measure a candidate’s skill set: Create standardized assessments and skill tests that candidates must complete to demonstrate their competence in the required areas. This ensures that you’re evaluating candidates based on their abilities, rather than subjective impressions.
- Consider using Artificial Intelligence (AI) in initial screening processes: While AI has its own potential biases, using it for initial screening can circumvent human biases in the early selection process. Just make sure your AI technology uses ethical algorithms.
4. Train Your Hiring Team
Everyone harbors unconscious biases. To tackle this:
- Regularly conduct diversity and inclusion training: Educate your team through workshops, seminars, and e-learning modules about unconscious bias and the detrimental effects of stereotyping.
- Encourage empathy and understanding between team members of different backgrounds: Create an open environment where employees can share their stories and experiences while others listen and learn. This helps staff members to better understand and empathize with the challenges faced by their diverse colleagues.
Create an Inclusive Company Culture
Diversity doesn’t stop at hiring. It’s also about retention and promotion, making it essential to cultivate an environment where everyone feels welcome and valued.
- Promote inclusivity in your mission and values: Incorporate diversity and inclusion into your company’s mission statement, and ensure that these values are communicated clearly to your staff and integrated into everyday operations.
- Foster employee resource groups (ERGs) to support minorities within your organization: Facilitate the formation of ERGs to empower employees from diverse backgrounds and to provide a platform for sharing experiences, addressing challenges, and offering support.
- Implement policies that ensure equal pay and opportunities are available to all within your organization: Strive for pay transparency by performing regular audits, and offer equal access to professional development opportunities for all employees.
- Promote diversity in leadership: Ensure that your organization’s leadership represents a range of backgrounds and experiences, and encourage those in management positions to actively promote the importance of diversity and inclusivity.
Diversifying your organization requires conscious effort and implementation of the best practices we’ve just discussed. Remember, sourcing diverse talent isn’t just a tick-box exercise. It’s about embracing different viewpoints, experiences, and backgrounds to drive creativity, innovation, and overall business success.
When you foster a culture where everyone, regardless of their identity or background, feels valued and included, you position your organization on the path to greater growth and success. Happy diversifying!