Does Your Company Benefit from Diverse Hiring?
Diversity in the workplace is a group of people with different backgrounds, experiences, beliefs, perspectives and knowledge bases. This could include a variety of people with differing cultures, gender, nationalities, ages, education, abilities and more. If you are asking “Why is diversity important in the workplace?” or “How can I increase diversity in my workplace?” then this article is for you.
When you only hire a certain type of person, you only get that type of perspective. Many workplaces don’t realize they are being exclusive, but they are hiring only the candidates that look, act and talk like they do. This leads to a lack of well-rounded viewpoints and excludes certain groups. In general, minority groups tend to be the most overlooked for jobs or the most ostracized in the workplace when they don’t fit the social expectations or perspectives of the people in charge.
How Important is Workplace Diversity?
Often, company “fit” is determined by looking at a name on a resume, looking at the visible presence of the candidate or doing a brief interview that shows a difference in perspective. In some cases, businesses don’t even have many minority applicants to pull from, which is often indicative that they aren’t actively looking to increase their diversity. Hiring managers should recognize the value of diversity in the workplace and company culture, working to increase and cultivate those perspectives.
The advantage of diversity in the workplace includes the growth and maturity of your company. Here are 10 key reasons diversity will directly and indirectly benefit your company.
5 Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace
First, let’s start with five reasons your company will directly benefit from hiring a larger pool of varying perspectives and personalities.
- Expanded Creativity and Innovation: With different perspectives, you get different solutions and approaches to problems. You will get a more well-rounded team to tackle the tough issues.
- Better Decision-Making: There are many times a PR nightmare occurs with a product design or messaging that likely would have been avoided if certain groups had been involved in the decision-making process. A more diverse team often has a better grasp of how different groups of people are impacted by a company decision and can give their insight. In one study, an examination of team diversity in the workplace found that more diverse teams outperformed less diverse teams by 87%.
- Increased Profitability & Productivity: With increased idea-making and problem-solving, diversity in your company will also lead to better productivity which means more profitability. Your diverse team will have a number of different approaches to work and spur one another on.
- Enhanced Employee Engagement & Retention: When companies don’t have true diversity and only a “diversity hire” here and there, they don’t put true value on improving the breadth of their company culture. When you increase diversity, you make it a better workplace for everyone, keeping people on board longer because they feel their perspectives are appreciated and not just tolerated.
- Supports Positive Culture: When a company becomes a monolith, the culture is formed by an unchallenged echo chamber of perspective. In order to get out of the echo chamber, you need those ideas to be challenged with people who don’t “fit” (changing the culture). With diversity, your team will have a better grasp on how different actions could be perceived differently by other groups and more aware of the potential subtle cultural nuances that impact cross-culture business.
5 Benefits of Diversity for the Community
Not every benefit will be something you can control or measure easily. Here are five ways diversity benefits your company indirectly by benefiting the community first.
- Gives a Local Face: Representation will matter to smaller communities and companies should reflect local diversity. If you live in a diverse city or state, but fail to create a diverse team, then you will potentially get the backlash of your community. Your company offers important jobs and opportunities to the people it hires, so at the very minimum, hire the kind of diversity that surrounds your company.
- Brings in New Talent: "But what if my town isn’t diverse?” If you live in an area that lacks diversity, then being on the path towards increased diversity will encourage change in the community. You will be part of the solution that helps create a more including and accepting community where minority groups can comfortably consider it as a place to live. There is always a minority group of some kind in every town, whether it has to do with gender or age—so start there.
- Promotes Unity and Inclusion: When your workplace joins minority and majority groups together as coworkers, they are naturally more unified in the community. The coworker often becomes a friend and peer, rather than an “other.” Diversity at work could help unify various parts of your community when it values all perspectives. It can help bridge socio-economic divides when you bring in people from various parts of the city or town.
- Creates More Connections and Reach: As you increase the kinds of people you employ, you gain reach into their communities and give them reach into yours. You gain a larger audience you can appeal to for your sales and those audiences gain a company that cares about their point of view.
- Improved Empathy and Understanding: When you have more perspectives, you increase empathy and respect through understanding. Intent is important, but so is knowledge (many issues arise with ignorance). Your company will have a better reputation with your community when you focus on increasing and supporting a diverse workplace culture.
How to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
Sometimes a lack of diversity in companies stems from a lack of options in the resume pile. This is often an indicator that your company is not promoting a culture that would encourage diversity. There are some basic ways you can start improving your approach to appeal to a wider range of applicants.
Be Fair to All Employees
Diversity doesn’t mean always bending to the perspective of a certain employee or minority group.
When a workplace is truly diverse, then the perspectives are equally valued, though some will take precedence over others in different situations. If your company wants to do business with China, it would be very silly to think that the American perspectives in the room have equal weight as any Chinese voices that are telling you about cultural differences and expectations. This applies to many situations where a truly diverse team would recognize the importance of a needed perspective. But, that doesn’t mean the perspective is then less valued when it comes to topics where that person isn’t the “expert,” like deciding how breakrooms are run or training is done.
Value your Employees
Leadership should purposely seek advice from various employees and make it clear they are valued. You will struggle to increase or retain true diversity in your workplace if you don’t value it. Diversity is more than having two skin tones in a room or bringing some women on board.
Promote Growth Opportunities
Offer ways your employees will grow and improve their careers. With a program that helps train or educate employees for higher roles, you increase the people that want to experience the benefits.
Educate your Workforce on Diversity
Don’t just throw one big diversity meeting and workshop. Make diversity education part of your work culture. Strides towards understanding and consideration should be part of every staff newsletter, bulletins, meetings and more. This will include educating yourself on the struggles and difficulties minorities face; you will have an impossible time truly appreciating other groups if you don’t know much about them.
It might seem cliché, but there is no way to improve diversity if you aren’t encouraging diverse groups tackling important projects and issues in your company. Making “minority hires” isn’t enough to foster true diversity—it requires including them in the big decisions and creating well-rounded teams that don’t just offer two or three perspectives.
Offer Flexible Hours & Locations
It’s possible that your company expectations are limiting access. If you want to increase the diversity of your team, you might consider creating options that make it easier for more people to participate. If you aren’t sure why you don’t have a diverse talent pool—reach out and ask talent in different groups what would make them choose or not choose your company. You might be surprised at the response.
Incorporate Diversity Hiring Initiatives
If your talent pool is largely one culture, gender, age, religion, political affiliation, etc., then you may need to change your hiring initiatives to increase your options. The goal isn’t just to hire the first people that look or sound different, but to hire top talent that varies from what you currently have and naturally align with. A minority hire shouldn’t have to be better than every other candidate by a landslide either.
In order to improve your hiring strategies for better diversity, you need to:
- Appeal to broader ranges of people in your job ads
- Target sources of diverse candidates (don’t just stick with the same boards and sources every time)
- Encourage diverse team members to network for you
- Pinpoint your focus without exclusion (it’s okay to specifically target a group you really want to increase in your workforce for a broader perspective)
- Target specific groups for internships (consider paying because many unprivileged groups can’t afford unpaid internships and have to pass up good opportunities)
How to Leverage a Search Firm to Meet Diversity Needs
Leveraging a talent search firm can help you attract the right talent at the right time to strengthen your teams. We have over 18 years of experience at PeopleSuite and we know how fast the job market can move. Contact us today to find out how we can strategically approach your needs for a more diverse team.