The Great American Melting Pot – How to Diversify Your Workforce. The United States of America is a unique nation, for countless reasons. The early settlers wanted a destination for all people to come and pursue new dreams and new opportunities. The foundation of America was based on the desire to pursue dreams not limited by centuries of social rankings and caste systems, nor opportunities limited by creed, ethnicity, religion, or other defining factors. It’s taken generations for Americans to continue refining and fulfilling this lofty ideal. But every day we work to get a little closer to it. Diversity in America is shown through foods from around the world now considered “American.” A diverse nation is shown in people following whatever religion they choose…or none at all. Diversity in wardrobes includes business suits, saris, hijabs, turbans, prayer caps, and baseball caps.
Diversity in the American workplace is just as important as diversity in every other part of our daily lives. Let’s take a look at why diversifying your workforce matters, and how your organization can maximize it.
Why is it Important to Diversify Your Workforce?
It’s about much more than having an organization appear “woke.” Diversifying your workforce is about providing better service to customers and constituents. True diversity stems from many sources…ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, education levels, gender-equal professional opportunities, sexual orientation, and welcoming staff members with disabilities (and the list goes on). The world outside of your office IS diverse. With a more diverse staff on board, your organization will relate better to the public, whether you’re selling widgets or providing government services. This leads to longer-term value creation and higher satisfaction levels among clientele and staff.
There are many ways to institute more diverse, inclusionary hiring practices. Here are just a few:
Look outside of the box.
It’s easy to rely on recommendations for new job candidates from current staff members. Using internal referrals as a main source of employee recruiting, can lead to today’s non-diverse workplace becoming tomorrow’s still non-diverse workplace. Start by making diversity a key focus for recruitment advertising on many levels a priority to avoid hiring the same cross-section of people over and over again
Send neutral, broadly-inclusive signals to recruits.
According to Forbes magazine, that starts with the job listing. In job descriptions, use neutral titles (i.e., salesperson, not salesman) and even try to avoid using gender-based pronouns. Avoid “he” and “she” and go with “they” instead.
Remove biases from recruitment and interviewing processes.
Forbes also suggests having a group of interviewers interact with job candidates who are as diverse as the candidate pool itself. On your website, eliminate photos names, and even references to current staffers’ years of experience, which is just an “average employee age” calculation trigger for job seekers.
Foster an organizational culture that’s a level playing field.
Industrial Psychology Consultants (IPC) cites a study done by Deloitte that shows 83% of Millennial job seekers are more actively engaged when they perceive an organization to be more inclusive. Thirty years ago, more than 95% of senior managers at U.S. employers were men. But a study by the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland showed that organizations with high female representation in top management generated more innovation and greater financial gains.
Make flexibility and employee accommodation your calling cards.
Also called out by IPC from Deloitte’s study of diverse hiring practices is that more work schedule options, work-from-home time, kids’ sick days, and equally generous maternity and paternity leave all attract working parents. Opportunities for earned additional paid time off, or four-day workweeks at 10 hours per day can get the attention of job candidates who are young, single, and without children. Even office environment changes like on-site daycare through third-party providers, private nursing rooms for mothers and gender-neutral bathrooms send an inclusive message.
Institute blind resume reviews.
An article by TechCrunch.com noted that a study done by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that when HR staff and hiring teams were shown resumes that hid candidates’ names, genders, and references like country of birth, all resumes received more equal reviews and candidate interview appointments.
Use recruiting tools like multi-lingual job postings.
When you speak their language, people tend to listen. That’s just human nature. But we’re not just talking about running job announcements through Google Translator and hoping for the best. Professional translation services can be surprisingly affordable, and help ensure cultural relevance, accurate vocabulary, and plain language in any language. This is especially important if you determine that international recruitment outreach will be part of your hiring plan, depending on factors like career path specializations in various global regions.
In short, opening your mind and your hiring methodologies to broader diversity will open your organization to better performance, higher retention of quality staff, and a happier workforce that meets the needs of happier customers.
ECU Communications happens to boast a diverse workforce of our own, and we specialize in multicultural recruitment in the public and private sectors. To learn how easy it can be to diversify your workforce and hiring spectrum, contact us at ecucomm.com.