Building a culture of diversity and inclusion begins with evaluating your current workforce, policies and practices. Ask yourself, “do our systems and processes hinder or help our ability to increase diversity in our operations?” Now more than ever, it is important to recognize that a one-size-fits-all approach no longer works.
Research from Gallup states, “companies that support a diverse and inclusive environment are more likely to have happy and engaged employees.” Furthermore, Gallup’s research found that an engaged workforce drives significant increases in customer loyalty, business profitability, productivity and employee retention.
In the simplest of terms “Diversity” refers to the traits and characteristics that make people unique, while “Inclusion” refers to establishing a sense of belonging for everyone. Diversity and inclusion go hand-in-hand. Increasing diversity requires ensuring everyone feels welcome.
Listed below are five strategies you can employ now to find a more diverse group of applicants:
1. Actively market your company’s diverse culture. More and more applicants are asking companies what they are doing to promote diversity and inclusion. When communicating with applicants, highlight the diverse culture you are building and your efforts to encourage more diversity and inclusion in your workplace.
Be prepared to answer this question with specific examples of your company’s efforts that encourage diversity, innovation, creativity and open-mindedness. This will set you apart from other employers. Share your goals for hiring diverse individuals at all levels of the organization. Let applicants know that you find value in diversifying teams and projects while creating opportunities for employees from different generations, backgrounds and life experiences.
2. Review your hiring process, starting with your job posting. Start by auditing your past job postings for bias. Make changes that speak to a more diverse range of candidates. Pay attention to language that is geared toward a specific demographic. For example: college graduates. Does the position truly require a college degree, or can the responsibilities be completed by someone with a high school diploma or general education diploma?
Another bias to consider is experience levels. For example: does an individual need to have one year of housekeeping experience or can the housekeeping responsibilities be completed satisfactorily following company training? Providing training for a position may also increase the diversity of your candidate pool considerably.
3. Create a diverse hiring team. Nothing speaks more to a diverse and inclusive culture than having diversity represented on your hiring team.
Create an interview team that represents diversity based on things such as:
- Variety in positions (entry, middle management, leadership)
- Gender, race, age, economic strata
- Cultures, beliefs, backgrounds
- Experiences, strengths, abilities
4. Provide diversity training for interviewers. Training management and interviewers to understand how their common biases impact their hiring decisions is critical to increasing diversity in the workplace. Your workforce starts with the managers who make hiring decisions.
Think about how easy it is to fall “in like” with a candidate who shares your existing beliefs and how easy it is to reject a candidate who challenges these beliefs. This and other hiring biases can lead managers to make non-diverse hiring decisions based on the unconscious assumptions made about candidates. Providing interviewers with ways to evaluate their potential biases is a great step toward promoting a culture of diversity and inclusion.
5. Review company policies and make sure they appeal to diverse candidates. Now is the time to walk the talk and proactively revise or implement company policies that may appeal to diverse candidates.
Things to consider include:
- Revising your time-off policies. A commitment to diversity includes providing opportunities for employers to take time off for a variety of religious holidays, community events and other events important to their beliefs.
- Revise your scheduling policies to encourage flexible work hours so employees may continue to be involved in their communities.
Take the first steps today to start actively marketing your company’s focus on increasing diversity and providing an inclusive working environment.