There’s no doubt that diversity in the workplace works. Not only is it the right approach to take from a moral standpoint but it helps build a stronger team. So how do we make sure that you’re casting a wide enough net? Is it enough to simply try to include everyone?
Before, we go any further let’s first take a look at why diversity in the workplace plays such an important role in the success of a business.
The benefits of workplace diversity
A workforce comprised of employees from different backgrounds in terms of cultural, financial, or educational perspectives, brings untold benefits to a company.
In all honesty, we could be here all day listing the virtues of diversity but for the sake of brevity (and not keeping you away from work too long) here are the most significant.
Better input and solutions
Employees from different backgrounds or with different skill sets can offer a broader range of ideas and solutions. They can also spot things that other members of the team may not notice. The simplest example of this would be a group of men coming up with a marketing campaign for a woman’s product. In this instance, there’s no denying that a woman’s perspective would be a big help.
More services to offer
With diversity comes a broader range of talents and experience. These could be anything from the ability to speak another language to a cultural understanding that allows the company to deal with foreign clients on a more professional level. Having so much talent and experience to call upon also gives a business the ability to react quickly to unexpected circumstances. A new client from China struggling with English? It’s a good thing you have a Mandarin-speaking employee in sales, isn’t it?
Employees that work in an inclusive environment will likely feel happier. And we all know that a happy employee is a productive one. Equality in the workplace also encourages employees to try their best safe in the knowledge that regardless of their background, experience, age, or gender, their superiors will appreciate their efforts.
So just to summarise; diversity in the workplace = good.
How to create a diverse talent pipeline
When we think about workplace diversity, gender and race are often the first things that spring to mind. However, while these are of course important aspects, a pipeline that is both culturally balanced and contains a large percentage of women isn’t necessarily a diverse one.
Diversity in the workplace covers gender, race, and a whole lot more besides. We’re talking age, experience, qualifications, and education just for starters, which brings us to our first point.
Don’t focus on one group
A diverse talent pipeline is not one that is 50% male 50% female, or one that comprises equal measures of young fresh talent and experienced old hands. The truly diverse talent pipeline is one that doesn’t follow numbers but includes potential candidates regardless of their background, age, or gender and not because of it. By trying too hard to include one group you may inadvertently exclude another.
Embrace diversity in your current employees
The chances are that you already have a few employees that fit perfectly into the ‘diverse’ category (although we don’t encourage categorising your workforce). Make sure that when you are promoting or hiring from within the company that you actively encourage these employees to apply. Should they succeed, it will encourage others to follow suit and help you build a reputation as an inclusive employer.
Use social media to highlight your diversity
A few weeks ago we talked about measuring the health of your talent pipeline, and in that post, we mentioned using social media to highlight your work culture. This is also an ideal way to encourage a diverse range of candidates to join your talent pipeline. If you have a reputation as an inclusive workplace for all (see above), then you’ll attract a much broader range of talent from all walks of life.
Look beyond the obvious
If you know there are positions coming up in the accounts department over the next year; then you’ll likely start looking for candidates with relevant qualifications. But it might also help to look beyond those talents for further skills and experience. If you spot an accountant ‘open to opportunities’ on LinkedIn who also happens to speak fluent Spanish, then get that number cruncher into your pipeline. These skills may seem irrelevant now but like we said earlier, when unexpected situations arise, they could provide the ideal in-house solution.
Language is an easy-to-make example, but you could also apply this to age, experience, and gender. If you have a position that is typically held by males, then include some female candidates in your pipeline that qualify. One that is often held by older employees, then add a few younger candidates. You get the idea.
Take another look at your job descriptions
If you’ve noticed that your pipeline is a little unbalanced, then perhaps it’s down to your job description. Make sure that it doesn’t include any language that could be interpreted by a certain demographic as negative or disheartening. This is particularly true of the requirements section. Do your candidates really need to have 10+ years of experience or programming skills that would put Bill Gates to shame? If it’s not essential to getting the job done, then don’t include it. But you should be doing this anyway, right?
And broaden your range
It could be that your targeting is too specific. Perhaps the jobs board that you post on is most often frequented by professionals with a certain level of experience, or maybe your Facebook ads are limited in their age range. There are a lot of ways to ensure that you cast your net far and wide so make sure that you are taking advantage of them.
Remember that at the end of the day your talent sourcing efforts are all about one thing and one thing only – talent. Regardless of age, gender, race, or background, if a person has the skills, then they can do the job. Recruitment is all about finding the right person for the job, and if we limit our search to a select few, then we’re just making it harder for ourselves. So get started building your diverse talent pipeline today, and if you’re not sure where to start, then have a look to our diversity strategy.