August 27, 2018 6:00 AM

Diversity – Is It Really Such a Big Deal?

Diversity in the workplace; it’s the one thing that recruiters all over the world are talking about, and we never get tired of talking about this here. From culture to gender and everything else in between, diversity is something that every company and recruiter should have a handle on, and if you don’t already have a plan in place to embrace diversity in the workplace, then it’s time you got started.

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So that’s the whole gender and culture thing, right?

Well, yes it is but in truth diversity is about a whole lot more than just a person’s ethnicity or their gender. Diversity covers the whole spectrum of differences that makes us all unique (and very special) individuals. So let’s take a look at each in turn.

Gender

Thankfully we have stepped out of the dark ages and into the modern era where men and women are often equally represented in the workplace. We still have a lot of work to do at C-level and regarding equal pay but generally speaking recruiters see no difference between a male and a female candidate. As we said, it’s not perfect yet, but we’re making slow and steady progress. 

Culture

Diversity in terms of ethnicity or cultural background is a hot topic. With recruiters now sourcing talent globally as opposed to in the local jobs boards of old, we have a greater opportunity to build a workforce comprising a variety of cultures. This is important because a culturally diverse workforce is often a more understanding and accepting group of people which can only be a good thing especially for teams dealing with overseas clients or customers.

Physical ability

Not every recruitment drive will attract candidates who have reduced physical abilities but is this because your recruitment process unintentionally excludes them from taking part? Excluding these candidates from your sourcing efforts means that you are narrowing your search and could miss out on a superstar hire that didn’t realize you offered remote interviews.

Age

Unfortunately, there are many companies that tend to hire from a certain age group. Whether that’s older candidates with more experience or younger ones with drive and enthusiasm is unimportant. The fact is that having a workforce that predominantly one age group means that the team lacks the skills and expertise that someone from another generation could bring to the table. Generational diversity can bring together both experience and raw talent which, as we’re sure you are well aware, often results in great things.

Education

Employers often have their favorite university or college, and they like nothing more than to hire graduates from these fine institutions. But just because a candidate attended a certain school doesn’t mean that they have the required skills or personality to fill a role. Then there are also those candidates who may not have academic qualifications but have years of experience in the role. Keeping an open mind when it comes to educational background helps you cast a wider net which means more potential candidates.

 

There are other factors that we could also consider when looking to diversify a workforce such as sexual orientation, economic background, and religious or political beliefs. But generally speaking, paying close attention to the five aspects listed above should help you build a pretty diverse workforce.

 

Is it really that important?

As we mentioned earlier, if you look at it from a self-serving perspective (we’d never call you selfish!) embracing diversity allows you to cast a wider net. It ensures that you have a broader talent pool to choose from which should increase your chances of successfully filling any positions.

But as much as we want to fill those positions, diversity in the workplace is a much bigger deal than finding new hires in the easiest way possible. Just take a look at these potential benefits.

A broader range of experience

A diverse workforce is one made up of individuals with different backgrounds both socially and at work. This gelling of personal perspectives and histories can lead to team members benefitting and learning a great deal from each other.

It fosters innovation and creativity

Young hires fresh out of college often have that creative and innovative flair that reignites the same spark in older employees. And when enthusiasm is paired with experience we often see the most innovative ideas and concepts become a reality.

It opens doors

A diverse workforce can help open doors for your business. That could be through a female perspective in a marketing campaign or overcoming a language barrier with a prospective client. The possibilities for positive growth are endless when you have people from a variety of backgrounds on your side.

It makes for a happier environment

These days, candidates want to work for companies that are socially responsible and being an inclusive employer ranks quite highly on the list of positive brand attributes. So in choosing to have a diverse workforce, you are also creating a happy (and inclusive) environment, and we all know that happy employees are the ones that get the job done with a minimum of fuss.

 

So what can I do?

First things first, you need to take a look at requirements in your job descriptions and make sure that they don’t exclude people from specific backgrounds. You also need to ensure that you have an accessible application process that allows for people with physical disabilities or those who may not have easy access to interviews the same chance as others. Remote interviews are a thing now, and you really should consider taking advantage of the many video tools on the market.

You should also take steps to remove human bias from the screening or initial selection process, and this can be easily done by automating these processes or using platforms that allow you to hide certain details which may sway your judgment.

Overall though, the most important thing to do is to have an open mind. We just spoke about removing human bias, and there’s no better way to do so than by changing your mindset and that of your team and perhaps even your employers.

 

Do you keep diversity in mind when sourcing your talent? Do you have a truly diverse candidate pipeline? If you need to know more about your candidate pipeline or would like easier access to the most relevant information, our sourcing consultants can help you, because it just so happens that diversity sourcing is what we do best. If you’d like to know more about how vsource can help you build a truly diverse workforce, then get in touch today.

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