What is workplace diversity?
Workplace diversity refers to a staff demographic makeup that includes members of underrepresented groups similar in proportion to the society at large. For example, if the general population is 20% black, 52% female, 15% Latino, an organization’s labor force would have a similar demographic makeup.
How can I increase workplace diversity?
1. Assess Your Current Workforce
Identify the makeup of your workforce. Consider gender, ethnicity, and geographic location (if you have remote workers). Plus age and educational background.
2. Make a Goal for Diversity Hiring
Pick one underrepresented group. Make a goal to increase your target hires by X amount in X months. When you’ve reached that goal, move on to the second category.
3. Write a Diversity Statement
Articulate your diversity policies and goals. Include it in your employee handbook and hiring team training materials. Put this statement on every piece of recruiting communication. This means your job requisition, job description, job posting, and careers page. Use it on internal documents so it’s always top of mind for your employees.
4. Make it a Company-Wide Initiative
Involve your workforce. Let your employees know about your diversity hiring goals. If you use an HR portal, remind your employees of your hiring values frequently when they clock in. Seek their input to create and carry out your plan.
5. Is Your Hiring Team Diverse?
Does your hiring team include minorities? Are job applicants interviewed by people from all demographics? Applicants will notice. If minority candidates have several jobs to choose from, the makeup of the interview team could be a factor in their decision.
6. Scrutinize Your Hiring Process
Hiring processes are complex. There are multiple touch points in the applicant journey. Dissect each step. An applicant tracking system (ATS) helps you understand each step in the workflow. An ATS stores all candidate communications and recruitment marketing. You can easily run reports on hiring demographics. An ATS makes it easier to create an inclusive candidate journey.
7. Rework Your Job Descriptions
Do you use gender-neutral terminology in your descriptions? Scrutinize your job descriptions and take out any gender-specific language. Instead of ‘he’ use ‘he or she’ or ‘s/he’. You can always use the job title in place of any pronoun.
Remove masculine language. Many words used frequently in job postings discourage women from applying. Here is a free gender decoder tool you can use. Just paste in your job description.
If your job description templates are stored in an ATS, it makes it easier to prevent problem words and phrasing.
8. Use Structured Interviewing
Ensure your interviewers use a script that has been carefully written to avoid bias. Train your interviewers to use it correctly. Manage your structured interviewing scripts in your ATS.
9. Decrease Bias in Candidate Filtering
If ‘corporate culture match’ is a hiring criterion, remove it. This is an easy place for unconscious bias to creep in. The goal is to eliminate subjective judgments.
10. Seek Diverse Referrals
An employee referral program is a great hiring tool for many reasons. If you have a referral program, use it in your diversity plan.
Our closest associates are likely from our same demographic group. When moving outward in our network, however, we find more diversity. Talk about this with your employees. Ask them to consciously look for referrals from your target groups.
11. Improve Onboarding
Good onboarding reduces turnover. Hiring more employees from inadequately represented groups is the first step. Retaining them is the second step. Look at the employees who have quit your company in the last five years. Identify whether minorities or women have shorter tenure. If they do, your corporate culture may not be welcoming to workers from underrepresented groups.
12. Use Exit Interviews
Hopefully, you don’t have a lot of employees quitting. If you do, use exit interviews to learn why they are leaving. You may discover you have problems with your managers. Perhaps your company doesn’t support work/life balance. Maybe there are few opportunities for advancement. Are your advancement policies discriminatory? Find out what’s going on and fix it.
13. Do Your Benefits Benefit…Everyone?
Does your company support employees in different life stages? Do you offer flexible schedules? Do you support working mothers and fathers? If your benefits are designed for a homogenous workforce, it will hamper your efforts.
Increasing diversity benefits your business
Working to achieve demographic parity is not just the right thing to do. It’s the best thing to do from a business standpoint.
Consider these findings by BCG:
Companies with above-average diversity on their management teams had higher innovation revenue. 19 percentage points higher than companies with below-average leadership diversity. 45% of total revenue versus just 26%.
Note that this study involved leadership teams. That underscores the importance of increasing diversity at the highest levels. If you focus only on entry-level positions, you won’t experience the same benefits.
- 50+ Ideas for Cultivating Diversity and Inclusion at Your Company, LinkedIn
- Creating a Diversity and Inclusion Training Program, Business News Daily
- Root Out These 7 Insidious Hiring Biases to Increase Workforce Diversity, Swipeclock
- Do You Want To Increase Workforce Diversity? 13 Top Tips For Diversity Hiring, ApplicantStack
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