Over the last several years, we’ve seen an uptick in companies who have taken proactive measures to increase the diversity of their workforces. Businesses are jumping on board to expand inclusion initiatives, starting with recruitment and diversification of their candidate pools. Although boosting revenue and improving a brand’s reputation may be practical reasons to begin, the benefits of building a team from different backgrounds often exceed preliminary expectations. The positive impact on the job seeker and the business can have far-reaching, and even unexpected, consequences that leave many employers wondering why they didn’t act sooner.
Read on to learn about the benefits of hiring diverse candidates and how your company can increase its diversity and inclusion efforts throughout the recruitment process.
Why Hire Diverse Candidates?
Being intentional about recruiting diverse candidates is an excellent way to give largely underrepresented individuals equal opportunity in the hiring process. However, hiring a varied workforce does more than merely “check the diversity box” – it’s an intelligent business strategy. Companies that focus on diverse hiring are gaining an upper hand against the competition with their ability to develop in a global market, increase innovation, and boost revenue.
Innovation. Companies often use innovation as a differentiator. It’s not hard to see that organizations with innovative ideas – foresight and creativity – typically lead the pack. However, organizations that lack a diverse workforce, and continually employ workers from the same background, are at a high risk of producing narrow, even stale, ideas. On the contrary, put a group of diverse individuals together, and you’re guaranteed to gain fresh perspectives that challenge the status quo. Varied points of view improve the outcome of collaboration and are key to innovation.
Global Perspective. Businesses are no longer bound to their local geographies. With the help of the internet and technology, the world is one giant marketplace. However, if you have a homogenous workforce that shares a similar culture, location, and/or socioeconomic status, it may be more difficult to capitalize on opportunities outside your comfort area. A diverse workforce can help a company take a wider view of the world and make their ideas relatable to markets in different cities, states, regions, or countries. A diverse team is a building block for gaining a global perspective.
Higher Revenue. It should come as no surprise that with innovation and a global perspective come higher revenues. According to research by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), diversity in the workplace is a key driver of innovation, and diverse groups of employees are responsible for driving 19% higher revenue. The reason is attributed to diverse companies being better able to align their products and ideas with the changing needs of consumers. If a workforce mirrors the diversity in the marketplace, it’s better able to capture, in real-time, the feedback necessary to adapt quickly and find solutions for a wide range of customer needs.
How to Attract and Hire Diverse Candidates
To build a team of diverse employees, you must first attract candidates from different backgrounds. Take a look at these strategies that will help broaden your candidate pool.
Set a Diversity Goal. Before you begin the recruiting process, start with a practical metric that your organization can use for hiring diverse talent. Dig into the current make-up of your workforce, determine where there is underrepresentation, and focus on correction over time. Defining a specific goal allows your company to track success. In addition to setting goals for experienced hires, focus on entry-level positions to develop a long-term strategy for diverse career advancement within the organization. For example, set a goal of increasing the percentage of qualified entry-level females by 10% within 12 months. Within a few years, these women will advance in the company, and further diversify the ranks of management and leadership.
Advertise on Diverse Job Boards. If you want to recruit individuals from a myriad of backgrounds, you need to look where you haven’t before. Try promoting open positions on job boards specific to diverse candidates. Platforms like Hire Purpose or Recruit Disability exist to help military service members and job seekers with disabilities, respectively, find opportunities.
Avoid Biased Language. When it comes to crafting a job description, be mindful of the words you use. Avoid words that illicit bias, like gendered words associated with feminine or masculine stereotypes. For example, words like “aggressive” and “leader” are often associated as masculine words, where “understand” and “support” are more feminine. A lack of mindfulness toward wording of job descriptions can narrow your scope of interested candidates. Instead, opt for gender-neutral words.
Avoid Unconscious Bias. Unconscious bias, as natural as it is, can be a massive detriment to your success in attracting and hiring diverse candidates. Unconscious bias occurs when you allow your preconceived opinions of people to get in the way of, and influence your hiring decisions. It’s one reason many companies fail in their diversity and inclusion efforts. Leaders, managers, and those involved in the hiring process should undergo skills training to recognize their biases and combat personal prejudices. Armed with greater self-awareness and techniques such as interview panels, you can mitigate bias in the recruiting process.
Think Critically About Company Culture. In recent years, recruiters have emphasized finding candidates that fit well within a company’s pre-existing culture. It seems like a no-brainer to hire people that will inherently get along with one another. However, giving too much weight to cultural fit can result in hiring a homogenous workforce. Although culture is important, the more important factor is whether the candidate aligns with the company’s core values.
Beyond just a hiring trend, recruiting for a diverse workforce is an excellent way to offer equal opportunities to marginalized groups while gaining a competitive advantage. Learn more about how FrankCrum Staffing can help your company attract and hire diverse, top-level, qualified candidates.
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