Diverse Workplace

How to Create a More Diverse Workplace

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We are all really used to words and phrases like “Diverse workplace environment” by now. # have heard them for a couple of decades at least and we believe to really know what it means.

For some of you, it might be just having differet etnias at your company. Some other might think that inclusive work practices means hiring LGBTI. However, it is really interesting to see how many companies who believe to be diverse are really not.

Extrict definition of diversity

1. The state of being diverse, variety

2. A range of different things

This, by definition doesn’t mean having a little bit of this, or one of the other… like an example of something you “need to have” in order to say you are a diverse workplace. Diversity means VARIETY.

Why it is important to be diverse?

As we explained on a previous post about the importance of being diverse, when most companies evaluate their target markets, they will quickly see that their products, services, sales and marketing communications, or customer service interaction need to appeal to a very broad and diverse group of individuals. This holds true whether the market is local, regional, national or global.

The world is becoming far more diverse in terms of ethnicity, cultural background, language, and many other factors. Factors that affect perception of brands and decisions to buy or look for products and services elsewhere. For instance, in retail products (and increasingly, in the B2B sector as well), women are very often the key decision makers and influencers. If women perceive the selling organization to be a “men’s club,” they are likely to look for a source of supply where women are owners, leaders and empowered decision makers. This is not merely a superficial bias; women are likely to communicate with women about products and services with an especially effective resonance.

For companies to compete successfully in an extremely diverse marketplace, it stands to reason that the company itself must be comprised of employees with diverse backgrounds. And, since demographic trends clearly show that diversity is growing in most countries, companies must work all the harder to achieve maximum diversity in their workforce if they are to compete successfully in the years and decades ahead.

So, How do we actually create a more diverse workplace?

As an small or medium company, that team will be you and your managers, so you will need to understand how a good recruitment process that helps you with this aim.

1 Making Diversity part of your culture (not just the papers)

Having a diverse culture starts from the CEO. As a very standard example, it is not diverse if managers in the company are from the same race (whatever this is), same gender (whatever this is) and the same age bracket (whatever this is) and the rest of people are on the subordinates roles. If this is the case of your company, we are afraid to say that your company doesn’t meet the definition. Variety means accross all the company stages.

Try to be aware of the different profiles your company has. How is the area where you live? or the people that have the needed education to deliver the work you need at the company. Is your company as diverse as you can?

Having a diverse culture also means to listen to everyone’s ideas in the same way. Not because someone is young means they don’t know about business. In the same way, because someone is older, it doesn’t mean they don’t know about technology. Everyone has different visions, and that is the point. That people will add different perspectives to the final result.

2 Stablish your goals, also in terms of creating a diverse workplace

As you stablish your yearly smart objectives for the business, do it also in terms of diversity. If it is not part of your business objectives, it will not happen. It will get diluded into the daily issues of the day to day.

3. Make sure your job description doesn’t discourage anyone from applying for any of the wrong reasons.

A ) Including years of experience within the job description could be discriminatory, but it will also ban certain ages… If you are looking for knowledge or a way of acting describe it as “extensive experience” vast knowledge in… “. You never know who is out there, the experience they had in few years or the potential someone with less years of experience might have. Also, X years of experience with something doesn’t mean they are experts, it only means they didn’t get fired….

B) Location. Surprisingly, many job descriptions include location, or living close to the office… in the current world, where people travel or are able to move, rejecting candidates for the only reason that they currently not leave in the same city seems strange. This might avoid you receiving different people to the one you are used to. It might also bring you new knowledge and someone that for many different reasons might want to live in your city. It also might be that they don’t have enough money to live close by, so they will travel daily… it might be bad for them, but it definetely doesn’t affect your company.

C) There are many other options that could avoid you from taking a good diversity of candidates.. when you review the job description or the advert, make sure everything is necessary, and it is not just a copy and paste from the internet. Things on google are not necessarily correct, specially from a best practices point of view.

4. Look for candidates in diferent places.

This is one of the main mistakes that companies and recruiters do when recruiting people. They complain because candidates are always the same, but they don’t spent time in looking widely.

Candidates will come from where you advertise. Think about the jobboards where you are placing your adverts, or the headhunters you are using (yes, this can also affect). Let’s think about the adverts.

If you are looking for freshmen, coming out of university to join your company… are they all from the same universities? are you advertising in every kind of university?

Your answer to this can be that only people from X university meet your standards?

Really? Have you interviewed others? If you do a good recruitment process and follow all the right steps, you could really filter candidates from every university and add some diversity to your company. It doesn’t matter if they are from a different race, gender or age, if they went to the same university… you might be lying to yourself in terms of how diverse your company is.

5. Make sure you use a group of interviewers that are different from each other.

Whether if you think you are being fair or not, the HALO effect will always be there to make you tend to select those that have something similar to you. We are human beings, we do that. Even the more concious ones. We will always think that someone who has something in common with us is better.

The only way to avoid it , and make a fair decission is to have a diverse panel. Again, if the team deciding has the same background and characteristics, the probabilities say that the appointed candidate will be similar to them. Chose, whithin the possibilities and relevant people to select the role, the more diverse team that you can. If is not possible, please make the effort to be aware of your decissions, from the moment you start filtering CVs.

6. Use the same criteria to evaluate all candidates

An standard recruitment process and clear ideas about what you need from the very beginning are essential. If you don’t let that clear from the start of the process, you will allow space for subjectivity. Make sure you design the perfect job description (download it from us at the end of this article). Evaluate candidates just based on the criteria you selected and stick to it. It is the only way to be fair, and what will make sure that you create a diverse workplace.

7. If you are using a referal system, encourage those that are a minority within the team.

Referal system could be tricky and we don’t necessarily recommend them for many reasons that could fill another posts… however, if you do them, make sure you encourage the minorities in your company to refer people from their contacts. It will help you attracting a more diverse source of candidates.

8. Make sure everyone is onboard, or they understand they need to be.

An important point never to be overlooked is that successful recruiting in terms of diversity cannot succeed in a vacuum. If the recruiting team emphasizes diversity but the organization as a whole does not, new hires with diverse backgrounds are unlikely to stay if the culture is simply too unwelcoming. This would create a very unpleasant and costly situation. In addition to generating costly employee churn, diversity disconnects will result in negative brand perception as frustrated ex-employees (or current ones) share negative experiences through social media and other channels.

TO SUCCEED IN DIVERSITY, MAKE SURE IT GOES TOP DOWN FIRST

To succeed in creating a diverse workforce, the entire organization, from the top down and the bottom up, needs to embrace diversity. By doing so, recruiting success and overall success in organizational performance will naturally follow. To learn more, please continue reading below.

As a summary of the post, The infographic below by Goodwill Car Donations, is a good example of some of the steps to take that we explained above.

This infographic was created by Goodwill Car Donations, a charity auto donation program

If you have any questions related to any diversity topic, please contact us through any of our social media or channels and we will come back to you as soon as possible.


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