Posted on: March 2018 Lara Edgcombe
Achieving workplace diversity is a hot topic for almost all organizations. Just like any other critical business issue, it is one that requires the right balance of goal setting, strategic planning and monitoring.
Research by McKinsey reveals that ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform their respective industry medians. The study also demonstrated that gender-diverse companies outperform industry medians by 15%. Prioritizing workplace diversity not only results in a stronger team, it can also lead to increased sales, greater productivity, and better customer relations.
Shaping an Inclusive Workplace
Much has been reported about the technology industry’s struggle to create a diverse workforce. In 2015, for example, Google announced it was investing $150 million to promote diversity.2 Progress remains slow.
Of course, not all companies are able to invest such huge sums into diversity initiatives. However, there are plenty of ways any organization can move towards accepting and executing diversity initiatives.
Set Clear Diversity Goals
The starting point on the road to diversity is; understanding what diversity means for your company. Does it mean race and gender, or does it include age, sexual orientation, and disability? Once you have a definition in place, you can start to create specific goals that will improve the hiring process.
Whether your diversity goals focus on a particular demographic you want to increase or a complete transformation of company values, the aim is creating a workforce that represents your entire customer base. If you can attract a more diverse list of applicants, you will enjoy the benefits of a stronger and more innovative workforce.
When building your organization’s diversity program, it is important to avoid using specific statistics and percentages. Instead, take the time to understand what diversity goals the company has as a business, and listen to the experiences of existing employees. This allows a company to quickly collate multiple perspectives of the current situation and help form initial diversity goals that everyone can commonly work towards.
According to a study conducted by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co, goal-setting is an effective way to boost diversity in the workplace.3 The study (which focused on women in the workplace) revealed that firms with established targets outperformed those without goals in increasing the number of women in senior management roles.
Take a Strategic Approach to Diversity Recruitment
Diversity and inclusion is not a one-off initiative. Once diversity goals have been established, the leadership needs to create a long-term diversity recruitment strategy.
While adjusting your company’s candidate sourcing strategies may sound like a simple way to boost diversity, this isn’t always the case. It is crucial that senior management sets the tone for the rest of the organization. By becoming part of the diversity and inclusion program, senior leaders and hiring managers create a cross-company, open corporate culture of inclusion. The entire organization, from the top down; needs to develop this inclusive mind-set.
Creating this positivity extends beyond the confines of the company. If an organization is going to implement an effective diversity recruitment strategy, it needs to build a positive image of inclusivity. For example, one of your vacancies will only attract a diverse candidate pool if your company is seen to treat all applicants and staff fairly and without unconscious bias.
You need to be able to answer questions such as: What do diverse applicants want from a role and employer? What might we be doing to deter diverse talent from applying? And can we safely say there is no bias in our hiring process?
Research by LinkedIn revealed that 85% of jobs in the US are filled via networking.4 Recruiters can incorporate this trend into their diversity strategy by networking with more diverse communities, groups, and individuals.
Taking a strategic approach to diversity hiring means escalating current recruitment efforts, identifying barriers to an inclusive hiring process, and making the necessary changes.
Invest in Technology
Technology holds a huge amount of potential in terms of improving diversity levels and reducing discrimination. Innovative technology allows companies to see what happens at key stages of the recruitment process. This insight ranges from; which roles attract more diverse candidates, to discovering intricate details about how different candidates progress through the recruitment process.
Not only does technology provide a greater level of transparency, but it also allows businesses to make changes based on the data in front of them. Whatever the change – training hiring managers in diversity awareness, for example – leaders will be able to see the outcome, monitor the impact, and make improvements if necessary based on the results.
It is not enough just to hire for diversity, you need to measure, track, and improve your efforts on an organization-wide level. Technology allows you to do this, making employee engagement simpler and more consistent. Internal data holds a huge amount of information relating to employee demographics and segments. By collecting and using this data, you can identify the resources needed to make changes and bridge any gaps.
Technology also allows those setting the diversity strategy to dig deeper into the data and discover the impact under-represented groups are able to make in terms of leadership, ideas, and innovation.
Committing to Diversity
It is one thing to say a company is committed to diversity, but another to take actionable and meaningful steps towards achieving it. Diversity needs to sit at the core of what a company does. This means making diversity part of your brand’s identity, incorporating diversity beyond HR, and even including diversity data as a measure of company performance.
Diversity and inclusion is a top priority at Phaidon International, both internally as well as for the clients we support. Get in touch to learn more about attracting diverse candidates, creating a more inclusive workplace, and building your own diversity strategy.