Having a diverse workforce isn't simply about showing a rainbow of faces on your company website or at an all-hands meeting. Diversity can make your team stronger, more cohesive, and higher-performing to boot.
And maybe your office, and company at large, is made up of an assortment of backgrounds and equal parts men and women. But, if your company isn't looking quite that diverse, we've got some ideas for laying the groundwork to create a more diverse workforce, and therefore a stronger team.
1. Broader Ideas
One of the reasons people encourage younger generations to travel abroad is so they are immersed in different cultures that they might not ordinarily be. Learning about different beliefs and mindsets through relationships with people of a variety of races and religions helps you break free from homogeneous thought and positively impacts your worldview.
The bottom line is that when you bring new ideas, different viewpoints, and communications styles to the workplace, you're not just creating a diverse team, you're engineering a diversity of thought—one that is agile and can tackle unique problems. We all have our own unique perspective that we bring to the table, and a diverse workforce can reduce a company's blindspots.
Plus, diverse teams are also more creative because employees are exposed to different attitudes and means of expression, essentially creating a laboratory for new ideas and innovation. Now that's a win win.
2. Higher Retention
Retention is key. When your organization promotes diversity, you're not just saying that you're a progressive company, you're creating something that looks more like the fabric of the US. Millennials are the most diverse generation in this country's history, in fact 44% of them are minorities. And 47% actively look for companies that have diversity and inclusion programs when deciding on a job offer.
If employees know that a company values diversity—and has the added perks of a swell 401(k) and paid parental leave—then chances are they're going to be more fulfilled because they can bring their whole self to work, regardless of race or sexuality.
3. A Stronger Brand
Have you ever really looked at your company's, or any large brand's, annual diversity report? What is it really saying?
For brands, it's not all about optics. It's a real tool for human resources to create stronger teams and better companies overall.
If diverse teams create better products or solutions, and they're producing those things for people all over the world, that has a far reaching effect. Don't let it be a negative one due to lack of diversity.
4. Bigger Profits
Reducing turnover and fostering different points of view in the workplace is critical. And one of the benefits is bigger profits.
One recent study by BCG found that diverse teams can raise revenues by 19%. Why's that? If you have a diverse workforce, they are more likely to relate to and understand the needs of a particular client. So, there's a massive financial carrot dangling from a stick for businesses who embrace D&I.
So, How Do You Do It?
There's no guaranteed silver bullet to recruiting diverse hires, but there are a few steps any organization can take to improve their chances.
Develop a strategy and stick to it. Don't just say you're going to make diverse hires a priority, draw up a company-wide commitment that has buy-in across the board, and measure how successful the plan is.
Show unconscious bias the door. Maybe even consider having recruiters take names off of applications, or implement gender-blind applications.
Ensure that there is greater diversity in leadership and management positions. When job seekers see themselves represented not only throughout the company but in leadership positions, they know that it's an organization that prizes diversity and inclusion.
Attend conferences specifically for diverse job seekers. You can find conferences through college job fairs and alumni groups.
Think about what kind of benefits you are offering. Does health insurance extend to partners of LGBTQ employees? What about increasing paid parental leave or offering time off for everyone's religious holidays, not just Christmas and Easter?
Utilize your company's Business Resource Groups (BRGs) to build your network further and get involved in the community. If those groups have ties to universities and their student groups, that can also serve as a pipeline for exceptional talent.
Part of the journey is actually getting there, and you have to walk before you run, but there are concrete steps you can take now to diversify your recruiting pool. If your organization can develop a meaningful strategy while meeting D&I head-on, you'll not only improve your brand's reputation, but you'll increase retention, and your company will thrive.