4 recruitment tips for building a diverse workplace

Cultivating diversity is an essential component of a good recruitment strategy

4 recruitment tips for building a diverse workplace

A growing number of job seekers feel that a diverse workplace is an important factor when considering a job offer. In fact, a recent Glassdoor study found that one in three job seekers would not even bother to apply for a job at a company that lacks diversity in its workforce.

This trend highlights the importance of developing a recruitment strategy that cultivates diversity in the workplace. But what does a diverse workplace look like and how can recruiters be effective when hiring for diversity?

Read more: How to improve inclusion in the workplace

The importance of diversity in the workplace

Diversity in recruitment is when an organisation intentionally hires employees of different backgrounds and experiences across gender, age, ethnicity, race, socio-economic level, sexual orientation, religion, and education for the purpose of building a diverse workforce.

And cultivating a diverse workforce brings a myriad of benefits to both employers and employees. Research from online decision-making platform Cloverpop found that diverse teams and inclusive decision-making can lead to better solutions, more innovative outputs, and more productive employees.

That’s not surprising, since a group of diverse individuals can invariably offer fresh perspectives and opinions for different situations. Creating a workplace that represents different cultures, backgrounds, and points of view also allows employees to feel more confident and comfortable in being themselves, which can increase employee engagement and improve performance.

As for the bottom line, a 2015 McKinsey report involving 366 public companies across Canada, Latin America, the United Kingdom, and the US found that ethnic, racial, and gender diverse companies were more likely to have financial returns above their industry mean. The report also found out that companies who have less diversity in the workforce performed low and are statistically less likely to achieve above-average financial returns.

Challenges in building diversity in the workplace

While having diversity in the workplace is a great goal for any organisation, building diversity through recruitment can come with its own set of challenges.

One common challenge is how to align diversity hiring practices with unique organisational goals. Every company has its own mission and set of objectives, so it’s important to that diversity practices support these goals.

A good first step is to conduct a diversity-focused survey to identify your organisation’s needs and crafting your strategy from the results. This prevents your organisation from wasting time on initiatives that may not be relevant to your objectives. Having diversity training is also a good way for companies to start moving towards a healthy workplace.

And while an increasing number of employees say they support having a diverse workforce, there will inevitably be some workers who are still uncomfortable with the idea and may refuse to adjust to a new environment. There is no golden solution to internal resistance, but it is important that companies make a consistent effort to educate their employees on why diversity is essential. Making the company’s beliefs clear could also help employers see whether their employees share the same sentiment. 

Read more: Why diversity is not just a numbers game

Recruitment tips to build diversity in the workplace

Below, we give four tips that could help recruiters improve diversity within the workforce:

1. Introduce diversity targets 

Establishing clear, timely, and achievable diversity targets in the hiring process is a great way to show that your organisation is serious about cultivating a diverse workforce.

Keep in mind, however, that setting diversity targets solely to increase the number of minority hires without emphasising the importance of inclusion can lead to several problems. Instead, companies should set and review targets that will benefit their employees, open new opportunities, and improve the existing work culture.

2. Hire employees that add to the culture

It’s understandable that employers would want to hire workers who can just slide into their existing culture – however, this approach could also lead to a homogenous workplace if left unchecked.

Instead, employers should strive to hire people who can add to the existing culture, keeping an eye out for candidates who are able to bring something unique to the organisation. To achieve this, employers should endeavor to widen their talent pool to include people from non-traditional backgrounds and underrepresented communities.

3. Modernise corporate policies

Diverse organisations are constantly evolving to keep up with the trends and needs of their industry, customers, and employees. As such, organisations should regularly check and update their corporate policies to provide the best working conditions for their employees. This will enable the companies to tap into a diverse talent pool while strengthening their brand. 

Companies should also consider creating policies that include all employees, such as specific policies for disabled workers, parents, women, and workers with mental health issues.

A good example is having an inclusive religious and cultural observance policy that allows employees to celebrate and participate in the customs of their religion with the company’s support.

4. Offer internship opportunities

Many companies have started making internships and co-op positions available to a wider and more diverse set of candidates to create internal diversity programs. Organisations can do this by reaching out to schools and community groups. Teaming up with these groups can help companies give back to their respective communities while connecting to new and diverse talent. 

Whatever the approach, the first step will always be recognising the importance of a diversity workplace to an organisation. Promoting diversity in the workforce has become an essential component of any good recruitment strategy.

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