Three Ways to Increase Workforce Diversity
By Rebecca Ferlotti
If everyone looks the same in your annual company picture, it might be time to reassess your HR practices; sameness is detrimental to your company’s bottom line. People want to see themselves within your company (both your customers and your employees), and when you have a workforce that reflects your diverse target market(s), you have access to the full marketplace.
Whether your company is starting from scratch with a brand-new diversity policy or you want to build on your existing inclusion initiatives, here are three ways to increase diversity within your workforce.
Evaluate your workplace culture
Write down the driving forces of your hiring and retention practices. What are your non-negotiable candidate qualities across the board? Identify how people interact within the office, how they speak to each other, and how they resolve conflicts. Once your workplace culture is in front of you, think about what facets of your culture are a hindrance to inclusivity.
Develop a diversity policy with your company’s diversity obstacles in mind. Put steps in place to improve any team behaviors that might go against the policy through cultural sensitivity training. Get the word out about your diversity policy by hosting an official launch with your team. Be intentional about your marketing materials, showcasing your diversity policy in practice to continue inclusive trends within your business.
Recruit outside of your backyard
If you aren’t getting many diverse candidates, it may be time to cast a wider hiring net. Advertise in areas outside of your typical range – within magazines that have a reader base different from yourself and on websites that reach a diverse range of people. Attend networking events that might attract a wide variety of candidates such as events hosted by cultural organizations and women’s groups. Reach out to local colleges and universities for information about their job fairs; prime young employees to rise through the ranks with a mentorship program.
When you’re looking to fill a position, ask your team members for referrals. Not only does this build trust, but you might end up with a bunch of talented candidates who may not have otherwise stood out in an application pool.
Embrace flex time
The workforce is becoming more virtual in part because that flexibility grants workers time to spend with their families. Single parents are seeking out work-life balance; when your company steps up with a policy that promotes flexibility, you have the chance to attract a more diverse group of applicants. Flex time also is helpful for individuals who take public transportation and college students seeking out internships – being able to complete work virtually opens up your business to additional diversity options.
Flex time benefits everyone. Employees who opt to work from home are typically more productive and, with less people around the office at times, team members who prefer to drive in to work each day may have extra quiet time.
The current labor force seeks out diversity when they are weighing their job options. By implementing diversity and inclusion practices, you are setting up your company for long-term success.