By this point, there’s no excuse for a lack of diversity in business. Even if your company doesn’t have a diversity plan in place yet, it’s something you should be actively thinking about and implementing.
With that said, many companies simply don’t know where to start. They have good intentions and want to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce, but they don’t have the knowledge or tools to put a clear plan in place. Here are some of the key elements needed for a successful workplace diversity plan.
The Benefits of a Diverse Workplace
The benefits of a diverse workplace are numerous. From lower turnover rates to improved morale and from better innovation to increased revenue, businesses that prioritize diversity and true inclusion outperform their competitors and attract the best talent. It also helps to boost a company’s reputation and brand.
Diversity isn’t just about race or ethnicity. Having diverse perspectives within your company also means having people of different genders, ages, religions, sexual orientations, disability status, and more. It can even mean hiring people with different work styles and personality types.
Prioritizing true diversity isn’t about “checking boxes.” It’s about creating a welcoming work environment that encourages happiness, productivity, and organizational performance. A lack of diversity eventually leads to stagnation and can foster a toxic work environment for people who are considered “different.”
Common Roadblocks to Diversity at a Company
If diversity is so beneficial, then why is it so challenging to get right? So many companies say they want to be more diverse, yet their workforce never changes. What gets in the way? Well, there are several diversity roadblocks that can come up in the planning and implementation of diversity initiatives.
One of the most common roadblocks is an issue known as cognitive bias. Hiring managers often have subconscious biases that reduce opportunities for diversity. Research has shown that people with “Black-sounding” names are 14% less likely to get a call back from an application. Additionally, people are naturally resistant to change and mandatory diversity training might have limited effectiveness or even backfire.
In addition to these obstacles, every organization has to contend with communication issues, cultural differences that might make it difficult for new employees to be heard and to feel comfortable, and conflicts between employees. Plus, these programs are just plain expensive, especially for small organizations. These obstacles help to explain why so many companies struggle to become truly diverse, but they can also help other organizations anticipate and plan for similar issues.
Get Started by Conducting a Diversity Audit
To build your organization’s diversity plan, you have to start by knowing what your company needs to work on the most. Start by conducting a diversity hiring audit to find out why you’re having trouble attracting and hiring diverse candidates.
Once you’ve completed the audit, pick one metric at a time to work on. You could aim to increase gender diversity by a modest percentage, for example, or dedicate yourself to hiring a certain number of workers of different ages. Keeping it simple at first will help prevent overwhelm and confusion.
Avoid Recruitment Biases and Use the Blind Hiring Technique
We went over the concept of cognitive bias as a roadblock to diversity. So how can you avoid this problem? With the Blind Hiring technique.
Essentially, blind hiring involves anonymizing personal information that could lead to bias in the hiring process. Software that removes personal information from resumes can be a great tool for helping to increase diversity in your hiring process.
In addition to blind hiring, it’s important for your recruiters to actively seek out diverse candidates. Provide incentives for referrals from your existing employees. Post openings on diverse job boards. Consider offering targeted internships! All of these activities will help to promote diversity within your organization.
Helpful Tools to Improve Your Company’s Diversity
When creating a diversity plan, you’ll want all the help you can get. There are some great diversity hiring tools out there that can make it easier to transition your workplace into a more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming environment. Many of these programs leverage data to evaluate applications or help you find diverse candidates. Great choices include:
- HRX—blind application software
- Unitive—job posting and hiring software
- GapJumpers—performance audition challenges
- Blendoor—blind recruiting app
There are lots to choose from, so do some research and find the tools that are best suited to your organization. Remember, a tool can’t do all the work for you, but it can help YOU be more effective and successful.
Take Action and Prioritize Workplace Diversity
Getting your diversity initiative right requires research, but at some point, you also need to take action. Don’t keep putting it off because you’re afraid it won’t be perfect. There will be some hiccups along the way. Expect and prepare for them! It might be a bumpy road, but it will all be worth the effort in the end.
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