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Different origin, gender, age, appearance, religion, ethnicity.... No two people are the same, and it’s this diversity that makes our world exciting and thrilling; therefore, we should strive for diversity in every area of our lives, including in the workplace.
Diversity is nowadays a real buzzword in the corporate environment, with organizations of all sizes coming to the realization that hiring a diverse workforce has turned from being a nice-to-have into being a must-have. For instance, Adidas pledged to fill at least 30% of new US positions with black or Latino people.
While diversity is a noble cause for companies to strive for, it also promises a positive impact on the bottom line, since diverse teams are more creative and innovative. In fact, most HR professionals would probably agree that diversity leads to improved business performance.
Read on as we dive deep into the advantages of working with diverse teams and how diversity hiring strategies can help you leverage these advantages. But first of all, let’s take a closer look at what diversity in hiring actually means.
Diversity in the workplace means working with a team whose members come from different backgrounds, have different experiences, skills and personalities, and are diverse with regard to gender, race, religion, age and more. It’s about embracing the different qualities of every individual and value the variety that results from it.
Hiring and recruiting strategies that aim to build such a diverse team are referred to as diversity hiring or diversity recruiting. Diversity hiring means that candidates are selected based purely on their merit, without the process being unencumbered by (unconscious) biases, which gives all applicants a fair chance to land the job.
Diversity hiring is, first and foremost, a question of doing the morally right thing. Discriminating against candidates during the job application process because of their gender, race or ethnicity is a bad moral choice and reflects poorly on the company’s reputation.
But there are also other, more tangible, reasons why businesses should aim to build diverse teams. These reasons include:
Enhanced creativity and innovation: Whenever employees from different cultural backgrounds come together, this leads to new ideas, which is crucial for businesses to develop innovative products and solutions.
Broader range of skills: Teammates from different backgrounds bring a variety of skills to the business, which is a real enrichment.
More languages to support your customer base: Employees from different countries speak different languages. This fact can be utilized to enhance your international customer support.
Unique cultural insights: Especially for businesses operating in different markets, having a diverse team whose members have in-depth knowledge of the local customer base and cultural differences makes all the difference.
Better employee retention: Being part of a multicultural, inclusive team is a rewarding and enriching experience for employees whose positive effect on employee retention shouldn’t be underestimated.
Positive impact on talent attraction: Likewise, diversity in the workplace is an important factor for attracting talent. In fact, 3 in 4 employees and job seekers consider a diverse workforce as an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers, as was shown in a Glassdoor study.
Looking at all these advantages, it’s not surprising that businesses with a diverse workforce generally perform better than competitors with a homogenous team. Or, as stated by the US Chamber of Commerce, “Diverse and inclusive businesses outperform their homogeneous competitors in innovation, employee retention, talent recruitment, profit and many other business metrics that lead to long-term growth”. Let’s back this up with some numbers and stats.
Research conducted by McKinsey shows that ethnically-diverse businesses are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their industry peers. For gender-diverse businesses, the increased likelihood of improved financial returns is 15%. And according to the 18th Annual Global CEO Survey carried out by pwc, 85% of CEOs whose organizations have a diversity and inclusiveness strategy report that it has enhanced their business’s performance.
In a nutshell: Diversity and inclusion are crucial for business success and growth. For a deep-dive into research and studies on the benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, you can also check out this Catalyst article, Why Diversity and Inclusion Matter.
Building a diverse team usually means hiring team members from all over the world. Here you can read about 8 benefits of a global workforce employers should know about.
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So, now we know why diverse hiring should be a top priority for businesses. But how can you actually make it happen? How do you recruit a diverse and inclusive workforce? Here are 7 actionable tips and diversity recruiting best practices.
The first step towards building inclusive teams in the workplace is to recognize and minimize existing prejudices. However, this can be a difficult task because we are often unaware of our own biases; yet they are ”built into our brains”, as stated by behavioral scientist Aline Holzwarth.
Unconscious biases can lead to a perception bias in the hiring process and make applicants appear unsuitable for the position without a factual basis. To successfully implement a diversity recruiting strategy, unconscious biases must be minimized. At the same time, diversity must be openly promoted across the entire organization.
If you want to hire a diverse workforce, you must make sure that your open positions can actually be found by candidates from different backgrounds. Make sure to publish job postings on different platforms and for different geographical areas. Posting on job boards that specifically target minorities or communities that value cultural diversity is also a good idea. If you already have employees from different cultural backgrounds, you can even reach out to them to ask for referrals and get them to share your company’s job postings with their network.
Targeting a diverse applicant pool is one thing, but to actually get diverse candidates to apply for your open positions, you have to clearly showcase that your company is diverse and inclusive. Make diversity an integral part of your company culture and let people know about your diversity efforts through your employer branding. For example, you could create a diversity careers page or post about diversity at your company on social media.
Another important aspect of creating a diverse hiring process is checking your job descriptions for neutral language. Very often, the language used in job postings conveys unconscious bias. For instance, adjectives like “energetic” or “fresh” could signal older candidates that they won’t be considered for the position. Tools like the Gender Decoder can help you accomplish this task.
And while reviewing your job descriptions, it might also be a good idea to reevaluate the job requirements you list there. Overstuffing job postings with requirements is counterproductive when hiring for diversity.
The best way to minimize unconscious bias in the actual hiring process is to standardize your processes as much as possible and define objective criteria to evaluate potential candidates. Develop clear procedures on how job applications are reviewed to not leave space for unconsciously biased action.
As for the hiring criteria, they should be established before the first applications are screened and be centered on completely objective aspects. If you want to take things further, you can even use blind resumes or leverage AI to review resumes.
While evaluating resumes blind allows you to avoid being subconsciously influenced by factors such as race, gender and ethnicity in the first step of the hiring process, avoiding bias during the actual job interview is a lot more complicated.
One technique often used in diversity recruiting is to use an interview panel instead of having interviews conducted by one single person. The more diverse your interview panel, the smaller the risk of biased hiring. Also, interviews should follow standardized procedures, and candidates should be evaluated based on objective scores.
Last but not least, your diversity hiring strategy should include clearly defined goals and targets to measure its success. Start off by defining suitable metrics for each part of the hiring and recruiting process. Don’t just focus on the final result, i.e. the number of employees from diverse backgrounds that are hired. Instead, track success and shortcomings throughout all stages of hiring. Here you can find a list of KPIs you can use to measure diversity in your hiring efforts.
Thanks to remote work, physical distance is no longer an obstacle when it comes to building a diverse team with employees from different backgrounds and countries. With asynchronous communication and remote work tools that enable borderless collaboration across different time zones, organizations can nowadays hire remote employees all over the world to make their teams more diverse.
While technology has removed most obstacles related to communication and collaboration, the compliance burden of hiring employees abroad persists. Local labor laws and payroll regulations must be respected, a compliant employment contract drafted and taxes and social security contributions withheld and submitted to local authorities on time. Without the necessary knowledge and expertise, businesses open themselves up to costly compliance risks.
This is where global employment solutions like Lano come into play. With our network of experienced Employer of Record partners, you can hire remote employees in over 170 countries worldwide without having to worry about compliance. Let us do the legal legwork while you focus on hiring and building a diverse team that will drive your business forward. Book a demo with our expert team to find out more.
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