5 Strategies to Build a More Diverse Workforce

5 Strategies to Build a More Diverse Workforce

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The world is a diverse and cosmopolitan place and this works because different people are good at different things. The workplace is no different. Besides the legal ramifications of anti-discrimination legislation, there are various solid reasons why hiring a diverse workforce is beneficial to an organization. These include profitability, employee engagement and improved business reputation.

There are numerous ways in which one can diversify the workplace through the recruitment process by  overcoming bias, standardizing skill requirements and advertising in the correct ways, using the correct terminology.

The benefits of a diverse workforce

Equality laws mandate an organisation against discrimination based on gender, race, age, physical ability, ethnicity or religion but that should not be the only reason for hiring diversely. Studies have revealed that for every one percent increase in gender diversity, there is a concurrent three percent increase in revenue, whereas higher ethnic diversity can raise company income by 15 percent. This considerable increase can be attributed to the varied opinions, circumstances, experiences and perspectives shared by different groups of people, meaning they can relate to a broader scope of customer requirements.

Glassdoor stipulates that 67 percent of potential job seekers state company diversity as an attractive criterion when looking for prospective employment. This is especially true of minority groups who feel they would be better represented in a diverse workforce. Thus diversity offers a more valuable platform for drawing talent.

Employee engagement also sees an improvement in diverse environments, resulting in further collaboration between employees, better commitment and greater employee retention.

Thus, it is important, profitable and favourable to employ a diverse workforce and there are ways to augment the diversity within the company.  Here are five strategies to improve diversity hiring for companies.

  1. Implicit Association Testing can help assuage personal bias

This type of psychometric analysis can illuminate personal bias which is important for human resource personnel. Awareness of bias or prejudice is vital in order to consciously change the paradigm. These unconscious feelings may influence the choice of staff. Thus being mindful of these predisposed inclinations can ensure personnel act intentionally differently by accepting the bias and eventually changing the way they thin and promoting diversity.

  1. Gender stereotyping must go out the window

Gender bias generally manifests in conventionally male-dominated sectors such as technology and engineering where male performance is traditionally overestimated compared to females. A study discovered that on submission of two identical resumes, one in a male and one in a female name, 79 percent of male applications, as opposed to 49 percent of the female, were considered for the job. Similar results were found with ethnic sounding names, receiving 50 percent less call-backs than their white-sounding counterparts.

In order to prevent this from happening, recruiters needs to set out standardised objectives that encompass exactly the desired skillset the position requires. Conclude what attributes are necessary and judge each candidate accordingly. This will result in a gender and race blind selection as the focus is on the skills and not the demographic.

Standardising the resumes can also help remove bias triggers. This could include removing any information that could cause partiality, including:

  • Candidate’s name – which could indicate ethnicity
  • Gender
  • University attended

In doing so, the hiring process will be based on the applicant’s abilities and aptitudes regardless of race or gender.

  1. Portraying a diverse image attracts diverse talent

Based on research that proves minority groups are more likely to disengage from employers without diversity related cues, it is important for recruiters to stipulate diversity on various platforms. On the advertisement itself, the company can assert their equal opportunity employer status. Additionally, website and recruitment material should promote diversity with representation of all groups, especially those the company wants to attract.

  1. Recruiting on the right platform can increase diversity

To discover the reservoir of diverse candidates required, it’s imperative that the organisation advertises in the right places. For instance, when looking to grow the number of Hispanic graduates within a company, there is little point advertising at career fairs at institutions with a predominantly black demographic. Knowing your audience goes a long way to ensuring the positions are presented to the correct target. There are various tools to elucidate the demographics on various platforms, for example revealing which social media and recruitment portals are trafficked chiefly by which group of people.

  1. Linguistic gender bias can lead to repelling certain groups

There are online tools that interpret whether job advertisements are gender coded. These “Gender Decoders” will clarify if the text is feminine, masculine or neutral and would appeal to those particular groups based on the language used. Unknowingly, the use of language is almost always subtly gender coded. There are frames of reference and descriptive words that are gender associated and can be off-putting to either sex when used in a job advertisement. Thus it is important to check the linguistics of advertisements for gender bias and resolve any issues.

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