Diversity is one of the hottest buzzwords in corporate culture for a reason. Diversity is an opportunity to not only improve performance, become more creative, and ultimately to make higher profits but more importantly, to expand your team to include multiple skills sets, talents and outlooks. It’s casting a bigger net to find qualified people who happen to bring different backgrounds and perspectives to your business. Big companies have whole teams to help recruit diverse and talented people, but small companies can achieve the same goals with a little thought, a little hard work, and some self-reflection. If you’re wondering how to recruit a diverse workforce, read on.
What We’re Talking About When We Say A Diverse Workforce
Speaking about race, disabilities, ethnicity, and gender can be touchy subjects in business. We get it. We’re going to define the two types of diversity we’ll be talking about in this article. They are inherent diversity and acquired diversity. Understanding these terms will help you to learn how to recruit a diverse workforce.
Inherent diversity refers to traits that people are born with. These are traits like ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and race. When you want to add more women to your staff, you’re thinking about adding inherent diversity to your company.
Acquired diversity refers to traits that people gain from experience. For example, if you hire someone who lived in Italy and learned the language, something that could be valuable for a company that does business in Rome, then you are adding acquired diversity to your staff.
Successful companies understand that both kinds of diversity are needed to maximize business potential fully. After a New York Times article showed that a black customer and a black employee at JPMorgan Chase did not receive the same treatment as their white peers, the bank’s co-CEOs announced that they would make diversity training mandatory for their employees.
Why Adding Diversity Is Critical
Understanding how to recruit a diverse workforce is only useful if you know why you’re doing it. The first reason is to add new skills and people with a broader array of experiences to your company. According to The Nielsen Corporation, black people in America have shopping habits that differ from white people—having African American people on your staff could help you sell to that demographic.
Another way to think about how to recruit a diverse workforce is to focus on adding a more comprehensive range of languages. Like how having people with various ethnicities can help you reach new customers, the United States has over 41 million native Spanish speakers living here. Wouldn’t having someone with skills in that language benefit your business? Employees who speak other languages also bring different cultural experiences to the table, helping to build a company that can competently discuss a wide range of topics with authority.
The key to business isn’t being smarter or wealthier, it’s being able to connect to people and relate to them.
How To Hire A More Diverse Workforce
Scrutinize your advertisements. Before you post your ad, reread what it says, then look at what it doesn’t say. Sometimes, there are barriers to employment that you might not recognize because of your unique viewpoint. People who know how to recruit a diverse workforce know how to get a wide variety of candidates, but they also know how to tailor their ads if they’re looking for people with particular skills. For general advertisements, avoid gendered language.
Be sure to use simple, clear word choices. Foreign candidates may be the best in their field but struggle with a new language. Avoid unnecessary industry jargon many business owners use to make the open position seem more critical than it is. If you are looking to recruit specific people, consider targeted advertising. Digital services can comb through information on Google and LinkedIn to find hyper-specific details about candidates.
Go to them, don’t make them come to you. Another method of how to recruit a diverse workforce is to go to where diverse groups are, instead of merely trying the same recruitment techniques you have always done. Keep posting your help-wanted ads the same way, but add in some new sources. For example, career fairs around your city, social media pages for hobbies, or clubs around town all cater to various people who might not see your ads unless you go there. If a candidate feels recognized in a comfortable setting, they will be more comfortable applying.
Start an inclusive internship for your company. One of the reasons why diversity is an issue in business is that not everybody has a clear path to their chosen careers. You can allow people to experience what your field is like through an internship program. If the program is well thought out, you’ll receive access to a broad group of young, diverse people who show an interest in your field. More importantly, you’ll be giving the interns new connections, skills, and goals. You’ll be creating a pipeline to success for them. Be generous with your company’s time and training. Marcus tells us, “there is no being generous to a fault. Because there is no fault in being generous.”
Finding the right fit is difficult, but it does not have to be a headache. As always, we are here to help you during this time of uncertainty. Feel free to schedule a chat with us!
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