Organisations recognise the immense value of a diverse workforce, and DEI policies are common practice, especially in big companies. However, creating a truly diverse team is not just about ticking boxes or meeting quotas. In fact, companies with a diverse workforce are 35% more likely to experience greater financial returns than their non-diverse counterparts in the same industry. So it should not be left only to the big companies’ policy books.
Diversity is about fostering an environment where unique perspectives and backgrounds converge, producing innovative solutions. A diverse workforce enables educating both other employees and clients, helping reach untapped markets and opening up more business opportunities. Central to this is diversity recruitment.
This post will delve into what it truly means, its benefits, and how new technologies, including AI, can play a pivotal role in optimising the hiring process for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
What is diversity?
Firstly, we’ll need a better understanding of what diversity even means. Diversity can be broadly categorised into two main types:
1.) Inherent diversity refers to the traits you are born with and cannot change. It encompasses aspects of our identities that we mostly acquire at birth and that are often visible to others. Examples include:
- Physical abilities/disabilities
- Sexual orientation
2.) Acquired diversity refers to the traits you gain from experience. These aspects of diversity are typically acquired or chosen and may change over time based on life experiences. Examples include:
- Educational background
- Geographic location
- Marital status
- Parental status
- Work experience
- Religious beliefs
- Cultural background
It’s worth noting that while these categories provide a framework for understanding diversity, the concept of diversity is multifaceted and complex. People often have overlapping and intersecting identities, which is sometimes referred to as “intersectionality.” This means that an individual can belong to multiple diverse groups simultaneously, and the combination of these identities can influence their experiences and perspectives in unique ways.
What is diversity recruitment?
Diversity recruitment is the conscious effort by organisations to seek, attract, and hire individuals from various backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. It isn’t just about race or gender; it encompasses age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical abilities, socioeconomic status, and more.
This approach ensures that a company’s workforce mirrors the society in which it operates, bringing in a myriad of experiences and viewpoints. Diverse teams do not have a standard problem-solving approach like culturally uniform teams usually do. This supports innovation and alternative solutions. This is supported by research which shows that diverse teams are 1.7x more innovative.
Benefits of diversity recruitment
We talked about innovation, but let’s dig deeper into the benefits and advantages of a diverse workforce. A diverse workforce fosters creativity, enhances problem-solving capabilities, and drives better financial performance. It’s not just about doing what’s right; it’s about doing what’s smart for your business.
Diversity in the workplace is beneficial for a multitude of reasons, spanning from business outcomes to societal impacts. Here are some of the key reasons why diversity in the workplace is good:
- Enhanced creativity and innovation: Diverse teams bring together various perspectives, experiences, and ideas. This diversity of thought can lead to more creative solutions to problems and innovative approaches to business challenges.
- Better decision-making: Research has shown that diverse teams make better decisions. And not just occasionally – diverse teams make better decisions 87% of the time compared to non-diverse teams. When people from different backgrounds and experiences come together, they challenge each other’s assumptions and broaden the group’s understanding of issues.
- Improved financial performance: Numerous studies have found a correlation between diverse leadership teams and better financial performance. Companies with more diverse workforces are likelier to outperform their less diverse counterparts. Diversity in decision-making equates to profitability in the global economy, as evidenced by a 70% likelihood of capturing new markets by companies with a diverse workforce.
- Reflecting the customer base: A diverse workforce can better reflect and understand a diverse customer base. This can lead to better product development, marketing strategies, and customer service.
- Talent attraction and retention: Companies that embrace diversity are more likely to attract a wider range of candidates. Moreover, inclusive environments can lead to higher job satisfaction, lower turnover, and greater employee engagement. 1 in 3 candidates does not apply for a position at a company that does not offer a diverse environment!
- Enhanced company reputation: Companies prioritising diversity and inclusion are often viewed favourably by customers, partners, and potential employees. This can lead to increased brand loyalty and a competitive advantage in the market.
- Reduced legal risks: By promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace, companies can reduce the risk of discrimination lawsuits and ensure compliance with equal opportunity laws.
- Promotion of social justice: Beyond the business benefits, promoting diversity is also a matter of social justice. It ensures that everyone, regardless of their background, has an equal opportunity to succeed and contribute to the organisation’s success.
- Globalisation and expansion: For companies operating globally or looking to expand into new markets, having a diverse workforce can provide insights into local cultures, customs, and business practices.
- Enhanced problem solving: Diverse teams approach problems from multiple angles. This can lead to more comprehensive problem-solving strategies.
- Increased adaptability: Diverse organisations can more easily adapt to changes in the market or industry. Different backgrounds and experiences can provide a wider range of solutions and strategies to navigate challenges.
- Cultural awareness and sensitivity: A diverse workforce promotes cultural awareness and sensitivity, which is crucial in today’s interconnected world. Diversity creates a better understanding of other cultures, and are viewed as “insiders”, not as “outsiders.”
As you can see from the benefits, diversity in the workplace is not just a moral imperative or a “nice-to-have”; it’s a business imperative. Organisations that embrace diversity and inclusion are better positioned to thrive in the modern business landscape.
How to improve diversity in recruitment?
Improving diversity isn’t just about altering how you recruit; it’s about changing the very ethos of your organisation. Let’s outline some broad strategies before diving deeper into specifics.
Diversity recruitment strategies and best practices
Write and design non-discriminative job descriptions and ads
Crafting inclusive job descriptions and job ad copy is essential to attract a broad spectrum of candidates. Avoid gender-coded words, unnecessary requirements, and jargon that might deter diverse applicants. Utilising gender-neutral language and highlighting your company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in both the job description and job advertisements can make a significant difference. It’s not just about the words but also about the imagery. Ensure that any accompanying graphics or visuals in your job ads and landing pages represent and include different groups. This appeals to diverse talents and sends a strong message about your organisation’s values and working environment.
Utilise blind recruitment
Blind recruitment involves stripping away any personal information from CVs and application forms that could reveal an applicant’s gender, age, ethnicity, or other potential bias-triggering details. Use Teamdash’s diversity feature – automatic summary, to do this for you. This approach ensures that hiring managers focus purely on skills, qualifications, and experience and make objective decisions based on them.
Offer flexible working conditions
A key to attracting a diverse range of candidates is to offer flexibility. This could mean flexible working hours, remote work options, or even job-sharing opportunities. Such policies can be particularly appealing to groups like working parents, older workers, or individuals with disabilities.
Engage with diverse communities
Instead of waiting for diverse candidates to come to you, proactively reach out to them. Engage with minority-focused universities, attend diversity job fairs, or partner with organisations that focus on supporting underrepresented groups in the workforce. Use different social recruitment channels and groups to increase your audience and talent pool.
Recruit more diverse candidates with the help of a platform
This is where recruitment software like Teamdash becomes instrumental. Teamdash streamlines the hiring process by providing tools and analytics designed to promote diversity in recruitment. Let’s bring some examples of how to recruit more diverse candidates:
- Use the Scorecards feature: set up your criteria and give each candidate a score on a scale of 1-5. This way, you can also easily involve hiring managers in the recruitment process. Anonymise candidate profiles or hide others’ scores to reduce bias.
- Use automatic summaries: use Only summary mode to hide the candidate’s name, gender, ethnicity, and age to reduce bias. Or use With summary mode to let AI highlight the most important skills, experience and information on the resume.
- Use AI-powered resume parsing: save the time of having to go through the resumes one by one and find the right kind of candidates quicker. Find the candidates who match your diversity criterion quicker. This comes especially handy when you have a large number of applications.
Furthermore, with its powerful data-driven insights, companies can pinpoint where biases might exist, whether they are unconscious or ingrained within the system.
After all, embracing diversity isn’t just a societal ideal; it’s a sound business strategy.