A Perspective on Thinking Diversity at Work

June 17, 20168:44 am1215 views

Many organizations pursue diversity objectives for the right reasons, but focus on the wrong outcomes. Organizations will often claim that they are pursuing diversity objectives because “it is the right thing to do.”

Yet, while they may have better hiring ratios, there is a lack of translation into the way the organization operates. The reality is that diversity strategies actually provide better outcomes for shareholders, stakeholders, employees and the communities they serve. The key is to go well beyond the hiring process, and embed diversity thinking in the very way an organization operates.

Jim McCoy, Vice President, Global Practice Leader, Recruitment Process Outsourcing, Manpower Group Solutions shares his expert views on how organisations can think and embed culture of diversity at work.

What do Diverse Candidates Want? How to attract and retain them?

More employers recognize the value of an inclusive and diverse work environment — and the most forward-looking organizations view it as key to their ongoing success. A diverse workplace helps companies understand and meet the needs of an increasingly diverse customer base and develop new markets.

Diversity of thought is a key driver for improved decision making, problem solving and innovation. A 2015 McKinsey study found that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. The study also found that for every 10 percent increase in racial and ethnic diversity on the senior-executive team, earnings before interest and taxes rise 0.8 percent.

“Many businesses struggle to attract and retain diverse talent. The problem will not correct itself and a one-size-fits-all approach will not cut it. There is no quick fix, but there are practical steps businesses can take to build a diverse and inclusive workforce. These start with abandoning the ‘post-and-pray’ hiring approach and instead developing purposeful, tailored messaging delivered through carefully chosen channels,” says Chris Rowland, Global Diversity Officer, ManpowerGroup Solutions.

Using social media channels to appeal to these brand-driven candidates puts a distinctly 21st century spin on more traditional diversity initiatives. Savvy HR professionals can cultivate important employer-employee trust with candidates by authentically reflecting an open and inclusive workplace culture on social media.

For employers who wish to reach out to candidates with disabilities, it is important to understand the pathways for reaching them. While the motivational factors driving their career decisions are not substantially different from all candidates (they value type of work and compensation), compensation is relatively less important to candidates with physical or mental disabilities than those without.

See: How Can Organisations Make Diversity and Inclusion a Key Business Strength?

“Diversity is not just about doing what’s right; it’s about doing what’s good for business. It is a win-win. Countless studies have shown that companies with diverse employees — particularly in positions of leadership—outperform companies that are homogenous. Diverse employees bring different experiences and perspectives that often lead to innovative ideas. That innovation impacts positively to a company’s bottom line,” says Star Jones, President of the Professional Diversity Network

Tips to Recruit and Retain a Diverse Workforce

Here are some interesting tips for recruiters and human resource managers, well-articulated in the report by Manpower Group titled, ‘What Diverse Candidates Want’ to help you retain and attract diverse workforce:

  1. Articulate clear pathways for advancement

Because the opportunity for advancement is so important to diversity candidates, make it a key message point from the very beginning of recruitment efforts and reinforce it throughout the candidate experience. A clear pathway for advancement should be articulated in job descriptions, interviews, the onboarding process and annual employee reviews and feedback sessions.

  1. Take the direct route

Augment current recruitment efforts by leveraging websites such as the Professional Diversity Network, Asian Career Network and so on. Use the numerous federal, state and local resources that serve candidates with physical or mental disabilities and be sure that those resources know how to articulate the company’s employer value proposition to candidates.

  1. Leverage Social Media to Depict Diversity in Action and Purpose

Leverage social media by posting photos and videos of the workplace that depict diversity in action. Stock photos of diversity in the workplace will only go so far in today’s media-savvy culture. Post pictures of employees with who target candidates can identify.

Just as many companies have embraced diversity in their television commercials, HR departments can dial up the effort in their outreach efforts. For example, celebrating LGBT community milestones — such as local and national pride events — with images on social media reflects positively on employer brand.

  1. Use employees as ambassadors of the company

There is no substitute for the authentic voices that employee ambassadors bring to the recruitment of top talent. From their presence at job fairs to posting on career sites and social media, current employees can connect with diversity candidates using the messages that resonate with them.

Encourage employees to reach out within their own communities, as appropriate, to raise awareness of employment opportunities.

  1. Educate Staff to be Respectful of Diversity

There are a number of good resources on how to build a corporate culture that embraces diversity. Train the staff and educate them through cross-cultural training programs that help ensure a respectful and productive workplace is maintained, wherein multiplicity of backgrounds and religions are present and respected at work

  1. Reward, Promote and Inspire Workforce

Employers who tailor their messages and channels of communication for diversity candidates create a unique covenant with these potential hires. Diversity in the workplace is a commitment that extends from the mailroom to the boardroom.

Diversity at all levels of the organization is essential to that commitment. To the degree that diverse employees are rewarded and promoted within the organization, it will send a powerful message throughout the organization and engender employer-employee trust.

Companies looking to embed diversity into their workplace culture cannot just wait and watch. A purposeful and thoughtful approach to sow the seeds of diversity at work will be the cornerstone for success. This will allow businesses to gain a competitive advantage, attract and retain the next generation of talent to companies that set pace with the changing times.

Also read: Key Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace

Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net

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