Like many of you, I’ve been spending time thinking about diversity and inclusion. This brings to mind a scenario I often face with my clients.
In our introductory meetings, clients say they are seeking a diverse candidate. I ask them the same question.
While most of these businesses have heartfelt, inclusive intentions, their responses often do not get to the true reasons why diversity is beneficial.
Unfortunately, some organizations want to diversify hiring so they appear to be inclusive or they think they need to do it.
Don’t be that company. Recognize that diversity and inclusion will benefit your organization on many levels. This is not a PR stunt. In fact, if your organization wants to win the marketplace and drive innovation, diversity must be a top priority.
Reason Number One: To Win
Anecdotally we know that integrating people from different backgrounds brings better ideas, collaboration, and products.
But McKinsey has tangible proof why diversity matters to your bottom line – outside of your company values, “companies in the top quartile for racial/ethnic and gender diversity are 35 percent and 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians.”
A study on the profitability of gender diversity surveyed 22,000 companies across 91 countries. The authors found companies with 30 percent of female executives make six percent more in profit.
Take these statistics to your leadership team. Show them your bottom line will benefit from different voices.
Many of the organizations that excel value diversity. I do not think this is a coincidence. Which leads me to another reason why fostering diversity will strengthen your business.
Reason Number Two: To Build Collaborative, Motivated Teams
How many times have you gathered a group of employees for a brainstorm? This is a proven method that every organization uses at some point. Think about hackathons and strategy sessions that bring together a variety of minds.
You already know two minds are better than one. Let’s take that idea a step further. Two diverse opinions are better than two like-minded colleagues.
Sabrina Clark, associate principal at SYPartners, a consultancy that specializes in organizational transformation, told CIO magazine that diverse teams make for better results internally and externally.
“Research shows that even just the presence of physical diversity results in better performance and for companies that are data-driven, that extra performance boost can be extremely motivating. It’s also the fact that companies that lack diversity are being called out publicly, and may even be losing business, not to mention falling behind when it comes to recruiting.”
Diversify your staff because different thinking drives business.
Now, this next part is important. Internalize this advice.
Once you bring in varied executives and employees, you must give them the opportunity to lead and be heard. Let them spearhead initiatives. Include their voices in brainstorms and strategy sessions.
It would be foolish to hire new employees and stifle their contributions.
Reason Number Three: To Bring in The Best
Ask any recruiter and they will tell you that there is no one place to find top talent. Headhunters look far and wide to bring in a wide range of candidates. In our industry, we say the more the merrier. A-players do not have cookie-cutter skillsets, wardrobes, and degrees.
Organizations that limit their search to one type of candidate cut themselves off from recruiting top talent.
Hiring managers and leaders need to reflect on their prejudices, which are often even subconscious when it’s time to interview and hire. We recommend using a candidate scorecard to help reduce bias during the interview process and determine which candidate is the best person for your organization.
Do you want top talent? Then open your candidate pool to every qualified individual.
Simple Ways to Get Started
Now is the time to diversify recruitment and create a more inclusive organization.
Throw titles and job duties out the window. All employees need to be part of the conversation about cultivating an anti-racist business. If you are a leader, now is the time to be an advocate and a humble listener. If you are an employee, you must speak up and promote inclusive values and actions.
- Host a roundtable discussion or discussions for every employee to attend. Let your employees contribute to the conversation and share their own experiences.
- Identify a diversity and inclusion leader to keep your organization committed.
- If you work at a large corporation, select a committee of employees to participate in setting new policies.
- Communicate new rules, regulations, and standards internally and externally.
- Use all available outlets to share your business’ commitments: social media, email, intranet, and even advertisements. This will keep your organization honest.
Talentfoot is launching a series of thought pieces about best practices surrounding inclusive recruiting and corporate cultures.
These are some of the internal policies Talentfoot is making.
- We have identified a diversity and inclusion leader to ensure our long-term commitment.
- We will assess our internal hiring policies. We are taking the initiative to diversify our own team.
- We will continue, as we have since our inception ten years ago, to encourage our hiring teams to diversify their staff.
- We will evaluate and address racial biases in our profession and share those findings with you.
- We will partner with diverse professional organizations and universities to promote our job openings to their members and alumni.
- We will create a mentorship program for black executives looking to make connections and grow professionally within our pool of executive talent.
The next time you think about bringing in a new candidate, ask yourself, why does your company promote diversity and inclusion? Contribute to defining the WHY. And if your organization doesn’t promote D&I, be the person who initiates and demands action.