Diversity needs to not just be a buzz word but a core principle by which all firms operate. It should be demonstrated by a diverse workforce hiring policy, images of a diverse workforce, and wall art which is representative of the world we live in. Opportunities should be given to celebrate differences, and actively encourage staff to get to know and appreciate other races, cultures, religions, food preferences, gender differences, styles, sexual orientation, gender, education and preferences based on age and experiences.
Diversity should be viewed as an asset.
Article by Wanda Johnson
First Published June 10, 2016
Is your organization fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment? If not, you could be missing out! Creating diversity and inclusion within your organization has a positive effect on your bottom line and your organization’s culture; it makes your organization attractive to job hunters seeking inclusion, acceptance, and the pursuit of happiness. Consider the following points as you hire new team members and find out how to promote diversity:
Create a vision. Your workforce should correspond to the community in which you operate. Develop a hiring strategy that includes diversity and inclusion of minorities. Tap into local resources or community connections like churches, colleges, or cultural institutions to connect with potential candidates. You may also consider enlisting help from nonprofits like the National Urban League or online sites like Diversity Working that offer searchable channels of minority job hunters.
Look from within. Ask your staff for referrals; they may know qualified candidates who are seeking jobs. By selecting new hires that are endorsed by current employees, you improve the relationship of your existing employees by showing you trust and respect their recommendations. This established relationship will also help new employees adjust to their new positions. You may find that your current employees are your best recruiters.
Be prepared. Devise and implement an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policy that follows the federal EEOC guidelines. As part of your firm’s “best hiring practices”, initiate a credible hiring process that is age, race, gender and minority neutral. Organize an internal committee to implement and monitor the EEO policy, provide diversity and inclusion staff training, and generate new ways to sustain diversity and inclusion in the daily work experience.
Educate your staff. Don’t assume everyone on your staff understands the importance of diversity and inclusion; it’s your job to train them. From top management to the entry level position, everyone needs to fully understand the benefits of diversity and inclusion and your commitment to supporting the practice. Be the kind of organization willing to accommodate cultural and religious holidays, flexible schedules, and potentially day care services; all attractive benefits to encourage and stimulate the employee experience.
Keep them engaged. Dedicate as much time to retention as you do to recruiting. New hires are most vulnerable the first few weeks as they explore the job and the organization culture. Start off creating a relationship between the new hire and a seasoned employee (who will act as a mentor for the first few weeks.) Mentors can help communicate opportunities for advancement and articulate the future direction of the company, while building a relationship of mutual respect with the new hire. Don’t forget about your current staff; they need attention too. Find creative ways to keep your talent inspired; otherwise you run the risk of turnover.
Mix it up. Build project teams with diversity and inclusion in mind. Bring together workers who have never worked together but bring varied strengths to the team. For example, a team comprised of three different generations can achieve a synergistic goal by recognizing they have different work styles but the same commitment to the end result. In the end, the team absorbs a deeper understanding of commitment through diversity and inclusion.
Get wise. Recruiting is the easy part, its retaining that can prove to be more difficult. This holds true for organization in less diverse regions where relocated minority employees may feel disconnected. Employers may need to help new hires adjust to the new work culture as well as a new town. If it doesn’t work out, learn from the experience. Create an exit interview to assess why minorities are leaving the company. Learn from the information you receive as feedback and be willing to make changes. On the flip side, monitor and record your success stories of happy employees as a recruiting tool.