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Increase Diversity at Your Business


When you hire people of different ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, sexual orientations and genders, you demonstrate your respect for all people. Creating an inclusive hiring process may mean acknowledging systemic biases and having frank conversations about how to reverse them, but the rewards make the hard and uncomfortable work worth it. Your actions will show your employees that you are striving to treat them equally and give them all the same opportunities for growth and advancement.

Doing the right thing should be enough, but there is another advantage: A 2018 study from McKinsey & Co. found that companies with highly diverse boardrooms were 43% more likely to attain higher profits.

How you interact at work and the culture of your workplace have a profound impact on your ability to improve diversity and inclusion. Here are ways you can implement real changes for the future:

  • What job boards are you searching through? Try job boards that specialize in diversity, including:
    • Diversity Working, which is one of the largest in its niche.
    • Recruit Disability, which helps locate potential employees with disabilities.
    • HBCU, a network of students and alumni from historically Black colleges and universities.
  • Make sure your firm’s diversity statement and any current initiatives are posted prominently on your website’s career page.
    • Reference diversity in every job description.
    • Provide targeted internships and scholarships to employees from underrepresented groups to help them advance more quickly in key roles in your organization.
    • If most of your jobs are filled through referral or internal hires and the majority of your staff is of one demographic, your hiring will be culturally skewed. Reward referrals from underrepresented groups with bonuses for employees who recommend diverse candidates to join the company.
  • Offer diverse mentorship programs so that many people have an opportunity to advance.
    • This has the added benefit of creating closer employee relationships.
    • Establishing an inclusive mentorship program can help foster diversity.
  • Conduct diversity training for your executive team and other leaders. They can take this new awareness to launch meaningful sensitivity training through the rest of the company.
  • Create an inclusion council with eight to 12 top leaders who meet regularly to create strategies to increase diversity.
  • Invite employees to share their backgrounds and traditions in the workplace.
    • Include religious and cultural practices.
    • Foster inclusion across global partner locations.
  • Recruiters, hiring managers and everyone at your firm who’s involved with hiring need to be aware of unconscious bias.
    • Train HR staff to recognize and avoid bias in the recruitment and hiring processes.
    • You may want to turn to outside consultants to challenge your staff to see unconscious sexism, racism and ageism.
  • Diversity needs to be woven into company policies and practices, and this includes performance reviews, promotions and benefits.
    • Make sure your company is an equal opportunity employer, approved by the federal EEOC.
  • Strengthen your anti-discrimination policies — the language you’re using may be insufficient to drive improvements in diversity.

Seeing the big picture

Creating an inclusive workplace comes down to unlearning bias. You may be able to turn to HR software programs and tools that use artificial intelligence and machine learning to make better diversity and inclusion hiring decisions. Or you can try establishing diverse interview panels to give a fair chance to multicultural candidates.

You know that there has been a poor representation of minorities in top companies when you hear that of the CEOs of the Fortune 500, only about 1% are Black, and they’re all men. Minorities have a difficult time getting ahead in business. That's because people responsible for hiring and promotion decisions make snap judgments and assumptions about others based on learned behaviors and biases so entrenched and insidious that they don’t realize they're there. These stigmas and norms have become automatic. We need to stop looking for people who are physically and culturally similar to us. Make your unconscious mind conscious.

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