Adding diversity to your company's hiring strategy isn't as simple as layering another tool or solution to automate the sourcing process. It's a big step that takes careful planning, research, sensitivity, and smarts, and if the team isn't prudent about their outreach, it's possible your organization could lose out on more than just a handful of top performers.
Entelo guest blogger Maebellyne Ventura weighs in the pros of hiring for diversity, because perhaps the only con is — you guessed it — that you don't already practice it.
But first, let’s remind ourselves what diversity is. The Harvard Business Review defines two forms of diversity: inherent and acquired. Inherent diversity encompasses the traits we’re born with such as gender, ethnicity, physical ability and sexual orientation. Acquired diversity on the other hand, involves attributes gained from experience such as education, lifestyle, expertise and culture.
Simply put, diversity equals variety. And that’s not limited to the color of your skin or which bathroom door you choose to walk through. But apart from satisfying equal opportunity employment regulations, how and why is hiring for diversity important?
Diversity allows companies to be more competitive in a globalized market by having:
- Access to a greater talent pool – Expanding the hiring pool increases the odds of hiring the best talent available in the market especially in domains where there is a significant shortage of qualified candidates. By considering professionals across diverse industries and geographic locations, companies benefit from new or transferable skills, knowledge and capabilities to meet their business needs.
- Multiple creative approaches to a single problem – A diverse workforce possess an array of experiences and multiple perspectives. A homogeneous team with a tendency for conformity is likely to approach a problem with the same set of ideas, thus limiting the number of solutions. In contrast, heterogeneous teams embrace individual creativity; offer alternative viewpoints, different sources of information and varied skillsets which result in more innovative ideas.
- A more engaged and productive workforce – Fostering an environment where everyone feels included, represented and valued regardless of what they look like or where they come from, helps to produce greater employee loyalty, commitment and motivation.
- A workforce that understands a diverse market – By matching the increasing diversity of clients and customers with that of a diversified workforce, companies become more attuned to the demands and desires of the communities they do business with. Entering new markets and geographies becomes infinitely easier when you employ individuals who understand the language or are part of the local culture.
Regardless of the industry or size of the organization, it’s important for businesses to consciously develop diversity among their talent ranks. The tendency to hire individuals similar to ourselves, especially those that provide a comfortable cultural match or share similar experiences, is an easy trap to fall into. However in doing so, companies risk missing out on candidates with superior qualifications or novel skills.
See: Diversity hiring tips from Box's senior manager of tech recruiting
Lisa Banner, ManpowerGroup’s Vice President of Global Human Resources shares, “We generally think of attracting the right talent to ManpowerGroup in two ways. Clearly, the talent we hire has to have the right combination of soft and hard skills fueled by a strong passion for our business. But it is equally important that we attract individuals with a diverse mix of experiences and perspectives because when we maximize talent pools and increase diversity of thought and ideas, we enrich our culture, spark innovation and help drive better results. With our strong foundation and the deep commitment of thousands of colleagues worldwide, we continue to drive our clients’ success and advance our recruitment and talent management solutions across the globe.“
Google, a $350 billion giant and Fast Company’s Most Innovative Company of 2014 is another advocate for diversity. From the Google Employee Resource Group - a grassroots network of employees with a shared value of supporting diversity - to top talent programs in Europe, a Military Veterans Network and LGBT efforts in Latin America, Google has put diversity at the core of their business. They have created a culture of inclusion where employees feel represented, have the freedom to be themselves and are directly involved with diversifying their workplace. Looking at the employee testimonials, it’s easy to see why talented professionals are attracted to the organization.
With organizations such as ManpowerGroup, Box, Google and 85% of executive leaders from global enterprises recognizing that diversity drives innovation, it is more than just a feel good notion added to the career site. Leading businesses recognize that by bringing together employees from all walks of life, you are combining the unique experiences of every individual to create a highly collaborative and innovative whole. Diversification also provides a strong sense inclusion among the workforce which is a competitive differentiator for potential hires in their space.
Hiring for diversity is more than just social responsibility. Implemented properly, it’s a sound and long-term business strategy that will positively impact organizational performance and the bottom line.
Maebellyne Ventura is the Digital Marketing Manager at Experis Switzerland, an IT recruitment specialist. She is also Co-Founder of Clever Biscuit, a technology startup that created Recruit’em. She blogs and tweets about social media and recruitment.