Many of us value the importance of diverse friends and influences as a personal core belief. But did you know it also has a big impact professionally?
According to McKinsey & Company, research shows companies with more diverse workforces perform better financially. Their latest report found that companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have returns above their national industry standard.
While increased diversity doesn’t automatically equal greater profits, there is a strong correlation to success, from the ability to win top talent to improving customer relations to harvesting more qualified leaders which in-turn leads to better decision making. Ultimately, all these wins bring a competitive advantage and rich returns.
Yet companies who are succeeding in diversity initiatives don’t merely view diversity as an accessory or add-on. These companies have built diversity from their foundation and continue to build upon it daily. It can be seen from their executive boards, training and development programs, and all the way down to their hiring strategies.
Hiring With Diversity in Mind
Achieving a diverse workforce starts with hiring with diversity in mind. Incorporating diversity hiring initiatives into your talent recruitment plans keeps your team accountable and pushes for change in how you attract, evaluate, and hire potential employees. It’s a longer-term strategy that requires more work, but the payoff is substantial.
To help keep your company and team members’ potential bias in check, you may want to consider the Rooney Rule. The Rooney Rule is a policy made popular by the National Football League. The Rooney Rule requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate for general manager or head coaching positions. The NFL implemented this policy in 2003, and many businesses, including Pinterest and Facebook, have since adopted a similar strategy for leadership positions.
The goal is to source talent that is underrepresented and outside your networks. It requires extra planning and careful thought but will leave you with a stronger and more diverse talent pool to ultimately make a better hiring decision.
Strive to make your hiring processes as inclusive as possible. Look at your current process, and think of ways you can try to remove bias or add other opinions in. For example, you could ask candidates to complete a sample project or challenge for a more precise evaluation of skills. Then the focus is less on the resume or who knows who and more about the actual skill sets and fit of the candidate.
It can be difficult to keep track of hiring processes as is, and even more so when you introduce more steps. Using talent recruitment software not only automates parts of the process for greater ease but also helps ensure a consistent experience for each candidate.
The More Diverse Your Workplace is, the More Diversity You’ll Attract
A diverse workforce is a symbol of a robust and inclusive culture. Potential candidates look at who already works at a place of business, what values the company pursues, and what leaders are doing or saying that matches or doesn’t match those values.
Potential hires want to feel that they’d be welcomed if they accepted an offer. And they want to feel like there is a path forward for growth. Having a diverse team from entry-level employees all the way up through executives helps ensure candidates can see themselves reflected in the leadership pathways the company offers. The more diverse you become, the greater talent pool you’ll attract. And once you have a diverse team in place, you’ll reap the rewards.
Diversity Increases Productivity
A study conducted at MIT found that diverse more productive and generate larger revenues than non-diverse teams. Working with those who are different from us pushes us to grow and perform better. And having a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and opinions gives teams access to more tools when solving a task, which in turn drives results.
Don’t limit your definition of diversity to gender alone. It’s crucial to have a team with diverse thinking, a variety of personalities, different tactics of reaching solutions, and distinct analytical strategies.
For example, an entire team of extroverts might be respected for their bold or loud influence, but as we have learned from author Susan Cain, “The loudest person in the room isn’t necessarily the one with the best ideas.”
Having introverts and extroverts on the same side will help to challenge and push the team towards success. Analytical thinkers are detailed oriented, focus on the job to be done, and tend to perform better on executing tasks. Placing an analytical thinker in a group with creative synthetic thinkers could help solidify and ground big, open-minded ideas. Diversity within teams can help teams generate massive ideas while still keeping them focused on accomplishing the overarching goals.
Diversity Builds Creativity
When we work with others from different backgrounds, experiences, and working styles, we’re forced to see different points of view that make us think creatively. That process can make team members feel uncomfortable or vulnerable at first. But as author Brene Brown says, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.”
Diverse groups tend to make better decisions and generate more innovative ideas. When you lack diversity you’re missing out on other perspectives that could greatly improve your results and returns. According to a McKinsey & Co report, US companies with diverse executive boards have a 95 percent higher return on equity than those without.
When diversity is done right, individual team members feel valued for what makes them unique. That validation drives the positivity in any workplace and can help promote a healthy culture. Remember, diversity isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. It’s a value your team and leaders need to think about and operate within day in and day out. But every journey starts with one small step, so don’t be afraid to get started today.
Alexis is a creative enthusiast. She has worn many different hats throughout her career. She started by working in advertising at agencies and also worked with several freelance client accounts as an Art Director and Creative Strategist. She also ran all Social Media and Content Strategy for Asia’s largest health and wellness company. Today, she runs all marketing efforts for ProSky, an upcoming disruptor in HR Tech.
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