Diversity. It comes up a lot in the world of HR. Beyond acknowledging a hot topic or ensuring legal compliance, increasing the diversity of your workforce is just plain good for business. Diverse teams work more effectively, and your hiring process is integral to building an organization that's rich in diversity. But what steps can you take do to help attract and hire more diverse employees?
Hiring initiates are all well and good, but if you're not executing them correctly, you're going to get the same old candidates who will further stagnate your growing company's potential. Whether you're looking to bring more women, underrepresented minorities or even college majors into your workforce, here's how to hire diverse employees.
Ingrain diversity as a philosophy
If you want to pursue diversity, you can't approach the problem with an easy fix. You have to steep your company in the idea that diversity is a benefit that will help your company grow as long as you maintain it. You can't, for example, push diversity as part of your latest round of hiring, then not implement it in the next.
It also means actively reaching out to the kinds of diverse candidates you want, instead passively opening up applications and hoping they'll come. Jennifer Dulski, president and COO of Change.org, reminds recruiters that diversity hiring can be part of a larger conversation with candidates.
"Reach out to women, rather than waiting for them to come to you," she says. "We work with several programs that train female software engineers… We also started hosting speakers and networking events in conjunction with Femgineer, and we invite female engineers to come to our offices to speak and network with other engineers. Sometimes they'll talk about a purely technical topic and sometimes about their career path. These events bring people to our offices so they can see what we're like and we can meet them."
Get everyone involved
If you're committed to diversity and have made it a core tenet of your hiring process, you should go the extra step and enlist the help of your existing employees. There may be a brief phase where some employees are against "hiring for diversity's sake," but once you've established that it's central to your company, they'll eventually come around. In fact, it's likely that most of them are already on your side-57 percent of employees think their company should work to increase diversity at their company.
If everyone's on the same page, you can get two hiring boosts for the price of one. Diverse workforces are 35 percent more likely to financially outperform the industry average. Referred workers tend to yield higher profits than non-referred employees. If you encourage your employees to leverage their networks to help you find more diverse candidates, you can benefit from a more diverse set of perspectives and know that the employees you're hiring are more likely to produce good work.
Fight the bias
Forty percent of respondents in a Pew study said that women face a double standard when seeking high-level positions in politics and business. We all have biases of some kind, and it's difficult to work around them without a good amount of awareness. When we try to identify it in ourselves, we begin to second-guess, leading to decisions made largely due to political reasons, and not meritorious ones.
To help fight this bias, try to develop a hiring process by which you're selecting candidates based on their qualifications alone. One example of this is the use of blind resumes, where skills are all that matter. Orchestras have been using blind auditions for almost half a century and they've seen five times more female musicians as a result. Double-blind peer reviews of scientific studies have similarly seen an increase in female authors in the field. Blind auditions let you use the machinations of technology to your benefit by making sure your hiring process is devoid of bias.
Find your perfect mix
Actively reaching out to diverse candidates, encourage them to apply, and add some diverse referrals to the mix. Once you increase the diversity of your candidate pool, a more diverse team is practically inevitable.