Diversity in the workplace is no longer a question of “what if” — it’s happening, and improving, and that’s a great thing. But there’s still a big lingering question, and for some employers, it’s daunting: Not “what if,” but how? How do company leaders become champions of diversity, regardless of their own genders and ethnicities?
Creating a multiracial, multicultural, gender-balanced work environment (whew!) can’t be boiled down to one definitive process. There’s no LinkedIn filter that solves systemic diversity problems. So as an employer, where do you begin? Let’s break down the “how.”
Evaluate your latest job postings
Rather than treating diversity as an exercise in checking off boxes, employers should start first with how they write their job descriptions at the recruitment stage. Add a section on “perspectives sought” that leaves the door open for a range of applicants that could bring unique outlooks and experiences to the office.
Rather than focusing on the headcount, companies should invest in supporting their employees who come from a variety of background and experiences. Affinity groups, mentoring program, presentations from outside organizations – there multiple ways that companies can be a champion of diversity.
“Diversity” doesn’t just mean that your office Christmas card features faces of different colors — although that should certainly be the case. It’s just as much about broadening the types of people who contribute to your company. Diversity in thought and approach benefit your business on both personal and professional levels.
Consider who’s representing you during the recruitment process
The folks who represent your organization during the hiring process are important. For most applicants, they’re the face of the company, their very first impression of who works here. Make sure your hiring team reflects the range of talent and diverse backgrounds and experience you seek to recruit.
Develop recruitment materials that highlight your company’s capability to ensure the success of a diverse workforce. Make sure the photos and imagery reflect that commitment too. But — and this is important! — use your real people and their real stories. No phony stock images — your potential recruit can see right through a cursory attempt to embrace diversity.
Walk the walk
Promoting diversity, as well as a motivational, supportive company culture, is a top-to-bottom deal. Like football player Julius says in Remember The Titans, “Attitude reflects leadership, captain.”
Prove your dedication. Show up to those internal presentations and luncheons, participate in mentor programs — do whatever you can to show your support of these activities with action, not just your word. It’s not enough nor honest for your HR pros to boast about office diversity if it’s not practiced at the top, and your potential employees will likely see through a facade.
Reap the benefits, and channel that success back into your company
More and more studies show the immense economic payoff of boosting workplace diversity. According to a recent McKinsey Global Institute report, advancing women’s equality in the workforce can add $12 trillion to global growth. The report details interventionary tactics based on geographic region to improve female advancement — it’s a great read for employers recruiting all over the world.
Diverse companies will enjoy a more creative workplace that inspires everyone to think outside the box, boosting efficiency, productivity, and the bottom line. But you must invest in methods that allow these outside ideas and perspectives to percolate to the top and around the workplace. There is no downside, only much to gain. Get going!