By Salvador Ordorica, CEO of The Spanish Group LLC, a first-class international translation service that translates over 90 languages.
Enhancing diversity in the workplace is becoming a primary goal for businesses all over the United States, and for several good reasons. The first and most obvious reason is that increasing diversity in the workplace is the correct moral move. Helping our companies look more like the populations they serve helps promote equality throughout society. Another reason companies should encourage diversity is that they can also gain real and tangible benefits from doing so.
Diverse companies have been shown to be more innovative and more productive and offer a level of versatility you otherwise wouldn’t have. Additionally, some recent reports have shown that diverse companies enjoy 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee.
But how do you find and attract more diverse candidates for a job? I’ll share with you a few tips that have helped my business build a diverse and effective workforce.
These are three simple strategies you can apply today to start building a more diverse workforce.
1. Source employees from different places.
This may seem obvious, but many companies never consider that since they limit their search to a small segment of the population, their workforce may only represent that small segment.
Try to mix up the sources you draw employees from. Perhaps you need to seek out groups (both offline and online) where skilled employees—relevant to your industry—congregate. For example, you could become a member of a Women in Science social group and put out feelers for qualified candidates there.
• Ask for referrals from diverse employees.
Another way to find fast, quality contacts is to begin a referral program (or simply ask) your diverse employees for qualified contacts. These employees may also be helpful in sharing the news that you are looking for candidates to any wider networks they are a part of.
• Adjust the metrics you screen for.
In a similar vein, you should also re-examine what metrics you use to screen candidates. We live in a world where you can learn and become skilled in a number of unorthodox ways, and you should try not to have a bias against those who don’t fit a specific mold at the outset. Reflect on who, how and what you screen for, and evaluate if it is dictating your hiring in unintended ways.
2. Begin targeted internship programs.
Internship programs are a great way to recruit, train and work with diverse candidates from various backgrounds. There are myriad benefits that come from running a successful program like this, not the least of which is helping your brand build a better long-term relationship with whichever communities you choose to interact with.
• Mentorship programs can also be beneficial.
Creating mentorship programs that allow you to build better internal connections within the company can help you with retention. A good mentorship program can also help you to more easily find leadership candidates among your current employees by seeing how they interact with those they guide.
3. Track your post-hire data.
This is more of a long-term solution, but one of the most significant issues with companies I’ve seen is retainment. Part of the reason you may struggle to keep a diverse workforce is that your retention levels with certain demographics may be lower than with others. You should begin to track the post-hire data across many touchpoints and really see how your choices in candidates are affecting the turnover rate in your business. From that point, you can begin to take steps to correct any issues you find.
Keep in mind that there are a lot of variables that can go into a decision to leave a company, from internal culture to a lack of promotions or better offers elsewhere.
• Create metrics for holding leaders accountable.
The more data and metrics you are able to collect, the more you can get a comprehensive view of your company, and the better you can set realistic goals. A benefit to this is that you will then have hard numbers from which to judge various managers and their attempts to enhance diversity in their departments.
The more you can back up your decisions with data in the realm of diversity, the better. You want to be able to say “we increased our diversity hires by this percentage in the last year” with confidence whenever the topic arises.
There are countless ways to enhance diversity, and the method that works best for you will heavily depend on the unique aspects of your company, the industry and the area you find yourself in. However, for those companies that are able to raise the level of diversity among their staff, they will likely see a number of tangible and intangible benefits appear.