It’s proven—inclusion and diversity have many benefits for both organizations and employees. Accenture’s Getting To Equal report shows that a culture of equality and diversity is a multiplier of innovation. Progress made through improved gender diversity, diverse leadership, flexible working arrangements and employee-friendly policies all contribute to the overall culture of an organization. This culture then becomes the determining factor for the brand value and the reputation of the company, which, in turn, helps attract and retain good talent.
Given the growing awareness of what diverse teams bring to an organization, here are 10 steps you can take to attract a more diverse talent pool. From internalizing the value of diversity to conveying that the company is an inclusive place for all irrespective of background, every step matters.
Induct employees in the "culture of one"
Making a conscious effort to train all employees on important aspects of inclusion is important. This would mean guiding employees to become cognizant of their own biases and modify their actions and behaviours accordingly, to become truly inclusive.
Foster a spirit of “we are together, we are one” where team members look out for each other’s well-being—it is conducive for diversity. A company that celebrates diversity by sharing success stories, achievements and the voice of the diversity team within the organization and on social media platforms is likely to encourage more diverse candidates to apply.
Link diversity goals to performance
Linking diversity goals to the performance review system would help convey the message that the company is serious about diversity, and not just doing lip service. With individual managers being accountable for their teams, an overall progress toward diversity is possible.
Let your culture reflect inclusiveness
To attract a diverse set of candidates, an organization would need to convey that it’s inclusive and what better way than to have it reflect on the company website! A candidate who reads “diversity” as a top value for any organization is more likely to send through an application. Add to it, an appropriately worded job description that eliminates any bias—that’s sure to appeal to candidates from diverse backgrounds.
Ensure diversity in leadership
Having leadership that is diverse would mean the company is walking the talk. When company leaders look and talk like them, employees feel more at home. Having diversity leaders and champs focusing primarily on matters of diversity shows the company’s commitment to building more a diverse culture.
Encourage diversity hiring through referrals
The vision, mission, credo, thought pillars, attitude of managers and pulse of the organization—all of this must reflect diversity. Involving employees in the hiring process by seeking referrals from them for hiring talented people from diverse backgrounds can help an organization set the tone for the process as well as promote a culture of inclusion. Rewards for such referrals to the employees would further encourage their participation.
Share your diversity statistics widely
Statistics and numbers with regards to diversity help employees and the public know the progress the company is making on getting to equal. A company with clearly defined diversity goals and a transparent reporting system attracts potential applicants, especially those looking to purposefully get employed.
Consciously forge diversity collaborations
Most diverse companies collaborate with colleges and institutions that have a diverse student population. This gives them access to a wider talent pool. There’s another advantage—they get the opportunity to establish themselves as inclusive brands.
Weave inclusion into the recruitment process
To ensure a bias-free interview process, most inclusive organizations include measures such as having a panel of interviewers that is diverse and well trained to look beyond their personal biases, with a focus on hiring the right people for the role.
Update your rule book
Inclusive organizations periodically take a good look at their rule book and make the necessary changes so that a common language is being used across the organization. Clearly defined and communicated dos and don’ts where employee conduct is concerned would go a long way in safeguarding the interests of minority groups and ensuring their longevity within the organization.
Discuss diversity freely and openly
Having regular discussions, training and programs focussed on diversity are imperatives for organizations looking to build an inclusive culture. Mandatory digital modules for all employees as part of their training would also help. Accenture, for example, runs a Cross-cultural Diversity Program that provides a range of tools, resources and training courses to help employees work more effectively across cultures.
There’s no doubt that diversity gives companies a competitive advantage. For a job applicant, millennial or otherwise, it sends out a clear message—that irrespective of background, only merit would matter.