The diversification of the workplace is so much more than a reputation-builder for brands looking to “score points” with their audience. While you may, in fact, earn more respect from your clients, your audience, and your peers by stepping up to this very relevant social issue, the benefits of the practice span much deeper for you as well as your employees. From enriching your culture, inspiring collaboration, and improving productivity, all the way to increasing your retention rate, diversity does pay off in a range of different ways.
Still, many employers feel stuck wanting to build a more diverse company culture, but failing to do so simply because they’re not certain where to begin. More often than not, they are using outdated hiring practices without any knowledge on how to improve or update them, or implement new ones that will encourage a more diverse pool of candidates to apply for your job posts. If you’d like to see your company become more representative of the society we live in, here are a few recruitment suggestions to kick-start your efforts.
Rethink the language in your job descriptions
If there’s underlying bias in your hiring processes, you might be unwittingly using biased language in your job ads, as well. A simple example would be the usage of the term “salesman” instead of “sales executive” or “salesperson”, implying that you’d prefer a male employee over a female one – even though you’d never put it that way when asked directly. Subconscious bias is a significant issue among businesses everywhere, and you can begin to address it by changing your voice in job descriptions.
This doesn’t mean that you will necessarily jeopardize your brand’s tone of voice. On the contrary, if diversity is a significant part of your culture, or at least you wish it to be, then your wording should reflect that. If necessary, you can work with an external hiring expert who can point out similar inconsistencies in your descriptions to ensure that you’re appealing to a wider audience instead of a bias-based, limited pool of candidates.
Adapt your workplace policies
Among many benefits of hiring people with disabilities in different industries, some of the greatest include higher retention rates, diversifying your customer pool, and lower absenteeism. Opening your doors to people with disabilities means that your company reputation will also soar, and that you’ll be able to hire exceptionally talented, skillful individuals who often get overlooked simply because companies aren’t ready to make room for them. The question is, are you ready?
Take a look at your existing office space and company policies. If they are restrictive, unsafe, and created to suit people without disabilities, you make it close to impossible for someone outside of that realm to apply for a position with your company. Introducing more flexibility in work hours, adding adjustable desks, and providing a maneuverable office space makes all the difference. Go the extra mile, make the necessary changes, and let the world know that you’re hiring, so that more people with a disability will feel welcome.
Switch to “blind” interviews and resumes
In addition to gender and ability, bias can come in many other forms, and it’s also typically subconscious, making it very difficult for companies to change their hiring mechanisms for the better. That is why, when you finally discover you have an underlying issue with hiring with more diversity in mind, you need to try implementing this simple, but powerful method: blinding your recruiting processes. By removing any indicators of gender, ethnicity and other labels, you prevent yourself from judging those candidates based on those particular qualities. Without seeing their name and age, you might be more inclined to hire that person based solely on their skills and experience.
Beyond the actual resume review process, you can actually transform the interview into a blind selection process as well. Instead of a video chat or a face-to-face interview, you can book a phone call and use voice masking technology to remove any indicators of their gender. Chat room interviews are also being used often as a replacement for in-person meetings for the very same reason. These two blind strategies will ultimately help you keep an open mind and eliminate underlying bias from the hiring process.
Define your hiring goals
First of all, start by conducting a thorough review of your current recruiting processes and your existing employee makeup. That way, you’ll be able to use numbers as a clear indicator of any bias in your company, and spot perfect opportunities for improvement. However, if you do notice that there are several major segments in which you can make a difference to be more inclusive, it can be close to impossible to introduce these changes all in bulk.
Instead, you may want to consider specifying each goal over the course of a year, if not even longer. Make sure that those goals are specific and realistic for your business, and expressed in numbers that can help you measure your progress. That way, you can outline a strategic approach to reach these specific goals. So, if you’re looking to hire 10% more female candidates in your IT department, you can create very specific methods to tackle this issue, attract more qualified female candidates, and build a more diverse workplace.
Building a more diverse company culture is a journey, not a destination. Use these tips to transform your recruiting process, and you’ll give your business a fair chance to empower diversity in every way, and help your reputation grow as a result.