Businesses are moving towards hiring a diverse workforce because of the benefits it offers. The most touted benefits are increased productivity and revenues, but the effects trickle down to several other areas by boosting creativity and innovation. The fact is that hiring employees from diverse backgrounds and cultures bring unique perspectives that help deliver better products and services. However, many businesses, particularly start-ups, struggle with diversity. It’s not as challenging as you might imagine if you plan and implement a few strategies for successfully creating diverse teams.
Hiring diverse doesn’t mean restricting recruitment to people of color or a specific gender or race. The true benefit of diversity can only be felt when people from varied backgrounds contribute their ideas and perspectives. Therefore, one needs to look beyond race, gender, and color to other factors such as age, personality, sexual orientation, disability, religion, and culture.
When people from diverse backgrounds work together, differences of opinion are inevitable. In building cohesive teams, creating a culture of inclusivity in the organization is essential for success in hiring and retaining diverse teams. It might require publishing clear policies to prevent harassment and building suitable infrastructure for accommodating employees with physical impairments.
Recruitment is the key to hiring a diverse workforce. So, it’s essential to evaluate the current recruitment processes and strategies to assess their effectiveness in attracting diverse talent. It might involve changing the language used in job postings to avoid biases towards age, gender, or other criteria or using technology and AI to shortlist candidates based on qualifications. Similarly, providing unconscious bias training to recruiters and managers can provide an even ground for interviewing prospective employees.
Instead of a one-size-fits-all environment that focuses on efficient workstations and layouts to improve productivity, creating spaces that celebrate diversity and make employees feel valued and accepted can increase creativity and performance. It might require creating spaces for meditation or prayer, relaxation zones or disability-friendly workstations or amenities. Celebrating holidays or organizing events that highlight different cultures and offering employees the flexibility to take time off for holidays that they celebrate are other strategies that can promote inclusivity.
Many organizations fail at diversity as they don’t look beyond entry-level recruiting for building diverse teams. Unless employees are provided with the opportunity to move up the ladder, sooner or later, they will look for better opportunities elsewhere. Offering training and development opportunities and setting up mentorship or cross-functional programs can help employees from diverse backgrounds gain new skills, preparing them for leadership roles in the future.
One of the biggest mistakes is to implement diversity measures, which managers believe will benefit employees. The better alternative is to listen to employees, understand their experiences, appreciate their perspectives, and chalk out action plans that meet their needs. Designing mechanisms for continuous feedback, whether through online surveys or weekly face-to-face meetings, can help see things from the employees’ perspective so corrective measures can be taken before it’s too late.
Leaders need to look beyond performance as the sole criteria for evaluating an employee in a diverse work environment. Listening to employees and showing empathy to their unique experiences or situations will make them feel valued and empowered. Encouraging a culture of trust and respect will go a long way towards ensuring that diverse teams thrive within the organization.
Conducting periodic reviews of diversity initiatives is as essential as implementing them. Only by assessing the effectiveness of strategies can issues be identified and remedied to ensure the success of DEI initiatives.
Diversity is beneficial and necessary for businesses to attract and retain top talent. Creating an environment for diverse teams is lengthy. Still, the resulting innovativeness and creativity can boost the business image and profits, making it well worth the effort.
At Diverseek, we help our clients take the first step towards building a more diverse workforce. We use a combination of data-driven insights, expert-led evaluations, and assessments by our dedicated team to improve the hiring experiences and outcomes.