It’s time to stop hoping for a more diverse candidate base and start doing something about it. More and more companies are seeking new talent with diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, experiences, and locations. Large organizations have the resources to curate diversity programs and departments that actively address the need for diverse talent. However, this doesn’t mean that small and medium sized companies should resign themselves to the talent pool sitting in front of them.
We traditionally align a diverse workforce in areas like race or gender. But a diverse workforce goes far beyond what we physically see in front of us. A diverse workforce is one that is made up of different experiences, educational backgrounds, geographic regions, orientations, nationalities, and – of course, our traditional notions of race or gender.
Study after study confirms that diverse teams work smarter and contribute more to their organizations. Harvard Business Review confirms that the more diverse the team, the more likely they are to focus on facts, process facts more carefully, and are overall more innovative than teams that come from similar backgrounds. It’s easy to subscribe to the idea that similar backgrounds will work together better, with less conflict, and more homogeny. But running a business is about solving real-life problems and attacking the needs and wants of consumers from all angles.
Companies that are not in a position to create large-scale diversity programs can still take significant steps towards building diverse, and ultimately more productive teams.
Change Your Job Descriptions
Traditional job descriptions intentionally exclusive. While it may feel unintentional, your job descriptions may be turning off the larger applicant pool. Looking to hire more women? Aggressive language and long lists of non-negotiable skills’ lists can be big turn offs. In fact, most men are likely to apply for jobs that they are underqualified for, whereas most women will ensure that they can tick off every requirement prior to applying.
If you truly value experience and demonstrable skills, nix the college-graduate screening questions. Someone’s access or ability to pay for a college education (that rivals homeownership!) should not disqualify them from your position if they have the right experience.
Examine your job descriptions from every angle to see where you are creating bias, even if it is implicit.
Open Up Positions to Remote Workers
The pandemic has very quickly shown us that on-site does not always mean more productive. There are many types of jobs that do not require in-office work to be successful. If a position can be performed remotely, you are opening up doors to new talent and ultimately new networks of people.
Was a position previously successful in a remote capacity? If so, then what is holding you back from finding a new employee who is excited and motivated to join your company remotely?
Value Skills & Experience over Traditional Education
As with job descriptions, it’s easy to get caught up on the traditional education track. College is not an indicator of aptitude or a desire to learn. And lack of formal education isn’t a lack of drive or motivation. By forcing the notion of the college experience as a necessary part of the hiring process, you miss out on talent may have lacked opportunity due to no fault of their own.
Accept Alternate Experiences
You run your business in a certain way. You have core principles and missions that drive your organization. But you can stay true to these foundational standards and still accept that employees with new experiences and different viewpoints can lift your organization further. They can help to spark innovation and disrupt the industry. Employees that accept the day-to-day at face value are not breaking barriers or challenging your normal operating procedures. Homogenous thinking is easy… and stagnant.
Looking to write better job descriptions to open up your talent pool? Or are you searching for ways to create a more inclusive hiring process? Talk to our team about what our clients and candidates are experiencing as they attempt to both hire and join more diverse organizations. Contact Henry at [email protected] for more information.