Recruiting for any company is a tough challenge, especially when many viable candidates are available. However, HR representatives often make biased choices, even if they have the right intentions at heart. The result? In many cases, workforces are uncomfortably monocultural and do not represent truly diverse teams regarding race, gender, and other demographic factors.
Racial disparities can have pervasive and negative effects in our society, ranging from long-term socioeconomic effects to personal discrimination and more. Therefore, HR leaders must combat these racial disparities and create more diverse workforces by keeping a few key strategies in mind throughout the recruitment and promotional processes.
Why Are Diversity Efforts Needed?
Simply put, we need diversity efforts because an inclusive workforce is a more productive and successful workforce. Racists or those unconvinced about the merits of diversity will often claim that affirmative action policies or prioritizing inclusion will result in hiring unqualified candidates for job positions or pandering. Both of these allegations are flatly false.
In reality, a diverse workforce will:
- Enable your team to solve more complex problems due to wider background knowledge.
- Ensure that your products are suitable for as wide a target audience as possible.
- Introduce your administrative and executive teams to new ways of thinking, potentially leading to new solutions or revenue streams.
In short, diversity of people also leads to a diversity of thought, which is important regardless of your industry.
Here’s an example:
Historically, automobile crash testing was done with almost entirely male staff. The dummies used for automobile crash testing were also based on male physiology (i.e., they were roughly the size and weight of an adult human male). As a result, crash testing provided important results when considering the safety of male drivers or car passengers, but the reverse was true for female drivers or passengers.
For many years, women were at a greater risk of serious injuries or death in automobiles because crash testing did not account for their differing physiologies. However, once automobile crash testing companies began hiring more women, female survival rates improved.
As you can see from that example, increased diversity directly translated to a tangible benefit and improvement for the industry at large. The same will be true for your company, no matter what industry it is in.
How to Make Recruitment More Inclusive and Retain a Diverse Workforce
Now that you understand the true benefits of implementing and maintaining a diverse workforce, let’s break down how you can improve your workplace’s diversity over the long term.
Promote from Vulnerable Groups
Firstly, revamp your promotion practices, so you take candidates specifically and intentionally from vulnerable groups. For example, if you want to promote a team member to an executive slot and have two equally qualified candidates, pick the candidate from a more diverse background or culture.
Why does this matter? Promoting minority groups to leadership positions shows other minorities in your area or industry that promotional opportunities are possible. They won’t assume that working for your company just means they’ll be stuck in entry-level or middle management positions forever.
For minorities to be attracted to your company, they have to believe it will open doors for them. The best way to prove this is to promote minorities to leadership positions whenever you can. Ideally, you’ll cultivate a truly diverse executive team over time.
Form Diverse Work Task Forces
Next, be sure to create and maintain diverse work task forces, such as new product design groups, think tanks, research groups, marketing teams, and more. That means not comprising a task force or team of members from a single demographic, such as straight white men or straight black women.
The benefits of diverse work task forces include:
- Bringing fresh experience and ideas to the table.
- Ensuring that mistakes aren’t made or that certain core ideas are missed (as in the case of all-male crash testing teams for car manufacturers).
- Showing future job applicants that your workplace is devoted to “walking the walk” of diversity rather than just talking about it.
As a plus, diverse work task forces can ensure that all your company’s employees know how to foster a welcoming environment regardless of background or culture. For instance, diverse employees will help explain which words you shouldn’t say at work, present the value of their unique experiences, and ultimately make your enterprise a more valuable and international company.
Avoid “Blind” Recruiting
Blind recruiting, in which you ignore the names of candidates or other potentially demographic identifying information, is a bad practice similar to the “color-blind” theory of racial relations. However, many studies have already shown that color-blind approaches do not end discrimination or promote diversity.
Instead, you should intentionally recruit people from minority backgrounds or cultures. Again, this helps prove that your workplace is a truly diverse place for people of all backgrounds. It also ensures that your unconscious biases don’t come into play when choosing between equally qualified candidates.
Even if there aren’t any blatant identifying demographic markers on a “blind” application, it’s still possible for recruiters to make biased decisions if they detect other, more subtle indicators of identity. You can also use employee recruitment and management platforms like Jobsoid.com to source better candidates for your organization.
Offer Targeted Apprenticeships/Internships
If your organization has an internship program or apprenticeships for future leaders in your industry, make sure they are targeted at those from minority groups.
Targeted apprenticeships, internships, and clubs can do wonders for improving workplace morale and boosting the diversity of your employees across the board. As a bonus, targeted internships and other opportunities can help minority employees connect with one another and feel truly safe and secure at your company.
Plus, it’ll give them more opportunities to advance in your organization, eventually qualifying for the executive positions mentioned above.
Highlight Diversity as a Major Goal in Company Materials and Ads
Lastly, get the word out that your company is doing everything it can to strive for ultimate diversity and inclusion. This message should be present on marketing materials, your mission statement, and internal communication materials as well.
The more you preach this message, the more your employees will practice it, and the more likely you will attract top-tier candidates from minority backgrounds and cultures. In many cases, companies profit financially from announcing their intention to become more inclusive.
Diversity and fighting against racism are important concepts in the modern consumer’s mind. By taking the right side in this modern culture war, you may draw new customers to your brand and solidify their faith in your organization for years to come.
Ultimately, HR leaders need to take multiple steps to not only recruit job candidates from diverse backgrounds but to keep them for many years in the future. Acquiring and maintaining a diverse workforce will provide your company with several advantages and benefits and help combat the pervasive and ubiquitous racism that still contaminates our society.