Your employees are your competitive advantage. It’s their collective ideas and actions that make your business succeed. The most successful companies encourage collaborative efforts among team members with differing perspectives. Diversity recruiting helps you find talent from different backgrounds, ethnicities, nationalities, religions, ages, and genders to get a variety of life experiences and perspectives. Plus, your candidates and employees expect diversity. Sixty seven percent of candidates said that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies, and 57 percent of employees think their company should be doing more to increase diversity. When done correctly, diversity recruiting produces strong business outcomes.
What is Diversity Recruiting?
To build a case for diversity recruiting, it helps to first know the definition of diversity recruiting. Diversity recruiting can be defined as actively recruiting people of diverse backgrounds for your open jobs that you're hiring for, or planning to hire.
Benefits of Diversity Recruiting
Recruiting for diversity drives innovation
Many studies show a correlation between the diversity of companies and their business success – with more diverse organizations outperforming the rest. Why? Homogeneity can hinder your organization’s ability to innovate. Take, for example, a group of marketing professionals who all attended the same MBA program and went on to work for the same established company. They’d likely all have a very similar approach to solving problems based on their similar education and work experiences. However, introducing someone who has work experience from an early-stage startup might question the way things are being done, allowing for more innovative solutions to business problems. The same can be said for introducing people of different ethnicities, nationalities, religions, ages, and genders. Promoting diverse teams that have a variety of life experiences and perspectives can help solve business problems in more creative ways.
Diverse teams serve diverse customers
Diverse teams can better serve a diverse set of customers, both in terms of providing innovative products and a high level of customer support. Again, a variety of life experiences and perspectives can help your organization identify with your customer’s pain points, and solve them in more creative ways. As a result, your organization will be able to appeal to diverse customers, close more deals, provide better customer satisfaction, and improve customer retention. It’s no surprise that diverse organizations see better financial results. The most racially and ethnically diverse organizations are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their industry medians, while the most gender diverse organizations are 15 percent more likely.
Diversity and inclusion initiatives help retain diverse employees
Similar to how a diverse workforce helps you retain customers, it also helps you retain employees. When your employees feel like part of an inclusive team, rather than the odd (wo)man out, they will be more satisfied at work and stay longer. Not only will they have others in the office that they identify with on some level, their differing perspectives are more likely to be heard, rather than drowned out in a sea of homogeneity. This is particularly true with a diverse leadership team. Without diverse leadership, women are 20 percent less likely than straight white men to be endorsed for their ideas, while lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender professionals are 21 percent less likely, and people of color are 24 percent less likely. With a more diverse team, different perspectives have a better chance to shine through.
Conclusion: Recruiting and Diversity
Organizations that embrace diversity in the workplace will have better business outcomes than those that don’t. To build a diverse team, focus on building a diverse talent pipeline with people from different walks of life. You may need to challenge your assumptions of what makes a great candidate, whether it be school affiliation, industry background, or company history — many of those confines can perpetuate homogeneity. Diversity recruiting works best when you open your mind to candidates with different backgrounds and life experiences, and focus instead on evaluating what they may be able to contribute to your team.
For more information about diversity recruiting, watch our webinar The Ultimate Case for Building a Diverse Team, and How to Do It.