Over 50 years ago, the novel “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit” described a world of corporate conformity composed of men with similar backgrounds and thought processes creating a culture of monotony. That world has changed. Today, gender and cultural barriers are breaking down, leading to new opportunities and greater innovation in the workplace. In the face of an ever-changing world, incorporating diversity and inclusion (D&I) in recruiting is a must.
Studies show that teams or organizations made up of individuals with a more diverse mix of backgrounds, experiences and work styles tend to bring forth a richer set of ideas, perspectives and approaches to a business issue. When companies put D&I into practice, they can harness its power to achieve real gains in the marketplace. But what does it mean to be diverse and/or inclusive? Interpretations of D&I and the ways in which companies weave it into their workforces vary widely.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), diversity generally refers to the collective mixture of differences and similarities between individuals, including:
- Ethnicity/national origin
- Family status
- Gender identity or expression
- Life experiences
- Organization function and level
- Physical characteristics
- Religion, belief and spirituality
- Sexual orientation
- Thinking patterns
- Veteran status
Diversity provides the potential for greater creativity and innovation within an organization, but inclusion is what enables it. While closely related to diversity, inclusion refers to an environment’s achievement in treating all individuals fairly and respectfully, providing equal access to opportunities and resources and allowing each to contribute fully. When the two combine, the possibilities for business success are endless – and more and more companies are recognizing this. Over half (57 percent) of HR professionals surveyed in 2013 by SHRM said their recruiting strategies are designed to increase D&I in their organization.
Diverse & Inclusive Recruiting Makes a Difference
In the search for talent, organizations are putting D&I front and center in their recruiting and retention efforts. Not only does this help broaden the talent pool, but it also builds an employer brand that’s warm and welcoming. Some of the many benefits of embracing D&I include:
Attraction of top talent: If you want to find the best talent, it’s critical to reflect the market you’re serving. By making diverse and inclusive recruiting a priority, you’ll attract a wider variety of candidates – not just individuals who have a good resume or match the job description, but the best and brightest who are just waiting to be found. Furthermore, no matter what position you’re trying to fill, most people are happy to join a diverse and inclusive workforce, and will be more likely to accept your job offer.
Increase in creativity: When employees from different cultural backgrounds and experiences collaborate, new ideas and solving-problem methods are possible. For instance, a McKinsey study found that increased racial diversity in the top management of U.S. corporations led to more competitive business actions, creative advertising and sales incentives.
Provide opportunities to the underserved: Despite the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, the unemployment rates for this group remain high. The fact is, people with disabilities are often just as creative, talented and productive as anyone else. When you encourage applications from these individuals, you can increase the number of high-quality candidates. Many companies, including Pepsi Co., Merck and Lowe’s have found their employees with disabilities to be loyal, reliable and hardworking, which led to an overall positive work environment.
Capture more market share: When your workplace is diverse and inclusive, your company can more effectively market to all types of consumers, including those from a range of ethnic and racial backgrounds, men and women, younger and older adults, and those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
Boost bottom line: Research shows that both top-level and overall company inclusion leads to economic gains. Case in point: a team of researchers at the Credit Suisse Research Institute studied 2,360 companies globally from 2005 to 2011 and found that those with one or more women on the board delivered higher average returns on equity and experienced better average growth.
Designing an Inclusive Recruiting Initiative
Not only is diverse and inclusive recruiting the right thing to do, it’s a smart move for business success. But incorporating D&I into your recruitment efforts takes planning. In designing and implementing your inclusive recruiting process, consider the following:
- Engage the CEO and key stakeholders throughout the process
- Recognize the D&I shortcomings within your organization
- Recruit externally to access a more diverse talent pool
- Create clear, broad job descriptions
- Use screening to include, rather than exclude candidates
- Select and inclusive interview team
- Plan ongoing internal and external communication to manage expectations and goals
At Recruitment Solutions USA, we understand the changing nature of the business world because many of us have been in it for more than a quarter century. With an unmatched blend of marketing and human resources experience, we are uniquely qualified to serve your organization’s inclusive recruiting needs. Learn more by calling 732-214-9600 today.