How to build your commitment to talent through diversity

HR Experts across the globe have identified diverse recruiting and management as a top trend for 2017, with 37% of experts noting it as a top priority. The appeal of diverse recruiting goes beyond a simple moral imperative. Companies that have more diverse workforces are 35% more likely to earn more than their industry average.  For these companies, diverse recruiting promotes the correct treatment of talent, builds smarter and more innovative teams, and improves alignment with diverse and global customers.

Diversity recruiting creates an ideal environment for talent

Diversity recruiting goes beyond creating quotas for ethnicities, gender, age, sexual orientation, or experience.  Instead, effective diversity recruiting solutions strip away recruiting bias by focusing on key skills, reaching out to broader applicant pools, and more strongly considering non-traditional qualifications such as success in community building.

Hires and promotes in a successful program are chosen for the right reasons – skills, experience, and potential – rather than for race or gender.  Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace poll found that management that “demonstrates strong commitment to diversity” had the best chance to increase employee engagement. 

Diversity leads to smart, innovative, and adaptive teams

Zooming in from company-wide vision, diverse teams fight complacency and are more innovative.  According to the Harvard Business Review, “By breaking up workplace homogeneity, you can allow your employees to become more aware of their own potential biases”. Diverse teams and perspectives encourage employees to pay closer attention to facts, analyze these facts more carefully, and discourage groupthink.  Proof can be found in an experiment in which groups of three from the same background were encouraged to solve a mystery. They were soon joined by another individual similar or different from them: those with an out-group newcomer were more likely to guess the correct suspect than those with an in-group newcomer.  A longitudinal study conducted in London found that the benefits of diversity carried over to product innovation as well, with diverse firms getting more products to market or updating production specs.

The benefits of diversity on market understanding is also significant. 80% of purchasing decisions in the UK are made by women: Given their knowledge of the market from making those decisions, it’s no wonder that a 10% increase in executive gender diversity was correlated in a 3.5% earnings bump for UK companies. Stories like the following are just one indicator of the benefit that diversity can bring internationally focused companies especially: “A senior executive at a global company in Asia stated an obvious if difficult truth when he said, ‘In our top-100 executive meetings we spend more than half of our time speaking about Asia. But if I look around the room I hardly see anybody with an Asian background’” (source).  Wal-mart has identified the same issue, identifying demographics and diversity plans for each country that it operates in.

Conclusion

Knowing the benefits of diverse recruiting and management, how do you implement it into your hiring strategy?  First is by focusing on key skills: Strip away extraneous requirements in your job descriptions and focus on the essentials. Software solutions to reduce screening bias include Blendoor or Twine (for promotions) which display candidate profiles with a skills focus. Alternatively, solutions such as GapJumpers or interviewing.io allow you to conduct anonymous skills interviews.  Broadening your applicant pool by reaching out to more hiring channels or parsing your job descriptions with Textio is another effective strategy.

Building an HR strategy that encourages diversity in hires and promotes is by no means an easy task, but in today’s global and connected world building a diverse team is an important and rewarding step towards future excellence.