Everyone wants a diverse workforce. Some are motivated by optics while others have a sincere commitment to values and the understanding that diverse teams perform better.
Diverse Workplaces Perform Better Financially
A 2018 study showed that racial diversity makes a company 33% more likely to outperform the average profitability. Gender diverse workplace fair 21% better than the average. Both are statistically significant.
Research reinforces the link between diversity and financial performance. Inclusion strategies could give you a competitive edge.
Prioritize Outcomes Over Optics
Any PR department will tell you that optics matter. Any positive press your company receives as the result of a diverse workplace helps outweigh the cost, but it won’t be worth as much unless the efforts go deeper than what can be seen from the outside.
If you're going to make diversity a part of your mission, you need to do it right.
How to Diversify Your Workforce
Start with diversity in mind: From the time you start your business or your new team, let inclusion be a significant part of your vision. A diverse business or team will organically grow into a larger diverse workforce.
Look outside the box for talent: You're never going to get a truly diverse workplace if you're drawing from the same Ivy League Colleges. Look beyond applicants' alma maters or college majors. Look for candidates from smaller colleges or non-profit backgrounds who have impressive work experience – you will be shocked at the talent you find.
Use mentorship as a pathway: Start a mentoring program! Pair new employees with more experienced employees. Sometimes it's a good idea to match people of similar cultural backgrounds and, in other situations, mix cultural backgrounds and let them learn from each other. Make sure your mentors have received appropriate diversity and inclusion training beforehand.
Diversify up and down the ladder: Having diversity in the executive suite is essential. Executives will be making the majority of the hiring decisions, and without diversity, at the top, it's unlikely it will be successful anywhere. There should be diversity all through your workforce from top to bottom. A thoroughly diverse workplace will have variety at every level.
Do your research: You don’t have to be a diversity expert to implement it in your workplace, but it does help to do your research. Learn from people who specialize in diversity and inclusion and, if possible, bring them in to work with you and your team. Training can help everyone navigate their differences more effectively and will boost empathy and help unconscious bias from spoiling your efforts.
Diversity and Inclusion Is an Ongoing Effort
The data shows that diversity is a good idea, but you have to do the work. It’s not something you do once, and then forget about. It is a culture shift and if done right will become a part of your company's identity and ongoing values.