How can recruiters promote diversity in the workplace

How can recruiters promote diversity in the workplace?

A McKinsey report in April 2012 an important fact was stated, “Companies with diverse executive boards enjoyed significantly higher earnings and returns on equity.” While this report emphasized on executive leadership, this statement applies as much to entry level employees as to the C Suite. A higher performing workforce is one of the biggest advantages of diversity hiring. What are other advantages of implementing a diversity recruitment strategy and how can recruiters attract and retain diverse candidates? Let’s examine in detail.

What does diversity in the workplace mean?

A company’s workforce is its lifeblood. Whether your company creates the latest nano-tech or engages in doing some social service, the people you hire matter the most. The role of recruiters is especially important when it comes to establishing and maintaining a diverse and equal workplace as having a diverse workplace is not easy. Different people communicate differently and have different ways of synthesizing and interpreting data.  Recruiters must be able to navigate the gender divides, geographic divides, age gaps, and cultural divides amongst others to establish a diverse workforce. These are the primary categories where most discrimination happens and there is a clear pay and access disparity. Diversity in the workplace is all about bridging these gaps. But why?

The Benefits of Hiring for Diversity


Diversity in the workplace is profitable


Multiple researches have revealed that organizations which leverage diversity and provide an environment conducive to participation from people of diverse backgrounds experience better financial performance in the long run than organizations which are not so good at managing diversity. A study also found that the annual returns for the 100 companies which ranked at the bottom in equal employment opportunities issues, average 7.9 percent, when compared to 18.3 percent for the 100 companies that rated highest in their equal employment opportunities.

The bottom line is that diversity is profitable. Another supporting argument is given by Dr. Edward E. Hubbard, author of Measuring Diversity Results and How to Calculate Diversity Return on Investment. According to Dr.Hubbard, “while diversity performance can be challenging to measure because such things as creativity, work team productivity, and innovation cannot truly by measured in numbers, nevertheless the presence of diversity impacts individuals, teams, organizations, customer markets, and communities at large.”

Diverse workforce is more productive

A combined study conducted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and George Washington University  revealed that people are happier working with same gender and yet teams with gender diversity are more productive. The impact of gender diverse team is nothing less than extraordinary on the company’s bottom line with researchers estimating that offices with an evenly distributed workforce of men and women stand to gain 41% in revenue. This can be attributed to the fact that employees work less and socialize more when matched with people who are similar to them.

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Diverse workforce is good for compliance

There are strong anti-discriminatory laws in most of the developed and developing economies of the world. Therefore attracting a diverse set of people to your workforce as a policy will help you avoid the legal complications that sometimes even the biggest companies face. Such diverse hiring policies come to rescue when you have to let go of an employee and your company is less likely to face litigation.

These are some of the major reasons why hiring for diversity is good.

How to hire for diversity?

Evaluate the diversity of your current team

It is necessary to constantly evaluate the diversity composition of your current employees and the initiatives taken at the company to maintain this composition. For instance, you could analyze the gender composition, the median age of employees, the cultural background that the employees belong to and other characteristics that currently represent your staff. Find the diversity strengths of the company and how you can build on those strengths. Also, take note of the diversity challenges and the areas that need to be addressed in the future.

Recognize your own biases and reduce them to increase diversity in the workplace

In order to address diversity challenges, as a recruiter you must first recognize your conscious and unconscious bias that are coming in way of making the best hiring choices. Everyone has certain leanings and preferences, often referred to as biases, and many a times we are unaware of these preferences. For example, many recruiters tend to ignore candidates with regional accents or disabilities. Then, we also have these assumptions about young people being more creative, innovative and energetic than older candidates. Once we have all our biases out in the open it will be easy to identify how these are impacting our choices of recruitment. Once this has been done, it will allow you to judge candidate on their individual merits, qualifications and competencies needed for a particular role.

Attracting diverse candidates to your company

Having a diverse workforce requires you to help professionals from different backgrounds find your company and the job you have posted. However, many recruiters narrow down their recruitment advertising to channels that are likely to offer candidates with similar backgrounds, which needs to change. Also, recruiters must be careful how job advertisements are worded, making sure that the language used does not imply bias towards candidates of a certain “type”. There are online tools and editorial help that can tune out such words or phrases that may subconsciously repel professionals from certain backgrounds while applying.

Also Read:  Recruitment Strategies to Attract and Retain Talent

Explore new recruitment technologies as a part of diversity recruitment strategy

As the world of recruitment evolves, companies must be ready to involve technology to increase the reach of their sourcing campaigns. Adopting full scale recruitment software that allows sourcing from multiple channels at the click of a button can give employers an advantage when looking to tap into more diverse talent pools. Also, crawling technology which finds potential fits for a role by scouring their online profiles allows companies to access candidates from beyond their usual talent pools.