By Acara Client Services Director Damian Scandiffio
As a Client Services Director at Acara Solutions, I partner with organizations and HR teams all over the West Coast to gain insights on their workforce management strategies. My visibility into their organizational cultures and struggles gives me a broad sense of what these companies are doing, not doing, or want to be doing when it comes to improving diversity in the workplace.
Here are a few pointers to help you achieve your diversity goals at your organization.
1. Yes, you can.
The idea that you can’t hire for diversity in a tight labor market is flat-out wrong, and the misconception is preventing more-than-capable companies of pursuing legitimate diversity efforts. So first things first: yes, of course you can diversify your workforce in a tight labor market. This means hiring people of all abilities, ages, ethnicities, genders, races, religions, sexual orientations, and socio-economic statuses.
2. Set a goal.
According to these 6 Steps to Hiring More Diverse Candidates from Ideal, the ultimate goal of diversity hiring is to “identify and remove potential biases in sourcing, screening, and shortlisting candidates that may be ignoring, turning off, or accidentally discriminating against qualified, diverse candidates.”
But where should you start? Consider setting metrics to increase the percentage of qualified females in tech roles, for example, or the percentage of minorities on your sales team.
3. Communicate with hiring managers.
Ask hiring managers—in writing—to give you specific reasons why they chose not to hire a job candidate. According to these 5 First Steps for Improving Your Diversity Recruiting Efforts from HR Dive, “An assertion that someone ‘isn’t a good fit’ is no longer good enough, as it is too often code for bias.”
Make sure your diversity hiring goals are clearly communicated to your hiring managers, and then hold them accountable for their decision-making. Having a written record of your hiring decisions will give you an idea of how successful (or unsuccessful) your hiring efforts are (and who’s responsible).
4. Always have a diverse interview panel.
Basic human nature draws us to people who look like we do, talk like we do, and act like we do. In other words, an interview panel of old white guys probably isn’t the best way to attract young, female, and/or ethnic job candidates. Consider this piece of advice from Working Mother: “The panels must be assembled thoughtfully, with each member having a voice and everyone appreciating the value of diverse opinions.”
What is your leadership doing to stress the importance of diversity in the workplace? If the answer is “nothing,” then that’s a problem for a number of reasons. According to Inc., “Diverse organizations and teams are not only proven to perform better, but building an environment where everyone, from any background can bring their authentic self to work is simply the right thing to do.”
If you’re having trouble embracing or sharing the idea of diversity at your business, check out these 5 Ways Leadership Can Change the Conversation Around Diversity and Inclusion.
5. Advocate diversity awareness.
Talking about diversity is one thing—actually creating a diverse workplace is quite another. The first step is to create, communicate, and stick to a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination. Next step? Consider some of these suggestions from SHRM.
- Assign an R&D team to explore inclusive decision-making efforts
- Implement cultural and competency training
- Sponsor team-building exercises
- Communicate these initiatives in-house via newsletters
- Celebrate your initiatives online via social media
For more ways to advocate diversity awareness at your workplace, take a look at these 13 Effective Ways to Educate Employees on Diversity from Forbes.
Do you have any other questions or comments about HR and workforce management? Let’s connect on LinkedIn!