Hiring for diversity should be a top priority for your company. A survey on diversity hiring found that 67 percent of active and passive job seekers feel that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers.
“Diversity” in the workplace includes age, gender, race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and a host of other qualities.
Take this anecdote from the former COO of eBay. While visiting a company for a board meeting, Maynard Webb noticed that every new hire was young, white, and male. When he asked why, Webb was given an apologetic answer. “We know this is a problem, but there just isn’t enough pipeline to find other good people now.”
Here’s the thing, though. The issue isn’t “pipeline.” As Webb points out, half our population is female, half are racially diverse, and young people clearly aren’t the only job seekers.
The good news is that diversity hiring strategies can help you see real results.
Your candidate pipeline, statistically speaking, conscious or unconscious, isn’t diverse. If you’re relying on hiring through referrals, you’re likely stifling a diverse candidate pool. Why? Our circles tend to include people who are similar demographically to ourselves. It’s natural for humans to connect with individuals with shared experiences.
Yet we need diversity. For one, it’s the right thing to do. And depending upon your industry or geopolitical location, compliance might be mandatory.
It’s also the smart thing to do. It benefits you, it benefits your customers, and it drives your success. Uniformity doesn’t breed innovation. A diverse workforce is directly related to increases in collaboration and team-based work in the office.
A 2018 McKinsey report found that companies in the top-quartile for workforce diversity are 33 percent more likely to financially outperform their less diverse counterparts. This can be attributed to several factors.
A diverse workforce brings new (and varied) perspectives to your organization. This in turn leads to greater creativity, faster problem-solving, and higher employee engagement. You’ll see lower turnover, better decision-making, a stronger reputation, and higher profits.
“Good leadership requires you to surround yourself with people of diverse perspectives who can disagree with you without fear of retaliation.”— Doris Kearns Goodwin
Constructive feedback and accountability are important. As a leader, how can you push yourself if you’re surrounded by people who agree with your every word? A diverse team will have more effective discussions. That’s the beauty of multiple perspectives.
Let’s jump back to Wells’ boardroom conversation. The issue isn’t so much convincing companies that diversity needs to be a priority. It’s figuring out how to make it happen.
Your diversity hiring strategies should include:
Widening your talent network is incredibly important. Why? Talent networks do offer a broader pool of talent that is typically outside of your decision-makers’ circle. Talent sourcing helps you find people that don’t run in the same circles as you. You find people who live life differently than you. These differences might include preferences of platforms, apps, and news outlets, for example.
Check out our guide to talent sourcing for a deeper dive into how best to find and network with potential candidates outside of your network.
Talent sourcing can make it easier for you to create a more diverse workforce, BUT. Here’s the big asterisk: beware the decision-maker’s bias. Conscious or unconscious, it’s there.
Talent sourcing can give you a more diverse talent pipeline. (No more “we’d love to hire diverse candidates but we just don’t see the applicants!”). You’ll have fresh perspectives, variety in age and gender and background and location and race (and the list goes on). Again, though, it’s up to your other hiring policies to see it through. Talent sourcing can improve the diversity of your candidate pool. But you need to also foster an inclusive hiring strategy for your diverse workforce.
A talent network can’t necessarily help you create a more diverse hiring team. Unfortunately, that bias is up to the decision-maker. It can, however, show you what diversity offers your organization.
Talent sourcing is beneficial to workforce diversity. If a company hires from within (or hires only from the network of people they already know), it misses out on opportunities to bring fresh points of view and new ideas.
At Esteemed, we’re passionate about improving the hiring process for both talent seekers and employers. One aspect that absolutely needs to be considered here is this conscious effort to seek out new perspectives. The first step, then, is finding a diverse network or pool using talent sourcing. To learn more about this important process, check out our talent sourcing guide.