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How can you create a more inclusive and diverse workforce?

Creating a diverse workforce in your organisation is not an easy task, but it is an important one. Having a diverse workplace not only benefits your organizations’ growth but is also an extremely positive aspect of your organisation for job seekers and employees. Diversity in the workplace can help with problem solving, decision making, and creating an inclusive culture for people with all different backgrounds. Your management team needs to consider these factors when hiring new employees in order to promote a more diverse workplace. But where do you start when trying to achieve diversity in the workforce? The first step is understanding what workplace diversity really is.

What is workplace diversity?

In today’s competitive landscape, creating a diverse and inclusive workforce is essential not only in creating the right work culture to increase employee retention, but creating a workplace that allows employees to share experiences, stories and different concepts with one another, empowering them to think outside of the box. A diverse workplace is an inclusive environment that provides equal rights and opportunities for all workers, regardless of gender, colour, age, ethnicity, physical ability, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and more.

The benefits of diversity in the workplace

It may sound like a straightforward concept, but creating a workplace that promotes inclusivity and actively supports employees from diverse backgrounds can be difficult to do. There are many advantages to having a diverse workplace, including:

  1. Increased productivity
  2. Innovation
  3. A great reputation

A diverse workplace empowers employees to feel safe in their environment and to build trusted and genuine relationships. Diverse workforces are 35% more likely to outperform competitors¹.

Use inclusive language when advertising a role

The barriers to a diverse workforce begin to emerge at the beginning of the candidate journey. Job vacancies often use buzzwords, such as “champion”, “active” and “collaborate”, which may seem like harmless terms – but they carry hidden gendered categorisation.

Being conscious of implicit biases and altering language to remove these gendered buzzwords when creating job vacancies will create a more inclusive, especially for women, and appealing vacancy for potential employees, leading to better workplace diversity and inclusion.  Using inclusive language in your position vacancies will also give you a competitive advantage over organisations who fail to take this into account.

Removing bias also means more candidates will apply! There are even websites online that can help you to do this to achieve better diversity in the workplace.

Give applicants the opportunity and ability to express an interest in your organisation

Harvard research shows that if women don’t feel that they meet 100% of the criteria, they often won’t apply. This contrasts with men, who will apply for the role if they meet only 60% of the criteria.

Blockers to gender diversity and inclusion

LiveHire data shows that people who identify as female and people who identify as male progress through the recruitment pipeline at the same right, in every stage. What this further indicates is a bias in the job application entry stage.

By providing female candidates the ability to express their interest in working for you rather than having to apply for a specific job, you will remove the fear of rejection. This way, you’ll be able to understand their skills and experience and hire them when a role is available. It’s a proactive, problem-solving way to improve workplace diversity from the beginning of the hiring process.

Create a flexible workplace and promote it!

Every person has a unique situation and your organisation’s flexible working opportunities need to reflect this!

Whether it be flexible working hours, parental leave, the ability to work from home or from a remote location, or opportunities for learning and development, these are drawcards for building a more inclusive and diverse workforce. New ideas and perspectives on traditional workplace practices can help employees from diverse backgrounds find a better cultural fit. Your organisation will continue to understand different perspectives and further innovation, as a result of having more workplace diversity.

Incorporate diversity into your strategy

The best way to maximise the benefits of diversity and inclusion objectives is to embed them your business strategy. Taking a strategic approach to developing an inclusive workplace means the benefits of diversity and inclusion will be felt throughout the entire organisation, and ensure a diverse culture is promoted across the board. It’s important for all employees to understand how to actively foster workplace diversity.

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency suggests the following checklist to ensure the benefits of diversity are taken into account at every level including management:

  • Leadership commitment
  • Strategic intent
  • Stakeholder management
  • Accountability
  • Measurement and reporting
  • Organisational culture and systems

Taking a targeted approach and combining resources across all levels of the organisation can increase the efficacy of a diversity inclusion strategy. Treating diversity in the workplace like any other business objective gives organisations a competitive advantage and benefits in creating and fostering an diverse workforce.

Show off your employer brand and workplace diversity

Organisations need to be branding for influence! Candidates are more inclined to apply for a role with an organisation when they feel aligned to the purpose of the organisation, especially if workplace diversity is important to them.

Not only can your employer branding be shown through your website and social media, but the conversations your recruitment team have with candidates are a key way to show it off how your organisation works towards workplace diversity.

It’s important that all communication your organisation has with employees is two-way and authentic, so that you build genuine and long-lasting relationships with people from all different backgrounds. Including diverse talent perspectives in your decision-making is a great way to foster trust and positive relationships with employees.

Retain Your Talent

The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2020 recently revealed that job loyalty rises as businesses address employee needs, from diversity and inclusion to sustainability and reskilling. More millennials said they would like to stay with their employers for at least five years than would prefer to leave within two years.

This highlights the role that diversity in the workplace plays in employee retention. Millennial workers in particular want to stay with their employer for a long tenure – but their loyalty is tied directly to diversity and business culture.

What next to improve your workplace diversity?

Diversity means your employees will have a full range of different perspectives, and it’s important to create a safe working space for everyone. Speak with your team to find out what policies your organisation has in place to make your diverse workplace comfortable for your employees.

If your organisation is lacking in workplace diversity, it might be time to look at your application process to see how you showcase diversity in the workplace to your potential employees. Is there a blocker in this step that’s stopping you from finding your dream employees?

Diversity in the workplace isn’t quick to achieve, but it’s an important step to build an organisation that has happy and diverse employees.

Interested to learn how LiveHire can help you achieve your diversity in the workplace targets? Reach out to us today for a chat. 

¹McKinsey ‘Delivering through Diversity’ 2018

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