The need for a diverse and inclusive workforce has taken center stage over the past decade. Gone are the days when businesses could afford to operate with a more homogenous team. For 40% of organizations, diversity and inclusion strategy is a C-level priority, because employers now recognize that a diverse workforce brings a multitude of benefits, including enhanced creativity, improved decision-making, and better problem-solving abilities for the whole team. It is not only a societal imperative but also a strategic advantage for any forward-thinking organization.
However, achieving diversity in the workplace is not something that happens overnight. It requires a deliberate and concerted effort to create an environment where people from various backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences can come together, collaborate, and thrive in the workplace. In this blog post, we will explore why having a diverse workforce is essential — as well as discuss actionable steps on how to achieve it.
Why You Need a More Diverse Workforce
While many businesses are increasing the attention given to diversity and inclusion, not all business leaders know exactly why they are doing so. Here are some of the top reasons you should strive for a more diverse workforce in your organization:
1. Encourages Innovation
Business leaders who have vast experiences in their respective fields can sometimes be attached to legacy ideas and struggle to come up with new and innovative ways of working and serving customers. A diverse group of workers can help to bring unique perspectives to existing workflows and can make ideation significantly more effective.
2. Helps Bridge Inequalities Within Societal Groups
Having a workforce composed of people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and genders can create a more inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and respected. This can help to break down stereotypes and prejudices between different groups of people.
Additionally, a diverse workforce brings a variety of perspectives and experiences to the team, which can lead to more creative and innovative solutions to problems. With a more diverse team, different ideas are brought together to achieve better outcomes.
3. Increases Your Company’s Bottom Line
Diverse teams possess higher levels of adaptability, resilience, and flexibility in the face of changing market conditions, which then translates into increased profitability for the company. A diverse team can draw on a broader range of approaches and experiences. This diversity of thought leads to more innovative and creative solutions, which can give the company a competitive edge in the market.
Different backgrounds and cultures within a work team also help a company to understand and cater to a wider range of customer needs and preferences. This can result in an expanded customer base and increased market share. Research from McKinsey & Company shows that simply reducing the gender gap can help the American economy unlock $12 trillion in additional GDP by 2025.
How to Hire a More Diverse Workforce
Hiring a more diverse workforce comes with its own challenges. Candidates from differing communities might have unique concerns and needs that companies should be aware of when attempting to attract and retain them effectively.
1. Use Technology
Embrace technology in your hiring process to overcome unconscious biases and expand your talent pool. Implement resume screening software that removes identifying information such as gender, race, or name. Utilize AI-driven tools to present a diverse range of candidate profiles based on qualifications and skills, instead of relying solely on personal networks or other traditional recruiting methods.
2. Cast Your Net Outside Your Immediate Area
With remote and hybrid work enabling alternative work schedules, you no longer have to limit your search for talent to your local area. You can now consider expanding your recruitment efforts to national or even international platforms. This allows you to tap into diverse talent from different regions, cultures, and backgrounds. Additionally, attending career fairs, conferences, and networking events related to specific communities or industries can help you connect with a wider range of potential candidates.
3. Start From Within
Nurture a diverse and inclusive workplace culture from within. Encourage employee referrals and highlight the value of diversity in those programs. Provide growth opportunities, sponsorships, mentorships, and support groups for underrepresented employees. By fostering an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and supported, you increase the likelihood of attracting a more diverse range of candidates through positive word-of-mouth and reputation.
4. Ditch the Idea that Everyone Needs a Degree
Rethink your reliance on college degrees as the sole measure of qualifications. Instead, focus on skills, experience, and potential. Many talented individuals may not have had the opportunity to pursue higher education but possess valuable skills and capabilities. Broaden your candidate evaluation criteria to include alternative credentials, certifications, vocational training, or practical experience that demonstrate competence and aptitude in the required areas.
Remember, creating a diverse workforce requires ongoing commitment and a deliberate effort to challenge biases and expand your horizons. By adopting these strategies, you can attract a more varied pool of talent and build a stronger, more inclusive organization.
Build a More Diverse and Inclusive Workforce Today
The importance of a diverse workforce cannot be overstated. Companies that embrace diversity not only benefit from a wider range of perspectives, experiences, and talents but also foster an inclusive and innovative work environment. By valuing diversity, businesses can better understand and serve their global customer base and stay ahead of their competitors.
Embracing diversity goes beyond ticking boxes or meeting quotas — it’s about creating a workplace where every individual feels valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives. By prioritizing diversity and inclusion, businesses can harness the full potential of their workforce and drive long-term success in an ever-evolving global marketplace.
Dean Mathews is the founder and CEO of OnTheClock, an employee time-tracking app that helps over 15,000 companies worldwide track time.
Dean has over 20 years of experience designing and developing business apps. He views software development as a form of art. If the artist creates a masterpiece, many people’s lives are touched and changed for the better.
When he is not perfecting time tracking, Dean enjoys expanding his faith, spending time with family and friends, and finding ways to make the world just a little better.