What, why and how of workplace diversity

Orla Hodnett
Orla Hodnett

The benefits of diversity in the workplace are numerous and diversity is constantly increasing. Diversity correlates with increased revenue and improved customer service.

Diversity is also very attractive to prospective employees. It sets your company’s values apart from the competition. To help you achieve all of the above, here’s the what, why and how of diversity in recruiting.

What?

Diversity in the workplace means seeing the immense value in difference, whether that difference is in ethnicity, gender, age or background. Differing experiences and careers will form the basis of improved innovation, as well as a deeper understanding of customers’ needs.

Improved diversity will introduce a greater range of skills, education, languages and viewpoints. Achieving workplace diversity means hiring a broad range of people and those best qualified to do the job.

This is part of our Compliance & Data series

Why?

The motivations behind improving and fostering diversity are clear: diversity benefits an organisation. Studies from the American Sociological Association show that companies that have an increase of 1% in gender diversity, experience a 3-9% increase in revenue.

Improved ethnic diversity has a much more dramatic impact, with a 15% increase in revenue. By improving workplace diversity, your organisation becomes more attractive to potential candidates, and overall morale will improve in your company.

Greater diversity enhances collaboration. In fact, diversity facilitates innovation. Without increased levels of diversity, the differing views and experiences necessary for innovation are absent.

For similar reasons, diversity increases problem-solving capabilities. A diverse workforce is inherently adaptable. Change and fluctuation are certainties in most industries, so your team should have the range of skills and experience to act accordingly.

Maintaining a good level of diversity and responsible hiring practices are enforced by law, but this should not be a motivator. Companies unsupportive of diversity will be investigated and prosecuted under the variety of labour laws and the EEOC in the US.

How?

This is the important part. Seeing the benefit of diversity and the data to back it up is easy. The difficult part is hiring those different to yourself, reconsidering how your company works and enacting a program of diverse hiring.

A standardised system of interviewing and recruiting will ensure that your recruiting projects give diversity the best chance. This involves setting out a list of guidelines and criteria to be adhered to, by all involved in the recruiting process.

Be conscious of how you advertise any role. The language or specific terms you use may alienate certain groups or even deter them from applying for the role. 

A clear-cut application process is also necessary to remove bias in the recruiting process. Recruiting software supports a standardised, automated system of filtering candidates. This ensures that only the best, most qualified candidates are making it through to the interview stage.

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