Look around your office. Notice anything missing? No, I’m not talking about the lunch one of your co-workers nabbed out of the company fridge—I’m talking about people. For many employers, one of the biggest organizational challenges is a lack of diversity in the workforce, including race, age, and gender. Diversity doesn’t come naturally, but it’s imperative—research shows “diverse workplaces are higher in performance, innovation, creativity, sales, and stock returns.” (Workplace Diversity Through Recruitment–A Step-By-Step Guide)
This Forbes article shows the impact of diversity on a company’s success. Two noteworthy statistics jumped out at me:
- “Of the 366 public companies analyzed, those in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above national industry medians.”
- “Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their national industry peers.”
The question that follows is: How can managers reach more diverse candidates in their efforts to hire qualified applicants? Here are three ways to open up your pool of applicants across the diversity spectrum.
1. Try a new recruiting tool.
Finding the best, most qualified applicants for every position on your team is key to building a successful business. But if you’re finding that applicants to your open jobs are all very similar, you may want to diversify how you find those applicants.
For example, if you always add new postings to the same job-search websites, consider:
- Using different websites in addition to—or instead of—your usual sites. Take time to research sites and find their primary audiences, so you can hone in on specific potential employees you’re looking for.
- Posting the job opening in different venues and locations. Consider posting in different cities’ job boards, chambers of commerce, on college campuses, and at alumni associations.
The online recruiting platform Social Talent has some interesting advice about how to find diverse applicants:
For example, if you’re trying to encourage more African-American graduates to join your company, there’s not much point in attending career fairs at universities with a primarily white demographic … Similarly, if you are trying to recruit more women and all of your job advertisements are being placed on job sites and social sites with a typically high male audience, your advert will not do its job.
2. Check your language.
Does your job description speak to the candidate you’re attempting to hire? Something as simple as the wording can put off the audience you’re trying to attract. Ideal says it this way:
If you want to attract a more diverse candidate pool, the language you use in your job posting makes a difference. A study on job postings found those using masculine-type words like “ambitious” and “dominate” were less appealing to female applicants.
3. Review your benefits.
Take stock of your company’s benefits, and be sure to publicize the ones that you think might appeal to a more diverse group of people, including:
- On-site daycare.
- Child care subsidies.
- Generous parental leave (maternal and paternal).
- Remote work and work-from-home opportunities.
- Health and dental benefits with flexible spending accounts.
- Flexible scheduling.
- Accommodations for religious and cultural events, and holidays.
If you don’t (or can’t afford to) offer all the benefits your ideal employee would want, start small. Think about incremental changes you can implement to welcome employees from all walks of life, and then put them in place piece by piece.
By challenging the status quo of your current hiring process, you can make sure you’re appealing to all the best potential candidates for open positions, while helping your company become more diverse—and more successful—at the same time.