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4 Keys That Build Diversity and Inclusion Into Your Business

The world is a diverse place; this we know. The question is: Is your company as reflective of this diversity as it could be?

If it’s not, you should know that diversity and inclusion can benefit your organization in a number of ways. For one, it ensures that people from all walks of life bring a variety of skills and abilities to the table.

Similarly, these individuals also bring various perspectives and innovative ways of thinking to your organization, as well. And, perhaps most importantly, diversity breeds even more diversity. A diverse community of employees is sure to bring in even more employees – and clientele – from various backgrounds. With that said, let’s discuss what you can do to ensure your organization continues to grow more and more diverse as time goes on.

4 Keys To Diversity and Inclusion

Key #1: Start With the Job Description

Your job postings – from the way in which they’re worded to the actual content within – can be largely telling of how accepting your organization is of diverse individuals.

While avoiding masculine pronouns is a start, you’ll want to dive deeper than this surface-level fix; gender-neutral language goes well beyond the use of “he” within a job description.

Additionally, you’ll want to stress the responsibilities and achievements expected of a potential employee, rather than their qualifications. Reason being: studies have shown that men will apply for a job if they fit 60% of the “qualifications” criteria, while women will only apply if they fit almost 100% of them. In other words, focusing on qualifications all but ensures you’ll only attract men to the position in question.

Lastly, use your job description as a means of celebrating diversity. This, again, goes beyond the simple “XYZ is an equal opportunity employer” statement. Rather, build the importance of diversity into the expectations of your job by stressing the need for a variety of skills and experiences, outside-the-box thinking, and the ability to speak multiple languages.

Key #2: Change How You View the Candidate Pool

Now, simply making changes to your job descriptions won’t mean much if you still use the same process when looking for employee candidates.

While you probably have a few “go-to” techniques for finding new employees – which is still fine – you want to expand your comfort zone a bit, here. Tap into sources you hadn’t considered before; if you typically use online job boards, consider attending a job fair. Obviously, you can always narrow down your search based on qualifications, anyway – so why not try to uncover some hidden gems?

Similarly, if you rely on your employees to make hiring recommendations, request that they, also, think outside the box when digging up potential hires. In other words, ask them to go beyond finding people in their personal sphere of friends and family, and see if they’re able to tap into other areas of their network.

Lastly, consider screening your potential employees without looking at their name. This will help you avoid any unconscious bias that may cause you to unintentionally favor men over women or those with common names over those with more uncommon or diverse names.

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Key #3: During the Interview

During the actual interview process, you want to again reinforce the importance of diversity to your potential employees. Again, this isn’t to say you should just pay lip service to inclusion and diversity; rather, structure your interview questions in a way that promotes diverse ways of thinking and approaching problems.

Additionally, you should include a variety of your current employees in the hiring process. On their end, it will, of course, show them that you value their input and opinion. On the potential employee’s end, it will do the same – making your organization more attractive to them in the process.

Key #4: Overall Operations

As far as your actual day-to-day operations go, you certainly want to facilitate a sense of diversity and inclusion as much as possible.

Aside from the more overt and obvious methods (such as the celebration of different holidays, or the creation of potluck dinners, etc.), you want to build the celebration of diversity into the fabric of your organization. For example, when creating policies regarding logistical issues (such as paid time off and working hours), try to be as flexible as possible, considering each of your employees’ needs in the process.

Perhaps most importantly, stay diligent in keeping an open mind to new ways of thinking, and different ways of solving problems. As we alluded to earlier, the more open you are to new ways of going about a process, the better off your organization will be overall.

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