July 17, 2018 | Written by: Mark Leon and Keith McIlvaine
Categorized: Talent Acquisition
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A few cultural shifts and concrete steps are necessary to becoming an authentically diverse employer.
It starts with understanding what diversity means. Too often we are limited by thinking that diversity is about physical attributes. Yes, there are ethnic, disability and gender diversity differentiators, but diversity also includes culture, ideas, values, beliefs, sexual orientation, religion and ways of thinking. It’s a melting pot of heritage, personality, professional style and abilities.
Once we understand that diversity encompasses all of the above, we are prepared to take the essential steps to ensure that our companies reflect real diversity.
Step 1: Discover the makeup of your organization. How does the workforce breakdown? What are areas of strengths and weaknesses? With this knowledge, you can set goals and expectations for both your diversity and inclusion program and an effective recruitment strategy.
Step 2: With representation and input from all areas of your company, write and communicate a mission statement, in line with your employee value proposition, that is the foundation of your diversity and inclusion program.
Example: “The mission of the EMPLOYER diversity and inclusion program is to grow a diverse workforce and cultivate an inclusive work environment, where employees are fully engaged and empowered to deliver outstanding services.”
A diversity program is only as strong as the employee base that embraces and supports it. Communicate it from the highest levels of leadership and reach every member of the organization’s family. Then, reiterate it year after year—or as often as necessary.
Step 3: Create a sense of belonging. Internal affinity groups provide a safe harbor for like groups of people with similar backgrounds and interests to feel welcome and open to share and find empathy. Affinity groups can be formed for new hires, veterans, Native Americans, LGBTQ employees, African-Americans and women, for example. By sponsoring affinity groups, you are providing an outlet and showing your commitment to maintaining a diverse workforce.
Step 4: Allow all employees to celebrate their religious or ethnic traditions and holidays. Give time off even for the smallest population of the workforce.
Step 5: Form a diversity recruitment team with a defined budget, goals and a means for transparent reporting. Ensure the team engages in local, national and global exercises—whatever it takes—to fulfill your diversity recruitment strategy goals. This will include job postings, conferences, college relations, local organizational partnerships, career webinars, information sessions and tours. In addition, your Talent Acquisition team should partner with Marketing or Employment Branding to create a recruitment marketing campaign expressing the value and advantage of a diverse workforce.
Step 6: Share your success stories. Nothing drives interest and engagement from employees and candidates alike more than relatable success stories. Celebrate your brand as a diverse employer who values your “melting pot” of employees. You can do this through blogs, e-newsletters, talent communities and corporate social channels.
As you create and execute your diversity strategy, remember that it’s not about hiring quotas, posting jobs to niche sites to meet compliance regulations or printing a diversity and inclusion statement. It’s about acceptance, embracing new ideas and valuing inclusion from any background or walk of life.