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Why diversity can add value to workplace – and how you can improve it within your business

Why diversity can add value to workplace – and how you can improve it within your business?

More and more employers are recognising the strong business case for improving the level of diversity and inclusion within their own workforce. Recruiting professionals from a range of backgrounds at all levels can give businesses access to a wide variety of viewpoints and perspectives.

Past research has shown that companies with staff from a broad spectrum of backgrounds do outperform firms with a less diverse workforce. By attracting and retaining a diverse range of staff, you can identify opportunities and explore new solutions.

Developing, implementing and promoting a diversity strategy is the challenge that all employers now face. Securing the most talented professionals will require you, as an employer, to take on a new, innovative approach to access more diverse talent pools.

What does diversity mean?

The most focussed on and discussed type of diversity is gender.  Studies consistently back up the theory that more diverse firms perform better - one found that gender diverse businesses can deliver superior financial outcomes to businesses led by a single gender, due to a greater range in decision making and different approaches to challenges.

But gender is just one small part of diversity - others include age, sexual orientation, race, religion, weight and political preference.  The less obvious, or sometimes less considered could include personality and cognitive diversity. Using behavioural analysis tools such as Myers Briggs and DiSC can help to not only understand your team’s personalities and how they work together, but where the gaps are for your recruitment.

Why do some businesses struggle to improve diversity?

Even when you do appreciate and understand, as a business, the gains that can be achieved when a diversity of opinion, outlook and background is embraced, it can be easy to fall prey to the natural human tendency to hire people who are similar to yourselves.

We tend to hire and promote ‘in our own image’ – selecting, developing and sponsoring people who are like us, have similar backgrounds, or who have attributes similar to our own which we tend to value over others.

An unconscious bias can also have an underlying effect on hiring decisions following the interview process – for example, past research has showed that 25 percent of Managers who identified as graduating from a top university say they prefer hiring candidates from similar schools.

Consciously improving diversity

Breaking out of this cycle must be a conscious decision and is the first step to improving diversity within your workplace.

Some high-profile companies have tackled the issues head on and shared their strategy, leading the way for others to follow. Among these is the BBC, which have pledged to increase the number of ethnic minority staff conducting interviews and has banned ‘All White’ shortlists for middle and senior ranking roles.

Diageo, the biggest spirits company in the world has introduced a new policy to all its 4,500 employees across the UK granting them all, male or female, 52 weeks of parental leave – with the first 26 on full pay.

Promoting diversity through your recruitment

Implementing your diversity strategy starts from the top down and must be considered during all recruitment. Here are some areas to focus on:

  • Consider diversity when writing your job adverts : If you want to attract a more diverse candidate pool, the language you use in your job posting makes a difference. For example, a study on job postings found those using masculine-type words like “ambitious” and “dominate” were less appealing to female applicants. Make sure the advert concentrates on selling your organisation and not just what you are looking for and try not to include a long list of skills and experience requirements – just keep it to the minimum.
  • Offer workplace policies that are more appealing to diverse candidates : Research has found that one of the best workplace policies to attract diverse candidates is flexibility - millennials place more importance on a company culture that promote work/life balance and the top company cultural value that women are most attracted to is a flexible schedule.
  • Accept blind CVs from Recruiters : This approach allows hiring managers and other key stakeholders in the recruitment process to evaluate individuals based on merit alone, which is becoming more and more common. This eliminates all unconscious bias and natural sway.
  • Use personality assessments during recruitment : The usual criteria for recruiting candidates – what company they worked at, what school they went to, who they’re connected with – can often work to decrease the diversity of the candidate pipeline, but by using a valid and reliable personality assessment you can measure a candidates’ personality traits, motivations, and skills
  • Appoint decision-makers who represent diversity and inclusion : Making sure the interview panel is diverse and represents different backgrounds, gender and experience increases the likelihood of bringing in employees with new ideas to create a highly inclusive, diverse and productive workforce.

Helping you in the recruitment process.

Attracting and increasing diverse talent is an important competitive differentiator and can be tackled head on during the recruitment process.

At TN Recruits, we always take time to understand your business, your values and culture – and what you are looking for in a candidate We like to build a solid relationship with you, so we can be your brand advocates  and offer objective advice and guidance when helping you to find the right person for your business.

We have a wealth of experience in recruiting office staff from trainee to board level in many sectors including financial services, law, marketing, insurance, accountancy and currently have a pool of 4,000 candidates.

Why not call us today on 01892 571105 for a free consultation.