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​Why you need a more diverse workforce (and how to get one)

  • Publish Date: Posted about 2 years ago

Diversity isn’t just about doing the right thing. It turns out you may need diverse employees more than they need you. From boosting creativity and innovation to improving your company culture and employer brand and helping you make better business decisions, diversity pays.

Study after study has shown that companies that get diversity and inclusion right will reap the rewards both culturally and commercially. For example, here are some of the findings from McKinsey’s Diversity Matters report:

● Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15% more likely to have financial returns above the national median for their industry.

● Companies in the top quartile for racial/ethnic diversity were 35% more likely to have financial returns above the national median for their industry.

● Companies with more diversity have access to a wider variety of perspectives, which is highly beneficial in planning and executing a business strategy.

And two further impressive statistics to add to that list:

● A study by Josh Bersin found inclusive companies are 1.7x more likely to be innovation leaders in their market.

● A Glassdoor survey found 67% of job seekers think a more diverse workforce is important when choosing a job.

So having understood the importance of diversity in hiring, how do you achieve it? It’s all about recognising and minimising bias. While we may not be consciously prejudiced, all of us are unconsciously biased. Because bias is unconscious, it can’t be solved with training; we need to find other ways to counteract it.

Types of bias

  • Confirmation bias: favouring information that confirms your existing biases or beliefs

  • Heuristic bias: judging people’s suitability for a job by superficial factors like tattoos or weight

  • Affinity bias: an unconscious preference for people who remind you of yourself or of someone you like

  • Conformity bias: a tendency to behave like the people around you instead of using your own judgement

  • Intuition: basing hiring decisions on a ‘gut feeling’.

So how can you prevent bias in your recruitment process? There are many different methods, but here are a few of the most important:

Job Descriptions

Making sure you actually have a job description in place, with criteria everyone involved in the hire has agreed to, will help you avoid bias by hiring with skills and competencies in mind. Make sure all the language in the job description is gender-neutral and reflects your inclusive culture.

Blind Recruitment

Removing candidates’ names, gender, age and other non-essential information like education and hobbies will help you focus on skills and avoid consciously or unconsciously biased decisions.

Job Advertising

Studies show using gender-neutral language in job ads will fill the role faster than ads with either a masculine or feminine bias, and will attract a more diverse range of candidates. What’s more, candidates from diverse backgrounds will be more likely to apply if you include an equal opportunities statement in your ads.

Creating a Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Strategy

If you don’t already have one, create a strategy document outlining specific diversity, equality and inclusion goals for your organisation, target dates for achieving them, and the steps you plan to take to get there.