Creating a Diverse Workplace: Practical Steps You Can Take

Questions and topics surrounding diversity and inclusion have recently captured the attention of the nation. And rightly so. 

In the workplace, aside from the fundamental “rightness” of the concept, diversity in the workplace has numerous, measurable benefits for the organizations that have created an environment to foster it. 

Simply put, diverse workforces outperform workforces that are not diverse in a variety of metrics. 

From increased engagement and productivity to higher rates of innovation, revenue, and retention, diverse teams are continually proven to provide better results than their more homogenous counterparts. Here is one of those studies. Here is another. Oh, and here is one more

The body of scientific literature supporting higher returns from diverse companies has grown so rapidly, and with such incontrovertible results in recent years, that organizations now can no longer ignore the impetus to take actionable steps to create their own. 

While these benefits are supported by legitimate research and are widely known, organizations actively engaged in diversity efforts still may struggle with actually creating a diverse workplace.

In this blog, we’ve compiled some simple but effective steps to help your diversity efforts be successful.  

Evaluate your current hiring process

You can’t improve what you don’t know needs improving. 

Any successful diversity and inclusion initiative begins with looking inwards and examining all facets of your organization. This doesn’t mean you automatically have to declare yourself guilty of subconscious discriminatory practices. Still, you may be unaware of specific characteristics of your processes that may be impeding your diversity efforts. 

Evaluate your hiring process thoroughly and identify areas that need to be strengthened, improved upon, or redesigned entirely. Reach out to your employees for volunteers to form a diversity and inclusion committee, featuring as many diverse voices as possible to help identify areas that can be improved. After you’re able to uncover potential barriers to entry, you can then begin to redesign processes to ensure diversity candidates have enough access to the pipeline for new hire considerations. 

Decide on a metric internally 

Completely overhauling your organization can, well, be a pretty overwhelming experience. Settling on a specific goal or metric internally early on can help unite your efforts and set a clear landmark to march towards. This goal can always be reestablished year after year as you begin to progress. For example, a year one goal could be a “10% increase in diverse hires” or “hire two diverse candidates in leadership positions.” 

Whatever metric you think is most relevant or impactful to your organization is entirely up to you. Just make sure it’s feasible. Complete parity, while ideal, maybe an untenable bar to reach early on and can discourage initial efforts. 

Spread the word

Diverse organizations attract more diverse candidates. The opposite is also true: It’s more difficult for less diverse workplaces to attract diverse candidates than more diverse organizations. A study from Glassdoor showed that 67% of job seekers use diversity as one of their deciding factors when choosing between potential employers. 

Increasing the awareness of the current diversity within your organization and the initiatives you’re taking to create more opportunities is crucial. Create content and take advantage of your social media platforms, emailing list, and employer branding campaigns to spread the word about your diversity efforts.

Additionally, this shouldn’t be done just for the outside world. Inside of your own workplace, include and educate employees on your diversity efforts. Encourage referrals from your minority employees. All successful diversity initiatives are backed by a workforce that is united in a common goal and eager to spread the word abroad. 

Diversify your talent pipeline

While all the steps previously described will make a dramatic impact, your efforts won’t be fully realized unless you take steps to diversify your talent pipeline. 

Look past the traditional areas from which you’ve recruited historically. Develop relationships with local women’s colleges, or universities composed of traditionally diverse student bodies. Promote internship opportunities for diverse students. Advertise your opportunities on media outlets that serve different demographics. Partner with a recruiting firm that specializes in diversity hiring. Creative steps like these will help capitalize on the groundwork you’ve already laid and build momentum towards the actual hires.

Creating a truly diverse workplace that lasts past the first year or so requires a holistic strategy and perpetual commitment to practice what you preach. After you’ve begun to gain some ground, make sure to continually check-in, as you did at the start, to ensure all processes are still infused with the same level of passion and direction as they were in the beginning. 

Martin Grant Associates

Is your business looking to diversify its workforce with top candidates?

Martin Grant Associates is here to help. We help top organizations across the insurance industry connect with leading diversity talent. 

Get in touch with us today to learn more.