5 Tips for Enhancing Workforce Diversification & Diversity

dv1954035Diversity is no longer just about maintaining compliance or being viewed as a socially responsible employer. Once thought of only as a way to meet pre-determined quotas, more companies are beginning to recognize the positive business performance implications of establishing a diverse workforce. According to a recent study, 44 percent of Fortune 500 respondents indicated they invest in diversity to increase innovation and agility. In a global economy characterized by increasing talent scarcity, diversity is fast becoming a business imperative.

In order to access the deepest talent pools and create a high-performing, inclusive workforce, companies must focuson having the right people in the right jobs at the right time – no matter their age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability. In fact, numerous studies have shown that diversity improves organizational and financial performance. A study from McKinsey found that companies leveraging inclusion have doubled their value and are 1.8 times more likely to innovate than companies that don’t have such policies in place.

Despite the evidence that a diverse workforce can help improve organizational success, many companies still struggle with methods for enhancing workforce diversity. Here are five recommendations to help you begin to build a diverse talent pipeline that can sustain the growth and health of your organization for years to come:

  1. Approach diversity with C-level commitment: Successful companies fully embrace diversity as a priority and don’t regard it as merely an add-on to other corporate initiatives. With clear support from the C-suite – as well as a diverse leadership team directing day-to-day operations – the importance of your diversity strategy will be evident. Make sure there are diversity champions in place who can take an active role in coaching, mentoring and educating. Additionally, communication up and down the organization will further underscore the value your company places on diversity.
  1. Take stock of current practices: How can you know where you need to go with your diversity initiatives without first understanding where you are today? Assess your efforts to date to determine what changes need to be made – or where you’re already doing well. Does your workforce diversity reflect your customer base, as well as the changing demographics of society? Do your current practices help you source from the largest and most diverse set of candidates available? Be sure you’re asking the difficult questions to get to the honest answers.
  1. Provide adequate training: Help managers and employees overcome their own personal biases, which can impact their ability to accept change and embrace workplace diversity. Training and communication about the benefits of diversity and inclusion help to overcome bias and misunderstanding. According to a survey from Glassdoor, hiring managers are in the best position to increase diversity in their company’s workforce. Ensure that your recruiting strategy is optimized to attract a diverse set of candidates by training hiring managers to help them become more sensitized to the needs of workers from different backgrounds and cultures.
  1. Ensure compliant practices: One of the most challenging aspects of managing diversity in a global business environment is that compliance mandates vary from one region to another. Organizations must be able to build a diversity strategy that applies on a global scale, but that can be executed based on local needs. You must understand local requirements and have an informed global perspective to build the appropriate diversity policies.
  1. Leverage incentives: Many regions and governing bodies recognize and reward companies who are dedicated to diverse hiring practices. Business incentives, like tax credits and training grants, are often offered to employers who hire youth trainees, workers with a disability or military veterans. By investigating and making the most of these opportunities, you can further strengthen the business case for your corporate diversity initiatives.

Diversity is essential to drive innovation and bottom-line results for any business. Ensure that your organization is positioned to build a dynamically diverse workforce by gaining support from the C-suite, assessing and adjusting your approach to corporate diversity, training and sensitizing employees to the importance of inclusion, meeting compliance mandates and taking advantage of incentives to build the business case for diversity programs.

Audra Jenkins

Audra Jenkins
Audra Jenkins is chief diversity and inclusion officer, Randstad North America.

Audra Jenkins

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