It is a positive step for businesses to invest in diversity programmes, given that there has never been a justification for excluding certain groups. While it is perhaps overdue, it is encouraging to observe companies taking steps to be more inclusive in their recruitment processes.
It is widely acknowledged that businesses who actively promote diversity and inclusion in their employment processes not only benefit from a moral perspective, but also stand to reap substantial financial rewards. A Deloitte research study highlighted that organisations that prioritise diversity and inclusion saw a 30% increase in revenue per worker, a 200% increase in the likelihood of achieving their financial objectives, and a 600% increase in their capacity to innovate and adapt to change.
Given the statistical evidence and the social benefits of diversity, companies should prioritise efforts to create a more inclusive workplace. Unfortunately, many businesses still fail to address their own ingrained biases, either intentionally or unintentionally. To facilitate a more open and accepting environment, I have compiled a list of seven steps that businesses can take.
At Works, we have developed a range of measures based on our extensive experience. We are confident that these approaches are successful, given that we have been recognised for our diversity efforts over the past decade.
The 7-Step Plan to Make Your Company More Inclusive
In order to attract a wide range of applicants for your available positions, it is important to go beyond simply advertising the roles. The most effective way of diversifying your workforce is to put a comprehensive diversity and inclusion plan into place, based on the relevant guidelines.
1. The term “diverse” should be interpreted broadly.
It is essential to remember the importance of considering a broad definition of diversity when designing and implementing a diversity programme. Whilst gender, colour and sexual orientation are certainly significant categories, it is equally important to factor in other elements such as disabilities and alternative perspectives. By taking a wide interpretation of diversity into account, we can ensure that people from all walks of life are included.
2. Make sure your company has rules in place that everyone may feel comfortable participating in.
It is important to evaluate current practices in order to identify any potential unconscious biases. This should be done with a thorough approach, from recruitment to promotion, to ensure that all parties are welcomed. Adjustments can then be made accordingly, and further regulations implemented, to ensure that all areas are given due consideration. This may include providing on-site childcare, wheelchair accessibility, variable shift lengths, and time off for religious holidays.
3. Establish persistent diversity initiatives
No organisation can be truly inclusive if its leaders introduce a culture of inclusivity without continuing to take action to promote it. Diversity and inclusion are dynamic processes and efforts to achieve them must be similarly ongoing. To ensure lasting success, training programmes, conversations and partnerships should be kept in place.
4. Strive to be a leader with awareness
Demonstrating diversity in the workplace can be highly effective when executed through leading by example. This means that beyond creating regulations and adjusting the workplace, inclusivity should be embedded as a core company principle. If adopted by managers and employees alike, it can create a ripple effect throughout the organisation. Additionally, regular training sessions for senior and middle managers can ensure that the company’s objectives are met, whilst also increasing the visibility of the project.
5. Reconsider your methods of recruiting
It is essential to give due consideration to the review of recruitment processes as part of step 2. A number of factors must be taken into account in order to ensure diversity in the workplace; these include job ad language, candidate selection criteria and interview techniques. For example, avoiding one-on-one interviews can help to reduce bias on the part of the interviewer.
6. Don’t see diversity as a number to fill up a spreadsheet.
It is a common but unfortunate practice for firms to implement a quota system when recruiting from underrepresented groups in order to appear inclusive. This may lead firms to believe that they have fulfilled their diversity requirements by simply hiring a certain number of women, people with disabilities or seniors. However, this is not how diversity works. An inclusive firm would not rely on quotas as they may give the impression of valuing diversity when this is not necessarily the case.
7. Make the most of information you have
It is beneficial to live in the information era, which allows us to make the most of our varied abilities. Therefore, it is essential to gather as much data as possible concerning our recruitment processes, such as the number of applicants, the characteristics they displayed, their educational and professional backgrounds, and the percentage of them who were ultimately employed. Comparing our in-house data on diversity with data on diversity at a national or local level is an efficient way to spot any discrepancies or prejudices.
Going Past the Basic 7
Implementing these seven strategies can help to create an inclusive environment for your firm, however, there is still more that can be done. As an example, Works collaborates with non-profit organisations to support diversity programmes in the Information Technology sector. In addition, we have developed a referral programme which rewards employees for introducing members of underrepresented groups to the field of technology.
There are a range of innovative methods to increase the diversity of your workforce, and being creative is essential. As such, these seven suggestions can be utilised as a starting point for your organisation’s journey towards diversity. This will be of great benefit to your organisation, yourself, and the wider community.