Diversity—a buzzword in any hiring environment—is both tricky to master and devastating to mess up.
While diverse hiring has potential to introduce some feelings of discomfort due to social stigmas surrounding discussions on race, gender, and so on, it’s important to ensure that your workplace—and, thus, your employee pool—is as accepting as possible.
As a small business, here are a few considerations to expand your workplace diversity.
Conversations around race, gender identity, sexuality, religious persuasion, and disability are often viewed as awkward or uncomfortable, especially if you aren’t included in the category toward which the conversation aims. Counterintuitively, the best thing you can do to address this social stigma is by doing exactly that: discussing it. By talking about diversity and celebrating differences within your workplace, you are creating a positive culture. This makes each employee aware of the encouraging associations with diversity.
Perhaps the healthiest way to avoid stereotypes and other negative repercussions of diversification is to talk openly about each other’s differences. Set the tone for your workplace by welcoming everyone and celebrating the diversity among your employees. If an employee is uncomfortable with diversity, he or she may not be fit for your welcoming company culture.
Create an environment where all employees feel safe and appreciated, no matter what their differences may be.
Look at Facts
One approach to diverse hiring involves targeting your hiring ads toward as wide a population as possible and then hiring based on objective facts rather than gut reactions or whether you “like” a candidate. This hiring approach does allow you to claim a lack of culpability if your hiring turns out to skew toward one demographic; since your process in this case doesn’t allow for emotional value or personal input, it’s hard to argue with the results.
There are a couple of problems with this approach, however. As hard as you try to avoid emotional or biased hiring, your personal preferences will eventually weasel into the process; similarly, your ad may unconsciously favor a one-sided populace. Conversely, removing all emotional input can prevent you from hiring people who will gel with your work culture, thus detracting from your company’s value as a whole.
Remember, diversity—when handled correctly—should always serve to enhance your company.
Although it is important to interview and consider candidates that have the most factual, job-related information, be sure to dive into what makes that person who they are today. Going through something in life can be a much harder battle than gaining your degree or extra certification. Sometimes, it is not all about what is on their resume, but who the person is, whether he or she is a hard-worker, dedicated person, or the like can be shown through past experiences. Therefore, do not be afraid to ask the behavioral questions in interviews, “What is a goal you achieved and how did you accomplish it?” “When was a time that you failed and how did you react to that failure?” These types of questions can help you get to know your potential employee better and understand what they have gone through in their life outside of their achievements, certifications, and extracurricular activities.
By asking these questions, you are considering other aspects of the candidate. This can be helpful to see if they would mesh with your current employees and get an idea of what they are really like when they are not working. This is important because as an employer, you do not want a robot who knows everything. You need a real person with real ideas to help your company grow to its full potential.
Address Hiring Biases
Of course, considering a lower-than-apparent disparity between candidates is only the beginning of your battle against your own implicit biases. In order to confront a lack of diversity in the workplace, you actually have to get diverse applicants in the interview room; and this will require you to recognize patterns in your own hiring behaviors.
There are a couple of ways to confront hiring biases, the first is to realize who you have hired in the past. Are they similar to yourself, or vastly different? Are they similar to each other? There is nothing wrong with hiring a few people that are similar to yourself because you know they will get along with not only you, but your employees. However, the idea of hiring someone radically different than yourself can bring about new ideas and a fresh perspective that your company just might need. Be sure to realize if you have been hiring clones of yourself and understand that your company may need to diversify.
A more constructive way for you to address your hiring biases is to begin by acknowledging what the ideal employee would look like, in terms of experience, personality, etc. before interviewing. Then, fully interview a wide array of potential employees and then narrow your search based on your initial idea of the perfect employee. Remember, no candidate is going to be “perfect” but this will allow you to have an idea of the kind of person you want for your company while implementing diversity.
Diversify Your Company Culture
Your workplace culture is one of the most important aspects of your brand, which is why employers often find themselves defending their culture against anything that might alter or disrupt it. It’s good to find your groove as a workplace, but keep in mind that your work environment should always shift and change to accommodate new ideas—including diversity.
Rather than falling into the trap of refusing to hire applicants because you’re afraid they’ll shake up the workplace culture, embrace those applicants and the change that they bring.
Diversifying your workplace is a forever-ongoing process, and you will always have areas in which you can improve—both personally and professionally. For more help on creating a safe, enjoyable, diverse workplace, call Abacus Payroll at (856) 667-6225 today.