Diversity recruiting builds a team that’s better at resolving conflicts. I know that can seem counterintuitive. After all, people with different backgrounds will have a variety of opinions about the cause of the problem and the right solution. And that’s the point. Think about the plot of Freaky Friday or any movie, TV show or book where characters swap bodies. The friction between the two characters dissolves as they literally walk around in the other person’s shoes. Both parties gain a new outlook. They become more understanding and appreciative of their counterpart.
A diverse workforce achieves the same results without needing to call in a team of body snatchers. This isn’t just a comparison between movies and the workplace. It’s backed by science. Studies consistently show that diverse teams are more successful than businesses where the majority of employees share a similar background.
How Diversity Recruiting Unlocks Financial Success
McKinsey first found a “statistically significant correlation between a more diverse leadership team and financial outperformance” in 2015. Three years later, they expanded the data set and confirmed their original results.
When the authors hypothesized why diverse teams financially outpaced their homogenous competitors, they highlighted 5 reasons:
- Wider pool of talent
- Enhanced decision-making process
- Greater creativity
- High employee satisfaction
- Positive reputation with suppliers, customers and the community
The McKinsey data focused on leadership teams, but the findings are applicable across every level of your organization. Just consider what happens when a diverse team is asked to evaluate information and reach a decision.
Diversity recruiting introduces a healthy dose of skepticism to the decision-making process
Co-workers with similar backgrounds share more than an alma mater, hometown, ethnicity or social class. They likely have the same inherent biases too. That’s why, in scientific studies about diversity and decision making, homogenous groups consistently underperform their diverse counterparts.
People with similar life experiences see everything through the same prism
Critical questions aren’t asked in discussions because no one even thinks of raising the point. Mistakes abound, like in this study asking financially savvy people to price stocks in a simulated market. Ethnically diverse teams made fewer pricing errors and were 58% more likely to correctly price the stock.
Friction isn’t always disruptive or toxic
In this case, a little friendly friction causes people to ask questions. Facts are evaluated and re-examined. You get a more robust decision-making process and eliminate avoidable errors.
New perspectives = new ways of working
A diverse team attacks issues and projects from multiple angles. Instead of a rubber-stamp environment, you get lively brainstorming sessions that can:
- Quickly solve problems
- Improve operational efficiency
- Keep people engaged
- Foster positive, healthy work environments
In short, you become the type of place that attracts top talent.
People Want to Work at Diverse, Inclusive Organizations
Increasingly, job seekers want to find jobs at diverse companies. A whopping 76% of respondents to a Glassdoor survey said diversity was a key factor when they were deciding where they wanted to work. About one-third said theywouldn’t even apply at a company that lacks diversity. It jumped to 41% for both Black and LGBTQ respondents.
Millennials and Generation Z bring their values to work
Millennials and Generation Z are replacing retiring baby boomers and Gen Xers. As the new cohort climbs the career ladder, they’re bringing their values to the office.
They don’t want mission statements. They want proof
77% of Gen Z respondents to a Deloitte study said it’s important for them to work somewhere that aligns with their values. To get the best of the best, you’ll need to prove to job seekers that you continually, consciously work to build a diverse workplace.
5 Ways to Build an Inclusive Team
You can’t swap bodies with people, and you don’t need to. Work through these 5 exercises to create a more inclusive team.
1. Broaden how you think about “diversity recruiting”
“Diversity” goes beyond race or gender. To create a truly inclusive team, consider factors like:
- Where a person grew up
- Where they went to school
- What they did instead of going to school
- Work experiences outside of your industry
2. Answer this question: Who doesn’t have a seat at the table?
Take the factors we identified above, plus any other you’ve added to the list, and evaluate your entire organization. Go through each team and ask questions like:
- Who isn’t represented?
- Is one group overrepresented on a specific team but underrepresented when it comes to leadership?
- Does everyone share a similar background?
Then go back and ask “What if?”
For instance, if your finance department is predominately staffed by women, but you’ve only had male CFOs, uncover the reasoning behind that. Take a moment and play “What if?” What if you had hired the woman who didn’t have C-level experience but had a strong track record overseeing projects? What if you hired the mom re-entering the workforce?
3. Understand that experience isn’t everything
Playing “What if?” chips away at any preconceived notion you have of what it takes for a person to succeed in a role. As a society, we overemphasize specific qualifications. A candidate with 10 years of industry experience might meet your paper requirements. But they may not be driven to go out and deliver.
Instead of judging a candidate on what they lack, evaluate their outlook. Success is 80% based on mindset. More than any certification or degree, a person’s mindset is going to dictate whether or not they’ll go out and chase success.
You aren’t lowering your standards
People worry they won’t get the right candidate when they let go of common work experience requirements. Working with a talent acquisition company to create an ideal candidate profile is one way to ensure you find the right person to fill your role.
4. Change your hiring strategies and write ideal candidate profiles
Traditional job descriptions make it difficult to implement a diversity recruiting plan. That’s why, at ProActivate, we don’t use them. As a talent acquisition company, we create ideal candidate profiles. During in-depth calls with our clients, we learn about:
- The company’s values, structure and history
- Expectations for the role
- Nonnegotiable requirements
- Any “nice-to-haves”
- Compensation information
- What the future employee’s first (and maybe second) year of work will look like
Company-wide values or criteria emerge during the discussion and help clarify for our clients what they want. Any specific diversity and inclusion criteria you identify in the first 3 steps are easily incorporated into the profile. This makes it an invaluable template for any future vacancies at your company. It’s also our roadmap for qualifying candidates.
5. Qualify your candidates
In a typical interview, you tick through a list of generic questions. When you qualify a candidate, you go in-depth. We spend an average of an hour and half with each candidate we qualify. Our discussions reveal if the person:
- Matches your goals and values
- Has the skillset and mindset to succeed
Qualifying candidates heightens the likelihood that your vacancy is filled by someone who fits your culture and is hungry for success.
Spark Success and Create Your Ideal Team
When you look at the datasets about workplace diversity, a clear picture emerges: To attract top talent, increase profitability and outperform your peers, you need a diverse workforce. We’re here whenever you’re ready to build your ideal team. Call us today.