Contrary to some opinions, having people around you who think differently than you is extremely important for you to grow and become a better person. People who don't nod their heads to whatever you say and instead bring interesting counterarguments to your opinions can help you change your perspective, which is crucial for change and thus growth and success. Extrapolating this to a broader discernment, employing a diverse workforce is essential for a business to thrive.
A diverse workforce is important to any business since it accounts for the individual strengths of each employee and the values they bring to the table. Recognizing differences of opinions ultimately brings people together and acts as the secret to a successful, thriving workplace. This also establishes a fair work culture and an inclusive workplace because everybody is given equal chances of contributing to the growth of a company.
The Increasing Need to Have a Remote Workforce
We all know about the massive job market change that the COVID-19 pandemic brought about, practically forcing a work-from-home culture globally. Before the advent of the pandemic, only a select few big companies offered the provision of working from home as a perk, but it has now become the norm for almost all businesses. According to a survey, the percentage of workers permanently working from home was expected to double in 2021. And it makes sense because quarantines and lockdowns have pushed millions around the world to stay inside four walls.
Some big tech companies are planning to introduce a new indefinite work-from-home culture as well. Over two-thirds of companies, according to another survey, plan to permanently make their employees work remotely even after the pandemic ends. For example, Twitter, in May, asked its employees to work from home indefinitely. Square, also led by Twitter's Jack Dorsey, adopted a similar policy and will also now allow employees to work from home indefinitely, even after lockdowns end and offices reopen. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, also told employees in late May that many would work remotely indefinitely.
This shows us that there is an increasing need to have a remote workforce and businesses need to come up with new strategies for their recruitment processes. The focus needs to shift from geographical restrictions to hiring a skilled and diverse workforce that leads to an inclusive workplace. We cover strategic hiring in the end, so read on.
What Is Diversity and Why Is It Important?
To know more about how you can hire a diverse workforce and have a more inclusive workplace, it is crucial to know what diversity means. There is a general misconception of a diversified workplace meaning to be a working environment that includes employees of only different genders, ethnicities, and racial backgrounds. Yes, this is true, but there is much more to the meaning of a diverse workforce. Diversity, in a broader sense of the term, includes a lot of categories in the workplace context:
- Cultural background
- Sexual orientation
- Physical Condition
- Educational background
- Country of origin
- Skills and abilities
There are a lot of advantages to having a diverse workforce including increased creativity, innovation, and productivity to name just a few. Like-minded people who think similarly will limit the expansion and brainstorming of ideas when compared to divergent people who think out of the box while working together, thereby increasing creativity.
A diverse workplace encourages inclusion and makes employees feel valued and accepted, ultimately making them happy. And happy employees stay with a company for longer, thereby reducing employee turnover. There is also an added advantage of a potential bigger target consumer market that could increase company revenue as well.
Embracing diversity and working together can not only help your business thrive but also help the employees develop interpersonal and soft skills that are equally important when compared to technical skills, if not more. We have seen what exactly a diverse workforce means, why it is important, and how the new work-from-home culture is the perfect opportunity to hire a diverse workforce and have an inclusive workplace. This brings us to some strategies that a business should follow to hire a diverse workforce.
Strategic Steps to Have an Inclusive Workplace
Here are some quick tips to enhance the process of implementing a diverse workforce within an inclusive workplace:
Integrate Diversity and Inclusivity into Your Core Values
For every employee to bring their best work to the table, a sense of belonging must first be established. This would be easy if your company is known to have the core values like diversity, inclusivity, and respect for all employees. Introducing new core values might make it difficult for employees to get accustomed to, so focusing on such values while founding the business is ideal.
Reservation Quotas Do Not Automate Inclusivity
Reservation quotas may boost the diverse workforce numbers, but they do not guarantee an inclusive workplace. To retain an inclusive workplace, you need to make sure that the end-to-end employee experiences are exceptional. Creating an environment that promotes inclusivity daily, from hiring and onboarding to office behavior, helps you have an inclusive workplace. Making sure everyone gets their chance to make it to important meetings and presentations, ensuring everybody gets to speak at their turn, valuing all the important religious holidays, using gender-inclusive pronouns, etc., are some examples of an inclusive workplace.
Empathetic Leadership with One-on-One Check-ins
Every individual leader should emotionally be well-connected with their employees. Being empathetic with employees or remembering a time they may have been excluded or shamed really helps promote inclusivity at the workplace.
Having one-on-one check-ins with employees shouldn’t just be about giving and receiving feedback but also about building trust. Asking the employees about the work environment and if they feel like they belong, from time to time, can yield fantastic results.
Considerate Spaces for Employees
A lot of companies are jumping on the bandwagon to create considerate and safe spaces for their employees. Creating gender-neutral restrooms, lactation rooms for mothers, quiet work spaces for people who get easily distracted, custom-made desks for people with disabilities, or even prayer or meditation spaces go a long way in showing that you, as a company, care for your employees’ needs. This also helps create an inclusive workplace.
Bridge Pay Gaps
People are undoubtedly paid based on their gender. Yes, the difference has shrunk over the years, but according to statistics, in 2021, a woman earned only 82 cents for every dollar earned by a man having the same job and qualifications. If your company strives to have an inclusive workplace, every action should point to that. People should be paid based on their performances and qualifications for a job, and those should be the only criteria they are judged on.
Remove All Biases
Remove all biases right from the hiring process to workplace environments and promotions. Look for people who are right for the job roles, not for the ones you like the most. Companies need policies, procedures, and training to incorporate inclusivity within the workplace. Not a one-off training about diversity and inclusivity, but ongoing follow-ups to make sure the diverse workforce is feeling inclusive.
Think Before You Leap
Before taking an action, think about the consequences and repercussions on the well-being of your employees. This could be as small as writing an email to as big as signing huge contracts. Make sure you are inclusive in your thoughts as well as deeds. Ultimately, what you think, you do.
Strategic Hiring Tips
Blind hiring is when you remove the candidate’s name from their resume and conduct blind interviews. This helps reduce certain unconscious biases people have of the candidate’s race and gender. Some companies even remove people’s graduation years, ages, and addresses to judge them purely based on their skills. Using cutting-edge technology to anonymize people’s voices or faces during interviews certainly helps reduce biases.
Expand Advertising and Be Diverse
Expanding your advertising without geographical or other restrictions will help you be more diverse while hiring. Use print-ads, virtual fairs, and boot camps, apart from social media advertising to attract a diverse population. Stand by your values and make sure to be diverse while advertising; it instills trust in people.
Offer Diverse and Inclusive Workplace Policies
People value a company culture that emphasizes good work/life balance and flexible work hours. Offer flexibility to employees by giving them work-from-home options and flexible hours. This helps you attract more diverse candidates, and also prevents expensive employee turnover.
We now hope that you have learned everything you need to know about the importance of hiring a diverse workforce and maintaining an inclusive workplace. Make sure to follow the aforementioned tips and you will have a thriving business in no time!
About the Author: Umesh Uttamchandani Co-Founder, Chief Growth Officer. DevX Accelerator An active investor and mentor for start-ups; Umesh is a Strategic Thinker with a flair for Corporate Innovation and Sales. With about 10 years of experience in the IT and Real Estate Industry; Umesh is a cut above when it comes to critical thinking, team communication, strategic marketing and business growth consultation. After excelling at various skills, Umesh’s primary focus now is to build meaningful relationships and uplift innovative start-up ventures in the domain of SaaS, Mobility, Cloud Kitchen, Media-Tech and Lending.