How to recruit and retain a diverse staff

Written by: Noah Rue
Originally published on August 15, 2019. Last updated August 27, 2020.

This article was originally published on Small Biz Daily

Diversity in hiring is a huge competitive advantage today. Research has consistently shown that a diverse workforce is more productive, innovative, and drives higher levels of employee engagement.

In fact, Dr. John Sullivan, in an article featured on TLNT, cites a study that shows that every added percent of diversity in hiring can result in a 9% increase in sales revenue. In this way, diverse talent can deeply impact business results. Recruiting and retaining a diverse staff may come with its own set of challenges, but the results are well worth the effort.

Here are some tips and tricks to attract and retain a diverse workforce.

Offer Unique and Relevant Perks

Obviously, compensation is a very important aspect of employee retention. However, as we’ve mentioned in a previous article, “the focus shouldn’t just be about money.” Offering unique work perks can help attract and retain diverse talent. From a thorough insurance package, planned retirement options to free gym memberships and nap rooms, there is a wealth of benefits you can offer employees to boost retention.

Remote working options have also been shown to boost productivity and increase job satisfaction. For diverse employees, remote working has many advantages. For example, the ability to work remotely can be greatly beneficial to a Muslim employee during Ramadan. During this time of fasting, the employee will be able to work from home so as to not expend energy; and subsequently, be home to break the fast with his or her family. Thus, offering workplace flexibility can allow them to effectively balance their personal and professional lives without having to sacrifice rituals and traditions.

Other perks targeting diverse employees could include recognizing and planning around causes, festivals, and events of importance to these employees — such as a sponsored Diwali lunch, or celebrating Pride at work. This is a great way to keep employees engaged, show that they are well cared-for, and foster a sense of loyalty.

Create An Inclusive Culture

A strong company culture — one that is open and inclusive — is crucial to maintaining the diversity of your workforce. If employees don’t feel like they can be themselves at their place of work, they’re more likely to leave. Creating an inclusive workspace can help promote a sense of belonging, where employees feel comfortable enough to be genuine. Thus, organizational leaders should be trained to create an inclusive environment. To quote Holli Martinez, Head of Diversity and Inclusion for T-Mobile, from an article on Forbes, “When you can be you and bring your full, authentic self to work, we all benefit — our company, our business, our communities, and our customers.”

Branding too plays an important part in fostering an inclusive work culture. As stated by experts at Jobvite, “Ultimately, you’ll want candidates to ‘see themselves’ in your company. If you’re starting to make your company more diverse, you’ll want everyone — namely, customers and prospective hires — to know it.”

To do so, you might have to alter your brand image. Branding should reflect the image your company wants to portray in the future — the image of an inclusive, welcoming workforce — rather than focusing on its current image. When considering branding and rebranding, be sure to take the opinion of your current employees into consideration. Remember that company branding and image are key in the recruitment and retention of diverse employees.

Treat Diverse Employees as Individuals

One of the biggest mistakes a company can make when it comes to hiring and retaining diverse talent is grouping all diverse employees together. Sullivan continues: “If you expect to reduce turnover, you can’t treat all diversity employees as a homogeneous group. But you also cannot treat all employees of any single diversity group (i.e. race, national origin, gender, religion, etc.) as if they all share the same reasons for staying and leaving the firm. Although it is more difficult to execute, you simply must treat all diverse employees as individuals."

One tactic is to be proactive with personalized retention plans. Rather than using “broad-brush” retention strategies, you should focus and identify each employee’s personal reasons for staying, and the frustrations that might cause them to leave. Regularly scheduling “stay interviews” as well as planning relevant opportunities for growth as part of the personalized plans can be helpful.

A diverse workforce is an essential component of any business. It is only through diverse hiring that workplaces can become more inclusive, and thus equitable. Use these tips to recruit and retain a diverse staff for your company.

Originally published on August 15, 2019. Last updated August 27, 2020.


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