Diversity and inclusion (D&I) aren’t just corporate buzzwords anymore – they are not only socially responsible initiatives, but they are also critical for organizational success.
True application of diversity and inclusion in the workplace has been proven to boost business outcomes. When a company commits to diversity and inclusion t sets itself up for a stronger bottom line. In fact, businesses with a diverse workforce are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above industry medians.
Today, the vast majority of organizations do understand the value of diversity and inclusion, but many struggle to achieve it. What are the biggest challenges companies face in making diversity and inclusion successful, and how can those challenges be overcome?
Diversity and Inclusion, Defined
First and foremost, it is important to understand what is meant by “diversity and inclusion.” Diversity refers to the differences between us as human beings, both visible and not visible. These factors can include things like race, ethnicity, gender identification, age, socioeconomic background, personal values, personal experience, religion, nationality, etc.
Inclusion centers around cultivating a collaborative and supportive environment where individuals feel valued and respected and where they believe they can contribute positively to the bottom line. Inclusive companies cultivate workplaces where every employee from the entry-level to the C-Suite feels as though they can do their best work.
To illustrate the difference simply, diversity is inviting people to the dance. Inclusion is asking them to dance. I cannot emphasize how impactful this statement is, diversity and inclusion goes above and beyond simply looking for a “certain” individual. Every person regardless of race, age, religion, brings added value to a company. In my role I can say one of my best moments are when I have the pleasure of working with someone who has had difficulties finding a role and being able to represent them beyond a resume looking for ‘buzzwords’.
Common D&I Challenges
If diversity and inclusion were easy to achieve, every company would be successful at developing a workforce that reflects the community and the country at large. There are some common roadblocks that organizations face when attempting to improve D&I.
How to get a Diverse Applicant Pool?
One of the biggest challenges is something companies can’t necessarily control, and that is a homogenous applicant pool. Companies can do all the right things and still receive applications from people who look alike, have the same values and come from similar backgrounds. This is especially true in areas like STEM fields, high finance and venture capital, for example. In niches like these, colleges are not churning out a high percentage of diverse graduates, making it difficult for companies to recruit fresh, diverse talent.
Working with an executive recruiting firm like Lucas Group can help companies uncover a more diverse applicant pool. We are committed to helping businesses expand their reach, deepen their talent pool and access the best and the brightest and those who will be poised to make a positive impact on the bottom line.
When you partner with Lucas Group for any hiring needs the critical aspect is to know we work one on one with our candidates and know why they are the best individual for your role due to the relationship we have built.
Other challenges are within the organization’s control, however. One of the biggest barriers to recruiting success, especially in diversity recruiting, are rigid requirements. While a company should never compromise on the level of talent they recruit and hire, they can open up the door to more diversity when they are honest about the traits and qualifications that are “must-haves.”
A company may, for example, say they want a candidate with an engineering degree. But that creates limitations in the recruiting process and can shut out people with physics degrees who have years of successful experience or someone who was an engineer in the military but lacks that degree. Re-thinking requirements isn’t about lowering the bar. Instead, it’s about setting a bar but keeping an open mind about what it takes for a candidate to be over that bar. Instead of a wish list of requirements, companies should focus on the skills that are truly and realistically required, which can instantly open the door to a much deeper and more diverse talent pool.
One big challenge with companies of course need and want top talent. While this is what we source and provide there can be a candidate that would be an ideal fit for culture and development but doesn’t “meet” the rigid list of must haves. If we are open to presenting an employee we know and have worked with we know this is an individual that is capable of the role if given the opportunity if only to interview.
Are You Ready to Improve Diversity Recruiting?
If you are looking to deepen your talent pool and access a more diverse set of candidates for your critical leadership roles, contact Lucas Group today. We look forward to helping you maintain a competitive edge through a diverse workplace and inclusive culture.