Diversity and inclusion has been a hot HR topic for decades, but the social unrest of 2020 has shined an even brighter spotlight on the need for companies to cultivate a culture that is reflective of our greater American society.
While diversity and inclusion have become something of a social justice rallying cry, they are no buzzwords. The fact is that a diverse and inclusive workplace yields better organizational outcomes. Moving towards and maintaining a diverse workplace and inclusive culture is something every organization should strive for because it is simply the right thing to do, and when it is prioritized from the top-down, can significantly boost the bottom line.
“What is the meaning of diversity and inclusion?”
Diversity and inclusion cannot be achieved without first coming to an internal consensus on the definition of those terms. For this purpose, we will define diversity and inclusion as follows:
Diversity: Understanding, accepting and valuing the differences between people, both seen and unseen. This includes race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, personality, age, skill sets, experiences and backgrounds.
Inclusion: Cultivating a collaborative, supportive environment where individuals feel respected and valued for their contributions. Inclusive workplaces allow staff members from the entry-level to the C-Suite to feel inspired to do their best work and understand how that work impacts organizational goals.
Lucas Group’s Carl White puts it simply. “Diversity is inviting people to the dance. Inclusion is asking them to dance,” he says. When they work together, diversity and inclusion positively impact an organization’s mission, vision, recruitment strategy and business strategy.
Diversity Recruiting That Facilitates Goals
It is important to note that companies attempting to improve D&I simply to check a box or land a government contract are typically unsuccessful in their efforts. As with any cultural shift in an organization, the motivation must be genuine rather than forced. Employees, candidates and customers are savvy enough to know when a business is paying lip service to diversity and inclusion, and if they feel they are being fed a line, they will look elsewhere.
Therefore, once a company has defined these terms, it’s important to understand how diversity and inclusion fit into the company culture and long-term strategic goals. Ask questions like: What do you want to achieve by attracting a more diverse candidate pool? How will you become a more inclusive workplace?
These are not always easy questions to answer, and the conversations can be challenging. However, working through those difficult conversations will yield positive results.
The Ways Diversity Recruiting Strategies Improve Outcomes
The reason why companies trying to check a box do not succeed with diversity and inclusion recruitment is simple: checking that box is not the same thing as leadership buy-in. This is something that Lucas Group’s Carl White works closely with his clients to understand.
“When you have C-level buy-in, it really makes the difference,” he says. “When the CEO or an SVP says, ‘this is the way we are going to go, this is the right thing for our company,’ it gives confidence to recruiters, to directors and managers, and to candidates.” White adds that senior-level buy-in, “helps directors and managers to also buy in. When they feel like it’s a directive, they don’t – it becomes a corporate task,” rather than part of a cultural evolution.
White also points out that diversity recruiting isn’t just about checking boxes for races and ethnicities. Diversity is really about eliminating homogenous teams where groupthink can creep in and negatively impact decision-making.
Diverse teams are, of course, made up of people who do not look alike, but they also come from a variety of age groups, backgrounds, perspectives, work experiences, life experiences and educational experiences. “Think of it this way,” he says, “In a room full of Ivy League graduates, it sure doesn’t hurt to have some state school folks in there, as well.”
But how does all of this translate into bottom-line results? Companies that commit to diversity and inclusion recruitfor the right reasons boast significantly better outcomes than their competitors.
Businesses with a diverse workforce are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above industry medians.
Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
For every 10 percent increase in racial and ethnic diversity on the senior-executive team, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rise 0.8 percent.
Ethnically diverse leadership teams are 36 percent more likely to be profitable.
Companies with diverse management teams report innovation revenue 19 percentage points higher than their less diverse counterparts.
Companies in the top quartile for both gender and ethnic diversity are 12 percent more likely to outperform all other companies.
When teams bring different perspectives to the table, it opens the door for innovation. “The world is so complex, the more people you can bring in from different perspectives, the better you can attack business problems,” White says. “Those folks bring a different attitude, background, sets of data to the problems, making those problems easier to solve. The better you can solve problems in business, the more profitable you are.”
Why Diversity Matters For Recruiting
Diversity and inclusion are also a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting talent. Given the massive shift in attitudes over the last year, talent are demanding that companies reflect the greater population at all levels.
67 percent of job seekers said a diverse workforce is important when considering job offers.
57 percent of employees think their companies should be more diverse.
Companies that are prioritizing young talent should also note that Generation Z will likely force change. They, more than any other generation prior, value diversity and will not hesitate to vocalize those values. If these young candidates don’t see people of diverse backgrounds at all levels of the company, they will lose interest in the role. They may even take to social media or review sites to express their concern.
This presents a challenge in a company’s quest to achieve its diversity and inclusion recruiting goals. It’s hard to attract diverse talent if your company isn’t already diverse and inclusive. You can start working towards your goals by developing a process that includes:
Creating a diversity and inclusion recruiting strategy at the C-Level
Incorporating diversity strategies into recruitment, performance management, training and leadership.
Creating a scorecard to measure progress for recruiting, promotion rates, compensation and turnover.
Holding leaders, directors and managers equally and consistently accountable for results.
Developing and implementing a diversity recruiting strategy that yields results can take years. If you want fast access to a more diverse candidate pool while you work to improve your internal processes and culture, partner with Lucas Group, a top diversity recruitment agency.
Diversity and Inclusion Can Improve Retention
The strongest diversity and inclusion strategy won’t matter if your company struggles with turnover, especially among high-performers, managers, directors or leaders. Diverse and inclusive workplaces tend to have healthier corporate cultures because everyone, at every level, feels valued and respected.
When people feel well-aligned with the organizational culture, they are far less likely to search out greener pastures in the market. They are more engaged in their work, and they are happier overall. In fact, employees can actually perform better in diverse environments. Research shows that in diverse workplaces, employees are more likely to achieve their full potential and to tap into “hidden” qualities that their managers – and they themselves – didn’t even know they possessed.
Are You Ready to Improve Diversity Recruiting?
Achieving diversity recruitment goals and facilitating an inclusive workplace can be a long process. If you’ve committed your organization to diversity and inclusion, Lucas Group can help you develop recruitment strategies that will yield more diverse applicants and help you find the right people for critical professional and leadership roles. Contact Lucas Group today to learn more about overcoming your diversity and inclusion recruitment challenges.