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3 Strategic Methods For Improving Diversity In Your Workplace

by Daniel Herrera

Even though you recognize the importance of workplace diversity, in practice, it can be tough to achieve, especially in fields that are historically dominated by one gender or race. Even when you try to achieve diversity, it can seem as if not many minority candidates are attracted to your business in the first place. How can you drum up some new and more diverse talent for your workforce? You should take a close look at your job postings, your interview and application review practices, and your current employees for the answer. Here are a few strategies you can use to achieve a better racial and gender balance in your workplace.

Revise Your Job Postings

You may not realize it, but the wording that you use in your job postings may be enough to scare away minority job applicants. It's definitely going to be hard to achieve workplace diversity if minority candidates choose not to even apply. Studies have shown that qualified female applicants notice gendered language in job postings – even if it's unintentional, and even if you had no idea it was there. These language choices discourage women from applying to those job postings. It's possible that there are similar linguistic disparities that discourage other minority job candidates from applying as well.

How can you address this? One good way to solve the problem is by giving your current minority employees a crack at writing the job descriptions. So, if you need to recruit more women, put your female employees in charge of writing the job descriptions. They'll be more likely to use language that will speak to other women. Alternatively, you can hire a recruiting service that specializes in recruiting minority job candidates to compose your job postings.

Use Blind Screening Techniques

Sometimes the lack of diversity lies with your hiring practices. Many biases are unconscious, and your hiring managers may be unintentionally failing to fairly consider minority candidates. One study showed that resumes of candidates with traditionally white names got one callback for every 10 resumes they sent out. Resumes of candidates with traditionally African American names got one callback for every 15 resumes they sent out. Research also suggests that girls with feminine names may be steered away from certain subjects, like math and science, and it stands to reason that the same biases that contribute to that might also keep women with feminine names out of traditionally male dominated workplaces.

You can combat this problem by making your hiring process as blind as possible. Remove names and identifying information from resumes and applications before they go on to hiring managers. Conduct initial interviews by email or telephone instead of in-person when it's reasonable to do so. This can help prevent qualified minority candidates from being screened out due to inherent, unconscious biases. By the time the candidate and the hiring manager meet face to face, the candidate has already made an impression with his or her qualifications and skills at the initial interview.

Collect Data From Your Current Employees

Talented minority candidates will be more likely to take an interest in your company if you can show that you treat your current minority employees fairly. Show that you do by asking your current employees what they think about their treatment at the company. Survey results that show that your current minority employees are satisfied with their positions, feel they have equal opportunities for growth, and feel that they are treated well can be a helpful tool to use to impress future recruits.

If the survey results show something that you weren't expecting – for instance, that your minority employees feel limited in their chances of getting a promotion – take concrete steps to change that. Your future recruits will be interested in a company that cares enough about their employees to fix a problem once it's discovered.

Achieving diversity can be tricky, but with research and a dedicated effort, you can bring balance to your workplace. And once that's done, you'll be able to reap the benefits of a diverse, dynamic set of employees. For more information on how to increase the diversity of your workplace, check out a company like DiversityInc Best Practices.