Diverse workers bring different viewpoints, ideas, and talents to the workforce, which drives innovation and breaks down cultural barriers between workers. The most gender diverse companies are 15 percent more likely to outperform the least gender diverse companies, according to McKinsey Company. For ethnically diverse companies, that number is 35 percent.
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While the benefits of building a diverse workforce may be obvious, the methods for creating such workforces aren't always so clear.
Build a Diverse Candidate Pool by Advertising on Diverse Job Sites
If recruiters only post job openings on one or two jobs sites, they're going to reach the same kinds of applicants for every position. Corporate diversity initiatives must begin with diverse applicant pools, so it's important that job postings reach diverse audiences. Who a job ad reaches depends in large part on where it's posted.
For example, Craigslist attracts the most Latino applicants, Indeed attracts the most African-American applicants, LinkedIn attracts the most Asian applicants, and ZipRecruiter and Glassdoor attract the most Caucasian applicants, according to research conducted by hiring automation platform HireMojo in conjunction with the Northern California Human Resources Association.
As the old saying goes, you shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket (if you want diverse applicants).
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"Once a job is launched, diverse candidates need to know about the job," says John Younger, CEO of HireMojo. "While this sounds obvious, many job marketing efforts are far too narrow. It's easy to be seduced by one or two well-funded sites and social networks that claim they are the only candidate outreach that's needed."
Exacerbating the issue, HR departments tend to allocate large portions of their budgets to the same few sites, which restricts job advertisements to the same audiences over and over again.
"In reality, there is no single magic place to promote your jobs to attract more diverse candidates, and the field of sources is really crowded," Younger says. "We've found, as shown by our research, that many sites and direct outreach are needed to ensure the most diverse pool."
Not only do many organizations keep to the same job sites time and time again, but they also often avoid the very sites that would diversify their applicant pools. For example, Craigslist reaches a very diverse audience, but few reputable companies promote their openings on the site.
"One valid reason for not including Craigslist [in your recruitment advertising] is that the sheer number of applicants may become overwhelming," Younger says. "That's why having a way to easily identify the people with the talent to succeed in the job must be incorporated into the overall approach. Having appropriate screening questions will also impact the effectiveness of your diversity initiative."
It's Not Just Where You Advertise – What You Say Matters, Too
Aside from where a job is advertised, the language used to advertise the job can also affect the makeup of the applicant pool. According to Younger, organizations looking for more diverse applicants should start by reassessing their job descriptions.
"Too often, the descriptions are either generic or outright uninviting," Younger says. "Do the company's descriptions convey openness and a genuine desire for diversity? Using keywords at the bottom of job descriptions, for example, can also convey a great deal about the organization's personality and attitudes to attract more diverse candidates."
Your company's brand image can also be key to attracting a diverse candidate base. If your business is known on social media, in the press, and by word-of-mouth as a workplace that fosters diversity, some candidates may seek you out on their own.
Finally, executives need to ensure the right tone is being set for the organization when it comes to diversity in the workplace.
"People may not always believe what someone says, but almost always believe what a person does," Younger says. "Diversity awareness and training across the company can send a strong statement that [diversity] is important. Additionally, when someone demonstrates harmful gender or race stereotypes within the workplace, [executives should] act quickly and decisively."