Creating a diverse and inclusive culture isn’t about checking boxes to cover different backgrounds and disabilities. It’s about broadening your company’s range of perspectives, experiences, and opinions. Diverse populations help you understand and respond better as a business. Creating a truly inclusive culture demonstrates important values. Here are five tips to show you how.
To develop an inclusive workplace, your workforce needs to understand what that means. Rather than positioning an inclusive workforce as a challenge to meet, celebrate the perspective each person brings to your organization. Regularly communicate how everyone contributes to and benefits from a diverse and inclusive environment. Meet with underrepresented groups regularly to monitor their experiences and ensure they have a voice.
Finding a broad variety of people requires job descriptions that aren’t too narrow. As clearly as possible, define the job role and responsibilities, as well as the required skills and competencies. Then have someone from outside your company (and ideally from an underrepresented group) offer feedback before you post. They might notice company jargon or implicit bias that would limit a potential candidate’s understanding of or interest in the job.
Instead of feeling like people from different groups “don’t apply,” focus on how you might reach out to diverse populations more effectively. Besides recruitment websites, networking sites, and traditional publications, look at new and targeted ways you can advertise job openings. Consider options like social media channels, specialty job fairs and boot camps, different kinds of schools and universities, various membership associations, or new geographies.
Consider what the application and interview process looks like from candidates with varying perspectives. What are potential obstacles? What would make someone feel a sense of belonging? Do they need any accommodations? Be open and ask about needs. Create an application and interview environment that allows a candidate to be their best selves.
A few examples… Make online applications accessible to the visually impaired, arrange for an interpreter for a deaf candidate’s interview, include people with similar perspectives in the hiring process (more on that next!). Actions like these show your commitment to inclusivity
Involve a diverse group in each step of the hiring process described above. You’ll reduce bias and be less likely to conform to a mold. Don’t limit this group to Human Resources; involving people from different departments brings greater insight. You might even remove potential sources of bias by removing all personal information (name, school, dates, locations) from the decision and let the group short-list candidates for interview based on skills and experience only