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Five Diversity Mistakes You Might Be Making in the Workplace

Five Diversity Mistakes You Might Be Making in the Workplace

Workplace diversity is a hot topic in public, private and non-profit organizations in every industry. Professionals and activists from many different communities have led a charge to increase diversity across all positions from entry level to executive suite, and their voices have been heard by many organizations. Both big businesses and small, mom-and-pop shops have realized that diversity recruiting matters. The topic has become so important that industry experts have conducted many surveys on diversity and inclusion.

In a 2017 survey, 69 percent of executives said they considered diversity and inclusion an important workplace issue. An incredible 93 percent of small business owners reported that they actively try to recruit and hire diverse individuals. All of the attention on engaging a diverse workforce is great. Actually making the dream of true diversity and inclusion come true is a lot tougher than it sounds.

As a small business owner, hiring a diverse and competent team is likely one of your first priorities. A robust solution like Sprockets can help you meet those goals by completing accurate, bias-free assessments of job candidates. If you want to diversify, though, you need to look beyond the software and assessments you use to support recruiting. Take a hard look at your hiring practices, and see if you’re making any of these crucial diversity recruiting mistakes.


1. Avoiding the Topic of Diversity Recruiting with Managers

The biggest mistake you can make when it comes to diversity in the workplace is avoiding the topic. It should be brought up with those at your business who are responsible for hiring new employees. Diversity and inclusion are topics that you should tackle head-on. Set clear priorities for your company, and talk about how you can create a diverse workplace without exercising hiring bias. Getting everyone who participates in the hiring process on the same page is essential to meeting diversity benchmarks.


2. Making Unnecessary Education or Experience Demands

There are times when requiring many years of experience or an advanced degree is essential for a job position. However, there are also many instances where employers simply expect too much in terms of education or work experience. Requiring potential employees to hold an advanced degree or to have several years of work experience for an entry-level position is a sure way to defeat your diversity recruiting efforts.

The tendency to prioritize a certain number of years of experience for a position has a particularly negative impact on women. Many professional women step away from job duties to have kids and stay home with them until they’re in school. These women are often qualified for high-level positions in companies based on their education and prior job roles, but they can’t tick the number of years required box because they’ve been out of the workforce too long. Years of experience and education requirements can also have a negative hiring impact on younger workers. It also impacts candidates who have worked their way into an industry instead of going straight to college out of high school.


3. Lacking Transparency in the Hiring Process

It’s essential to have a clear hiring policy so that everyone who participates in the hiring process knows what to expect. If how your company hires isn’t clear, you’re leaving yourself open to accusations that you’re biased and don’t care about diversity. You can avoid these issues by making sure that hiring managers, current employees and job candidates understand the steps you take before bringing someone on board. Make sure that potential employees know that you use candidate screening and assessment tools to find the best person for every job regardless of gender or ethnicity.


4. Writing Exclusionary Job Postings

As you think about diversity, you have to think about the accessibility of your company culture. Having a diverse team when it comes to ethnicity and gender is great. However, individuals from different backgrounds may also struggle to communicate effectively. It’s essential to prioritize a company culture that encourages team members to discuss ideas openly. Building that culture isn’t possible if you don’t keep culture in mind during the hiring process.

Being inclusive means writing an inclusive job posting. Slang has become very popular in job postings. You’ve probably seen recruitment ads that use trendy terms such as “hacker” or “ninja”.  While individuals in a given industry might understand what these terms mean, they likely won’t apply to your job if they don’t think they fit the personality that you’re projecting. For example, a mom who’s been working from home as a software developer might not want to work for a company that uses edgy language to try to recruit her.

Using neutral language in job postings is essential. Remember that you’re not sorting candidates for cultural fit based on how they respond to your job description. You’ll have an opportunity to weigh overall fit through your candidate assessment system later in the hiring process.


5. Allowing Team or Job-Role Segregation

Imagine you’re hiring four individuals to fill an entryway greeter position at your store. You interview candidates from different age and racial groups, but you hire only older adults to serve as greeters. This might seem like a harmless approach to hiring. However, segregating individuals from under-represented groups into certain job roles or onto certain teams is a big diversity no-no.

One smart way to combat unconscious bias is to use an artificial intelligence-backed candidate screening system to assess potential hires and improve your diversity recruiting. A well-designed applicant matching system offers one of the easiest ways to eliminate unintentional bias in the hiring process. Instead of placing a candidate in a position based on what you perceive their attributes to be, a candidate screening system will help you place candidates in job positions where they’re likely to excel. This is a win-win because it eliminates accusations of hiring bias. Plus, it identifies candidates you might have overlooked otherwise.

Building a diverse workforce might seem daunting. However, doing the hard work of eliminating hiring mistakes and putting an inclusion-minded culture in place has serious returns. Ensuring diversity at the highest level of an organization is actually associated with significantly higher returns on equity over organizations that lack diversity in the C suite. Diversity also helps firms capture new markets, especially outside of the U.S. There’s no doubt that the time and capital you invest in smart diversity hiring solutions today can have an impressive ROI.



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