Written By: Zeynep Ilgaz 11/06/15
The tech industry has developed the negative (but accurate) reputation of being a homogenous boys’ club. But fortunately, companies are beginning to make an effort to boost their diversity.
A 2012 CEB survey revealed that 77 percent of executives feel a strong support for diversity initiatives. But we still have a long way to go, as the same study showed that just 40 percent of employees feel like their organizations are truly diverse and inclusive.
To help steer things in the right direction, Google GOOGL -0.17% created a Diversity Core program and says it will devote $150 million this year toward broadening the diversity of its own workforce and the rest of the industry’s.
Your company may not have hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on diversity initiatives, so here are four easy steps any organization can take toward becoming a place that accepts and embraces diversity:
1. Understand the True Perks of Diversity
Diversity isn’t just a moral issue; there’s more to it than filling quotas and complying with affirmative action initiatives. From a business standpoint, diversity is all about building a dynamic team that incorporates different backgrounds and cultures. Ideally, your team members should represent your entire customer base.
Extensive research has been conducted on the business-related benefits of diversity. One study in particular focused on the perks of thought diversity and found that ethnically varied businesses reap the rewards of improved innovation, better decision-making, and a more effective utilization of their workforce. I would also argue that it breeds creativity, leads to sales growth, and improves employee retention.
2. Identify New Talent Pools
A huge step toward a more diverse workforce is a more creative recruitment strategy. Look beyond traditional hiring sources such as university programs and industry organizations, and search for more unique talent pools.
Have you ever considered hiring veterans? More and more veterans are heading for the U.S. job market. These candidates come with tremendous passion and discipline, and our nation as a whole needs to do a much better job of embracing them in the workforce.
3. Incorporate Diversity Beyond HR
Your diversity initiatives should extend far beyond the hiring process, and your HR department shouldn’t be the only people who enforce them. Your entire organization, from top to bottom, needs to develop this inclusive mindset. Make sure everyone is aware of the true benefits of diversity, and find ways to incorporate your initiatives into your professional development efforts, leadership training, and more.
Organizations that don’t take a companywide approach to diversity will have an awfully difficult time retaining whatever diversity they currently have.
4. Make Diversity a Part of Your Brand’s Identity
It’s not enough to simply state that you’re a diverse organization; actions speak much louder than words. Show everyone that your organization embraces differences by hiring a vibrant staff of different races, genders, nationalities, and backgrounds.
By the year 2050, there will no longer be a clear racial or ethnic majority in America. And over the next 40 years, immigrants and their children will account for 83 percent of our country’s workforce growth.
The general population is becoming more diverse, so why shouldn’t your business reflect that?
As a female immigrant from Turkey, this topic and trend hits close to home. Embracing diversity doesn’t just benefit me on a personal level, but it has also done wonders for my business. Take these four easy steps toward increasing your company’s innovation, employee retention, and overall bottom line.
Originally from Turkey, Zeynep Ilgaz and her husband immigrated to the United States with two suitcases, their love for each other, and a desire for entrepreneurship. They co-founded Confirm BioSciences and TestCountry in San Diego, and Ilgaz serves as president of both. Confirm BioSciences offers service-oriented testing technologies for drugs of abuse and health.
Source: Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/ellevate/2015/06/11/how-to-create-a-more-inclusive-workplace-for-your-diverse-employees/