1. In The Know

How to Lead the Charge in Corporate Diversity

  • January 18, 2018
diversity charge

As the world navigates through a highly divisive political climate, a spotlight has been shown upon the importance of diversity in our corporate landscape. Because of this, we regularly see companies being slammed in the news for their inability to meet key diversity metrics. They’re feeling pressure from both stakeholders and talent communities alike to meet ever-more stringent diversity targets.

This dynamic shift is revealing an opportunity for companies across the globe to take a closer look at their diversity initiatives. In order for organizations to keep pace in this increasingly diverse world of work, a new focus, clarity, and dialogue must be had around corporate diversity goals.

What is Corporate Diversity?

Defining corporate diversity is complicated, as it can mean something different to each individual organization. In essence, however, diversity is all about maximizing the variety in your workforce by hiring a wide range of people with different skill sets, backgrounds, and more. While qualities such as gender and ethnicity are often key diversity targets, variety can come from a number of different personal qualities—things like languages spoken, nationality, or socioeconomic status. Organizations need to coordinate a highly organized effort that’s based on current data, enforced by senior management, and driven by a vision that’s both clear and realistic in order to accomplish their diversity goals.

Why Diversify?

Diversity of perspectives, experiences, cultures, genders, age, and more is critical for an organization’s ability to grow and prosper. Why? Because diversity breeds innovation—and innovation breeds business success.

In fact, research from McKinsey shows that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their peers. Ethnically-diverse companies are 35% more likely to do the same. Further, companies with greater corporate diversity are proven to be:

  • 1.8 times more likely to be change-ready and 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market
  • 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee over a three-year period
  • 3.8 times more likely to be able to coach people for improved performance, 3.6 times more able to deal with personnel performance problems, and 2.9 times more likely to identify and build leaders

A diverse workforce can yield a number benefits to the bottom line. For example, with greater talent diversity, an organization can better understand the needs and desires of a wider range of populations. This, in turn, allows the organization to expand their services and tailor their marketing efforts in a way that will reach a wider customer base, leading to potentially more sales and directly impacting their bottom line.

Diversity Hiring How-To

While it’s certainly a step in the right direction, simply including an equal opportunity statement on your job descriptions will not yield the diversity results you likely seek. But how exactly can your talent acquisition team build a more diverse workforce? Here’s a quick overview of MSH’s top diversity best practices.

Step 1: Assess & Benchmark

The first step in improving corporate diversity is to identify where your organization currently stands when it comes to diversity. Once you have a clear perspective of your current corporate diversity, you can then compare it to where you want to be. The key question is this: “what does good look like?”

To answer this question, you must know the industry standards, your hiring patterns and preferences, as well as what the competition is doing—information that’s gathered through general research, anonymous surveys, and third-party assessments. This data then generates a benchmark that can be used to create a gap analysis, which will ultimately illustrate where your company is successful and where there’s room for improvement.

You might also consider assessing your employer brand. This will help to shed light on the audience(s) your brand currently appeals to and reveal recommendations to better position your company for attracting a diverse pool of candidates. 

Step 2: Establish Agnostic Processes

To maximize diversity, all recruiters should be trained in unbiased profiling, efficient hiring techniques, and inclusion initiatives. These trainings will enable your hiring team to attain talent from across the world without focusing on race, age, sex, nationality, or education.

By offering unconscious bias training and development to recruiters, your company can create an awareness of potential biases and develop checks to control that behavior. Teaching interview techniques such as the STAR methodology can help create consistency among all applicants, and level the playing field. Neutral job descriptions can also go a long way in building a pipeline of diverse candidates. 

You might also consider establishing a recruitment process that involves blind candidate submissions to facilitate unbiased prescreening. Or, if you’re actively seeking to improve a specific diversity metric, you might ask recruiters to put fourth the best diversity candidates, or highlight those who match diversity criteria when handing off top candidates to hiring managers.

Step 3: Target & Track

Select targeting allows your company to identify and focus on the specific diverse qualities that you are missing. This is done by finding specialists across the world that match both your criteria and business culture.

Whether you’re handling recruitment internally or using a third party, it’s important to ensure that recruiters track, report, and analyze all candidates they speak with to help your organization capitalize on the most dynamic individuals in their field. Some information you might consider tracking to better understand candidate capabilities include:

  • Location – Where do they currently live and where do they work?
  • Education – University, diplomas, certificates, specialization, etc.
  • Languages – Mother tongue, fluent, proficient, beginner, etc.
  • Nationality – Where were they originally from?
  • Citizenship(s) – Do they have multiple citizenships?
  • Relocation/Travel – Are they open to traveling or relocating?
  • Years of Experience
  • Job History
  • Gender
  • Current Job Title
  • Civil Status
  • Age

MSH: Practicing What We Preach

At MSH, we take diversity seriously. We are a proud member of the National Diversity Board and pride ourselves in recruiting top talent from around the world. We believe a diverse environment is crucial for creating internal innovation and business growth.

The Time to Take Action on Diversity is Now

As diversity continues to become more of a focus in the talent acquisition space, it means competition for candidates will increase. There’s no better time to integrate a focus on diversity into your talent strategy.

In reality, if you’re not leading the charge when it comes to corporate diversity in your industry, you can bet your competition is.

To learn more about corporate diversity hiring best practices, and how your organization can get started implementing best-in-class diversity hiring techniques, schedule a consultation with MSH today.

MSH is an industry-leading talent solutions firm, providing strategic talent acquisition and consulting services to organizations around the world. Established in 2011, MSH aligns people, processes, and technology with overall business objectives.

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