Encouraging diversity in business is undeniably an ethical imperative. But it is also an economic issue. Several studies have shown this. An organization is all the more successful when it has been able to diversify its recruitment. According to a Deloitte survey (2017), inclusive companies are :
– 2 times more likely to meet or exceed financial goals
– 6 times more likely to be innovative
– 6 times more likely to anticipate and respond effectively to change
– Achieve 30% higher than average revenue generated per employee
In short, diversity in the workplace – understanding, accepting and valuing the differences between people of different ethnicities, genders, ages, religions, disabilities and sexual orientations, as well as differences in personalities and skills – is a key factor for success. However, it remains largely ignored. Indeed, according to Deloitte, only 12% of companies have a real culture of inclusion.
The sooner, the better
Diversity does not magically become part of a company’s daily life. A certain number of processes need to be put in place and perpetuated. As is often the case, this starts as soon as employees are hired. For example:
- The corporate culture must be as inclusive as possible. This means, above all, a zero tolerance policy for discrimination and harassment.
- Make the selection criteria and recruitment process transparent. It must be clear that you are looking primarily for certain skills and experience, and that the selection criteria and process are the same for every candidate.
- Do not make exclusive and elitist education or experience a prerequisite. If you only consider candidates who have graduated from a prestigious school, you are mechanically rejecting dozens of people who are probably just as talented, but less privileged.
- You should explicitly state in the job description that you are an equal opportunity employer.
- It is also essential to banish gendered language in your application documents. The use of words traditionally associated with masculinity (e.g. “dominant”, “aggressive”) may discourage women and LGBTQ+ applicants from applying.
- Another option is to decide to remove personally identifiable information from submitted applications to reduce biais linked to age, gender, etc. There are specialized recruitment software programs that remove data such as candidates’ names and addresses to combat recruitment bias.
- Of course, it is also important to teach recruiters how to avoid bias. Train your recruiters to be more sensitive to diversity issues. Organize diversity training where your recruiters will learn how to avoid bias in recruitment.
- Broadcasting the ad through various and diversified channels in order to reach a wider range of targets is also a good way to go.
- It is highly desirable to include an interviewer from another department in the interview panel. They will thus participate in the recruitment process as a third party objective. By using a person who is not directly associated with the team recruiting for the position, the goal is to aim for an open, accurate and impartial assessment of the candidate. This is what the giant Amazon does to help eliminate hiring bias as much as possible.
The “small” structures too
However, the demand for diversity is not limited to large groups alone. Far from it. Some smaller structures are truly successful in this area.
This is notably the case of the global compensation consulting firm Normandin Beaudry. Based in Montreal, the 300-person ETI shows exemplary results in terms of inclusion, with women occupying 45% of the seats on the management committee and 80% of management positions in internal services. Today, Normandin Beaudry wants to extend inclusion to other genders, including transgender and non-binary people.
To do so, the company has created a “diversity and inclusion” committee. Its role will not be limited to hiring a more diverse workforce, but also to ensuring the well-being and integration of everyone within the company.
Clearly, diversity is essential for building a business of the future in tomorrow’s world. For us, having a true culture of diversity means creating a company where different generations, genders, formations, cultures and languages can work together and where everyone can bring their own unique point of view and skill set.
And you, where do you stand? Are you company of yesterday or of tomorrow?