The Benefits of Hiring for Diversity

What do you think of when you read the phrase, the benefits of hiring for diversity? To some it brings to mind having to meet quotas. It may also carry with it the concern of filling a job with someone whose race, culture, social perspective, religion, age, gender, or physical capabilities fit the bill but whose qualifications or experience fall short. But it could also mean hiring a misfit!

Redefining “Fit”

Finding the right fit is, of course, the desired result of your hiring process. But what if “fit” doesn’t mean hiring someone who is the same as members of your existing staff, suggests Harvard University? What if “the concept of ‘fit’ might be better understood by thinking of a jigsaw puzzle, where the pieces mesh together but where each piece is unique and contributes something that is otherwise missing?”

Finding the Right Candidate

We always suggest screening candidates for three areas: character, competency, and culture. One could make the case for adding diversity as well. When vetted properly, the right person for your job may just be the diverse person, asserts Lesley Kim Grossblatt, COO at the Boardlist.

Outperforming with Diversity

To prove her point, Grossblatt cites one study where ethnically diverse companies were 35% more likely to outperform their industry counterparts. In another, companies with more than 15% of women in senior management had 14.7% Return on Equity as opposed to those with less than 10% of female senior managers who had only 9.7%. Hiring candidates for a big university name on their resume, asserts Grossblatt, is less effective than hiring for diversity.

Bringing Fresh Perspectives

Remember our post, Why You May Need to Hire a Nonconformist? In a stale or negative environment, a newly hired maverick can really shake things up and get the company moving in a healthier direction. Hiring for diversity has a similar premise, according to Harvard. As humans, we can get ourselves into a rut when we all have the same narrow range of experiences. But people with different backgrounds and perspectives contribute an assortment of ideas, knowledge, and modes for accomplishing goals to the organization. Diverse people can introduce multiple approaches to the decision making process, leading to innovation and growth.

Hiring for Company Culture

That’s not to say you should disregard your company culture when hiring, as we’ve often discussed. It would be unwise to hire someone strictly on the basis of diversity, hoping he or she will bravely jump into the mix and automatically feel welcome and comfortable. Screening candidates for that diverse someone who fits with your company culture is extremely important in order for him or her to want to stay on. You may also  “need to take a more active role in helping them adjust to the culture at work as well as in their new communities” if your company is in a less diverse region, cautions the Wall Street Journal. Here are a few of WSJ’s tips:

Finding Diverse Candidates

  1. Develop a hiring strategy to make your workforce resemble the community in which you operate.
  2. Ask current employees for referrals. Tap into community organizations to help find candidates.
  3. Provide your employees with diversity training.
  4. Be culturally sensitive in your job posting to attract a more diverse candidate pool.
  5. Help new employees start off well. Spend as much time retaining them as you did hiring them. (We recommend using an on-boarding tool such as Amtec’s Great Start Tool to assist you.)

Educate Your Employees

Help your managers understand the benefits of hiring for diversity since you’ll want them to support and implement the organization’s personnel policies, encourages WSJ. Educate all employees so they know that hiring decisions are made by finding the best candidate and not by meeting quotas. “The goal is to establish a meritorious hiring practice that is age, race, gender and minority neutral.”

If you need assistance hiring great people, let Amtec actively market your job opportunities, connect you to both active and passive job seekers, and lend a hand with negotiating offers to top candidates. Click here or call (714) 993-1900 to start your search.

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