Global spending on diversity and inclusion is predicted to hit $15.4 billion by 2026. This was revealed in a recent report by Global Industry Analysts Inc as major tech giants all commit to diversity as a priority. A good example was Intel’s announcement that they plan to spend $300 million to support diversity and inclusion in their organization. Recruitment organization Glass door also estimates that 35 percent of recruiting professionals plan on spending more on diversity and inclusion than they have before. The drive to spend more and do more when it comes to creating a more inclusive workforce is not unwarranted either- multiple studies have shown the effect that a diverse workplace can have in creating more successful and stronger businesses. However, it is not just about setting aside a budget for diversity and inclusion in your workplace. The success of such an initiative comes down to the implementation of a business’ strategies, and its approach to getting diversity right.
Acknowledge The Unconscious Bias
To be an inclusive workplace, businesses must sometimes ask and answer uncomfortable questions- the ones that the community and other businesses often shy away from. This includes acknowledging both the conscious and unconscious biases that may exist in the workplace. While the common misconception is to avoid talking about the differences and biases that may exist in (and out of) the workplace; speaking openly about those differences can foster healthy conversations. It also presents openings to recognize and address learning opportunities for employees and managers alike. For instance, presenting an employee seminar to educate them on how unconscious bias can affect people. By making people more aware of when these instances of unconscious bias occur, businesses can then work to remove them.
Design and Review Your Recruitment Process
A company’s inclusivity efforts begin well before an employee starts their first day. A stunning 80 percent of jobs are not posted online but instead filled through recommendations or internal hires. While this can be encouraging for your current employee, it can also present challenges in creating a diverse and balanced workforce. There is also mounting research that identifies the existence of bias in the recruitment process. For instance, an article published in the American Economic Association found that candidates with Caucasian-sounding names like Emily were 50 percent more likely to get a call back for an interview compared to those candidates with a black-sounding name like Jamal.
Diversity is becoming much more of a consideration to job seekers today. Almost 7 in 10 job seekers admit that diversity plays a role in their decision. Therefore, if a business wants to attract the best talent it must incorporate good diversity and inclusion practices from the beginning of the recruitment stage. This can begin with auditing and rewriting your job descriptions to be more inclusive or widening your talent pool to cover all groups of applicants. Recruitment managers must also consider the provisions they have in place for interviewing and hiring candidates. For instance, asking candidates if they would require any reasonable adjustments at the interview is a good start. Businesses can also dedicate a percentage of their budget to making the workplace’s design inclusive for all. A good starting reference is the Americans with Disabilities Act and Amendments Act of 2008 which sets out basic requirements for the workplace such as a minimum of 32 inches of clearance for doors and tables that are no lower than 27 inches. These requirements also extend to the outdoors as well, where workplaces should strive to create a welcoming outdoor environment that is both comfortable and traversable.
Ask Your Workforce
Your employees and prospective employees are the best guides on what you can be doing better to encourage diversity and inclusivity in your workplace. Making it possible (and confidential) for your employees to voice their opinions on where you can improve is critical to making sure every employee feels seen, heard, and valued. The key here is to create a welcoming and non-judgmental space for employees to voice their concerns and honest opinions. Encouraging workers to speak up when they feel their culture, beliefs or contributions are not being recognized can go a long way in continuously improving your diversity efforts as a business.
It is important to recognize that the work to create a diverse and inclusive workplace does not stop. It is a continuous loop that requires regular review, adjustments, and a corresponding budget. As your workplace and its demographics evolve, so should your diversity tactics.