A Diverse Workforce Is a Better Workforce

A Diverse Workforce Is a Better Workforce

It is imperative to learn how to effectively build and manage workplace diversity if companies want to leverage all its advantages.


Last month, Esha Sharma began job hunting with a fresh set of priorities. She desired to re-enter the workforce with a sense of purpose. After all, the pandemic taught her one clear lesson: choose a career that helps her attain her life's purpose rather than just meet her immediate hygiene and growth needs. Esha came across several organisations that were hiring with tall claims of diversity numbers. In fact, she received offers from three of them in just one week.


However, Esha was not satisfied with mere numbers. She was looking for a culture that truly valued diversity and inclusion. What better way to examine that aspect than to study leadership behaviours in those organisations? Esha investigated Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn, and several other social media platforms and discovered stark differences in the leadership priorities, as reflected in their open-house speeches, congratulatory messages to their colleagues, their business and strategic decisions, and so forth.


Esha represents Gen Y and Gen Z job seekers who are raising the bar for organisations to be equally committed to diversity and inclusion, not only in numbers but also in culture. Employers need to build a more inclusive and diverse workplace culture in order to retain young talent in this ever-changing world. The newer canvas of the workforce is seeking companies to redesign their hiring processes not only for gender balance and other forms of diversity, but also to ensure that hiring at all levels gives adequate weightage to behaviours that fit the organisation's diversity needs.


So, the real question is how companies can achieve supremacy when in terms of inclusion and diversity. Here are a few techniques one can adopt while hiring to make an organisation more inclusive:


1. Building an inclusive leadership team: The most vital attribute to recognise a sense of inclusiveness in an organisation is through the leader's visible awareness of the same. Building a diverse slate of leaders can help promote awareness among all employees and prove that the company is invested in becoming an inclusive organisation.


This step can further help applicants understand a company's culture and prove that their heart is in the same place. It is crucial to introduce adequate checks to ensure that 100% of leadership team members inducted from within or outside live with the spirit of diversity and inclusion. Their behaviours build confidence within diverse workforces, setting the tone and tenor for fostering diversity in the corridors, lunchrooms, work desks, and even Zoom calls.


2. Removing Unconscious bias: Studies show that even after leveraging technology in their hiring process, the final hiring decision of many companies was distorted by unconscious bias. Our minds make decisions intuitively, even before we can recognise them. Unconscious bias in hiring happens when recruiters create a judgement about prospects based purely on initial impressions. Recruiters can make efforts towards eliminating unconscious prejudice by being more creative and flexible in their hiring process, such as considering candidates with non-traditional backgrounds.


Few tactics like removing the names and genders of job applicants or conducting university-blind interviews, including a man-plus-machine approach, can help reduce these biases.


To identify potential biases, recruiters need to look at every step of the recruiting cycle, from the recruitment marketing techniques to the moments of onboarding. It is important to know where your biases are coming from and monitor your recruitment process on an ongoing basis, gather data and pinpoint the challenges, thereby bolstering diversity and inclusion while hiring.


3. D is for data (and diversity): This is a fact-based approach that promotes inclusion, diversity, and equity in an organisation. Data has played an important role to level the playing field between candidates. It has helped take human error out of Human Resources by giving recruiters a way to study data to become more diverse. The predictive element of data analytics can play a crucial role in shifting a company's D&I curve. Numerous issues can be addressed by looking at various data points and making evidence-based strategies to improve any policy to foster inclusiveness in the process thoroughly.


4. Diverse interview slate: This talent acquisition strategy requires talent acquisition personnel of the company to start with an already diverse pool of qualified candidates. Having a diverse slate of candidates helps mitigate biases and, hence, can lead to improved diversity representation for companies. According to research, 67% of job seekers claim that a diverse workforce plays a key role in evaluating job offers. If the correct processes and culture are in place to encourage diverse talent, it can help to increase workplace D&I efforts.


5. Using AI- and ML-powered tools: Technology has aided recruiters, particularly during the pandemic, by enabling them to hire remotely and transcend location barriers. The use of AI-powered recruitment solutions has empowered them to effectively accelerate the onboarding process and optimise assessment and evaluation processes. Technology is also helping in sourcing diverse candidates by providing access to more inclusive talent pools. The use of AI and ML to eliminate bias and promote greater workforce diversity is not new. Companies now realise how technology integration in HR processes can help them accelerate their efforts.


According to a recent study, 85% of CEOs with diverse and inclusive cultures notice increased profits. Many organisations are building a diverse workforce, but only a few see positive changes in the long run. The key to uncover barriers lies in tracking the day-to-day encounters of employees and enforcing actions where they matter the most. The companies that recognise these encounters can ensure higher engagement and retention of employees.


Workplace diversity can enhance the company's culture and business. It is imperative to learn how to effectively build and manage workplace diversity if companies want to leverage all its advantages.



Samir Parikh has carved a niche for himself in the management community and among HR practitioners as an acclaimed international leadership trainer, successful coach, process excellence specialist, and impactful speaker. His experience ranges from SMEs to MNCs, where he has led multiple strategic HR, OD & Process Excellence assignments across levels. Being entrepreneurial at heart led him to start Naman Integrated Management Services Pvt. Ltd. (NamanHR), a company dedicated to addressing end-to-end HR complexities — strategic, tactical and operational in nature — faced by over 300+ client organizations, including MNCs. The company now has its reach spread across India, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.


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