What Does it Mean to Diversify Your Workforce?
Diversifying your workforce means recruiting, retaining, and engaging people from a range of different backgrounds. This includes social backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations. It also includes a variety of life experiences, such as individuals who are neurodiverse, military veterans, people in recovery, older Americans, immigrants and refugees, and people released from incarceration.
In 2020, McKinsey & Company’s Diversity Wins study reported that the most diverse companies are now more likely than ever to outperform less diverse peers in regard to profitability. Companies in the top quartile of gender diversity outperformed the bottom quartile by 25 percent, and the number is even higher (36 percent) for ethnic diversity.
How to Diversify My Workforce
The key to diversifying your workforce is reaching and engaging diverse talent.
A 2021 study by Harvard Business School and Accenture estimated that there are 27 million “hidden workers” in the U.S., many of whom want to work and are actively seeking work, but whose job seeking efforts consistently fail due to hiring processes that focus on what they don’t have (such as credentials) rather than the value they can bring (such as capabilities).
Companies can engage diverse talent by (1) eliminating existing barriers to reach more candidates, and (2) creating inclusive pipeline strategies.
Eliminate Existing Barriers
First, identify any existing barriers preventing you from accessing diverse candidates, or preventing these candidates from accessing you. What qualifications must people meet to work at your company? Are there minimum requirements for education level, years of experience, or certifications? Does your company eliminate anyone with a criminal record from the hiring process?
For some industries and job types, qualifications like these may be a true requirement. However, modifying some of these requirements where possible enables a broader set of applicants to reach you. You may find that the talent you unlock access to will be a better fit for your company than you had ever imagined.
Create Inclusive Pipeline Strategies
Before identifying new methods and sources of talent, it is important to identify where the gaps are in your current workforce. Which populations of people are underrepresented in your workplace? Which populations would be best suited to work with you? Consider that diverse perspectives strengthen any workplace and certain candidates will add unique value because of their backgrounds and the skills and experiences they’ve obtained.
Every community has organizations that serve individuals of diverse backgrounds and help connect them to employers. Here are just a few that may be operating in your area:
- Goodwill Industries helps people reach their full potential through the power of work by offering job training and supportive services like English language training, additional education, and access to transportation and childcare. Goodwill is a participant in National Disability Employment Awareness Month annually, highlighting the benefits of hiring employees with disabilities such as employee retention, increased productivity, and cost savings due to reduced turnover.
- The National Urban League and their local affiliates enable African Americans and other underserved urban residents to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power, and civil rights through job preparation and workforce programs, education, and other services.
- Hiring Our Heroes connects the military community—service members, military spouses, and veterans—with American businesses to create economic opportunity and a strong and diversified workforce.
- Local organizations serving immigrants and refugees such as Cincinnati Compass in Southwest Ohio often provide access to education, English language training, career development, and job placement.
- The national network of CareerOneStop Centers provides career development opportunities to individuals of all backgrounds, including a focus on military veterans and job placement services for businesses.
Workmorphis provides a full suite of services to help organizations across the U.S. revitalize their workforce, including workforce planning strategies, skills transformation, diversified workforce pipeline strategies, employee support and empowerment, and more.
Connect with us at 877.999.7717 or email@example.com to offer your insights or learn how we can help you transform your workforce. For more information about hidden workers, check out the Workmorphis Hidden Worker Series.
Meet the Author
Emily Fabiano – Author
Emily Fabiano is the founder of Workmorphis, a cross-sector workforce consultancy helping organizations build a more resilient workforce to thrive in a changing economy. Fabiano has deep experience in workforce transformation at the government level, working at the cross section of workforce strategy, economic development, and public policy. With a keen understanding of the unique challenges facing today’s and tomorrow’s workforce and the ability to communicate across sectors, Fabiano brings a new level of understanding and collaboration required to connect industry and education and prepare people for jobs.