Not very long ago, an organisation’s culture wasn’t something that made headlines as much. In fact, it was considered just one of the many factors relevant to employee satisfaction. However, according to a recent survey, 47% of the people actively looking for new opportunities now cite an organisation’s culture as their driving reason for looking for work. Unsurprisingly, about 46% believe that culture is “very important” when choosing a job. So what makes a great culture?
Fundamentally, an organisation’s culture is the way we behave at scale. How we behave is defined by what the company sets as expectations, operating principles and ethics and how these behaviours are recognized, rewarded or punished. Many factors contribute to building a culture; inclusivity is one such vector that, when done right, creates a sense of belonging and has a tremendous ability to develop intrinsic motivation amongst people.
But that is the tip of the iceberg—Inclusivity especially, as it relates to a diverse workforce, is a force multiplier. Bringing in new ways to look at the same situation is the beginning of creating a unique solution, a disruption, and a foundation for innovation; after all, innovation craves diversity.
Why is diversity more than just a catchphrase?
Helen Keller famously said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” Each set of individuals brings new thoughts, new skills, new creativity, new energy, and new perspective. And when complimenting groups combine, magic happens!
A Deloitte report revealed that diverse thinking enhances innovation by 20%. Another statistic points out that equal representation of just one vector of diversity, men and women, in organisations is linked with a 41% increase in revenues. Racial and ethnic diverse teams are 35% more likely to perform better, while organisations with an inclusive culture are also likely to have 2.3 times more cash flow per employee.
How to ensure hiring diversity?
Fundamentally, hiring right is more about hiring without a bias than anything else. Everything starts from the top of the funnel. An organisation needs to be extremely cautious about how they authentically talk about their people-first policies. Awareness inside and outside the organisation is the first step in this direction. The idea flow would consist of factors like:
- State your clear stance on culture - highlight you
- Establishing strong habits of condemning racial, gender, region, ethnicity, or any other form of bias
- “Walking the talk” in terms of inclusion & diversity
- Learning ways to address specific needs
- Regularly revisiting policies to fine-tune the culture code
- Showcasing best practices internally and externally to intrigue and entice job seekers
Learning the art of embracing diversity
A young working professional might have different priorities than a mid-age employee. Veterans and people from the neglected sections of society might sometimes need an extra cushion to adjust to your organisation before they emerge as top employees. A person from one part of the world might not have the same priorities as someone from another place. Women may put more weight on a particular thing than men. And being inclusive is all about respecting and empathising with all these perspectives without getting influenced.
Therefore, as a hiring manager, one should be aware of factors contributing to the needs and demands of an employee. Additionally, leadership teams should focus on customising policies to suit the needs of different groups and avoid thinking from a “one-size-fits-all” prism.
Data and leadership response
Judging a candidate based on their credentials alone is the first step to building an inclusive culture, and entrusting data points with this task over manual, “gut-feeling” methods works like a charm for any organisation (they are also associated with building 3x high-performing teams). Leveraging data analytics can substantially reduce recruiters’ bias from the entire hiring process and help fast-track resourcing, screening, and offer rollouts.
Bringing data analytics into the picture can widen your talent pool, expose recruiters to diverse candidates, and eventually help build a much more diverse workforce from top to bottom. Simply put, inclusive workplaces are created when you act on the principle of “horses for courses.”
There is an excellent correlation between how you hire people and those who engage them. Anyone cannot wake up magically to a diverse organisation ― it takes heart and soul to lay the foundation at all levels. Hiring managers and leaders should be cognizant of the needs of different sections of society to weave a fabric of diversity.