How To Build A Culturally Diverse Workforce

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Does your team at work seem a bit homogenous? Homogenous is defined as “being of the same kind.” Unfortunately, a number of companies fall victim to hiring and building a workforce filled with people that all virtually look and act the same.

Workplace diversity has become a top priority for recruitment departments. A survey by the Society Of Human Resource Management found that 57% of recruiters say their talent acquisition strategies are designed to attract diverse candidates.

Cultural diversity in the workplace is when companies are open to hiring employees from all sorts of different backgrounds; regardless of race, religion and culture. When companies recruit and retain a diverse pool of people, it brings about different benefits to the company as well as its employees.

Organizations are finding that there are many advantages to diversity recruitment beyond just not running afoul of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Having different types of personalities and backgrounds in your workforce helps foster a culture of innovation that can only be brought from varying types of individuals bouncing ideas and concepts off of one another. Having a more diverse team of employees can provide new ideas, a new outlook, and skills that others don’t possess.

Other benefits of a diverse organization include:

  • Increased productivity
  • Improved creativity
  • Increased profits
  • Improved employee engagement
  • Reduced employee turnover
  • Improved company reputation
  • Wider range of skills
  • Improves cultural insights

Now that you are sold the benefits of having a diverse workplace, how exactly do you go about finding and recruiting more diverse candidates?

Here are 5 ways to recruit and build a culturally diverse staff:

1. Write your job posting more carefully to attract more diverse candidates.

If you want to attract a more diverse candidate pool, the language you use in your job postings makes a big difference. A study found those that used masculine-type words like “ambitious” and “dominate” were less appealing to female applicants. Other fields, such as teaching, experience the flip-side by using feminine-coded words like “supportive.” It is important to make sure that job descriptions are high-level and use more inclusive language that encourages more diverse applicants. Be sure to focus job descriptions around two things: company values and criteria that are actually important to job performance. Every line you include in the job description has a huge impact on who will choose to apply for that position.

2. Have A Diverse Talent-Acquisition Team

Having a culturally diverse team of people conducting screenings and interviews shows candidates that they will be welcomed and comfortable. In addition, having a good balance of women/men, junior/seasoned professionals, combined with different cultures, helps bring better perspective and therefore more balanced interview feedback, which leads to diverse hiring. Also, consider using search firms, such as Robinson & Robinson Executive Search, that specialize in the recruitment of women and persons of color. These firms usually have developed solid relationships with minority professionals across the country, and have established a reputation for helping organizations achieve their cultural human resource goals.

3. Have An Attractive & Welcoming Company Culture

To attract culturally diverse candidates, you first need to have an organization that people want to work for. Go into detail describing all of the perks that the company provides its employees. Speak on fun work outings, vacation time, work from home days, insurance plans, etc. You should also make sure to have plenty of pictures on your company website, and on your social media pages, of your culturally diverse and welcoming workforce, Show your employees having a good time together, as well as what the office looks like. Before you’re able to attract more diverse candidates, you first need to make sure that you’re building a company culture that diverse candidates actually want to be a part of.

4. Have A Blind Resume Screening Process

It is true that everyone makes unconscious snap judgments — often based on something as simple as the name on a resume. In fact, this type of bias is so common that it’s actually quantifiable. Studies show that underrepresented demographics, specifically African Americans and Latinos, are 40% less likely to be selected for an interview than equally qualified candidates. 40%! Blind recruitment, the practice of removing personally identifiable information from the resumes of applicants including their name, gender, age, education, and even sometimes the number of years of experience, is gaining popularity. It’s up to your organization to choose how “blind” you want to go. Some companies might want to omit names, gender, ages, and education from an application, while others might want to only omit information they believe their organization has a certain bias for. As a loose rule, the things that have no bearing on a person’s ability to competently carry out the job virtually always include an applicant’s name, gender, age, sexual orientation, address, and marital status, so these can all be blinded from the application process. Results from many organizations across various industries show how effective blind resume screening can be in increasing diversity.

5. Look For Candidates Where They Meet Up

Networking is always best done in person, so do some research on events happening in your area that are likely to attract diverse talent to its meetings. Along with being able to find a promising candidate, attending these events shows everyone in the area that your company truly is all-inclusive and that you all are putting real effort into finding culturally diverse candidates. This message goes a long way and leaves a lasting impression on those that may be able to help you in the future.

Many companies have been using LinkedIn to find candidates for some time now. There are many professional groups on LinkedIn around for the sole purpose of promoting diversity and having a place for diverse professionals to meet. There are plenty of groups for women, African-Americans, Latinos, Veterans, etc.

Similar to LinkedIn groups, Facebook also offers groups for professionals of similar backgrounds. In both cases, you also get a chance to show off your company via your Facebook and LinkedIn company pages which should be filled with information and pictures that show you are great place to work and are committed to diversity.

Having a diverse team doesn’t just make your organization look good, it goes a long way in promoting an environment of innovation and out of the box thinking among your workforce. Although building a diverse team may take some effort, stick to the tips above and you’ll be on your way to a room filled with valuable, diverse perspectives before you know it!


Sam Robinson

About the Author:

Sam Robinson is the Founder and President of Robinson-Robinson & Associates, Inc., as well as a Principal Consultant. Sam has executive level Human Resources experience in the computer manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries. He served in various functional roles including Staffing, Employee Relations, Compensation Administration, Organizational Development and Training, and Diversity. Sam is a varsity athletic graduate of Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. He continues to be a sports enthusiast and is an avid golfer.