Building a Diverse Culture That Matters

Culture June 18, 2018

Building a Diverse Culture That Matters

Jason Richmond
Jason is passionate about helping large companies embrace outstanding culture. He engages with clients by sharing his passion for learning and instilling a sense of leadership and confidence with everyone.

Would it be surprising to you if I said that companies with a healthy focus on diversity in the workplace are proven to be more innovative, have better overall cultures and even bring in more money than those who do not?

It shouldn’t be surprising—and yet, there are still companies that do not understand the value of ensuring an inclusive workplace. Here’s why your company should get on board—and fast:

What Does a Diverse Culture Look Like?

It’s as simple as it sounds: an organization made up of men and women from all walks of life. A diverse culture welcomes people from all races, ethnicities, genders, ages, sexual orientations and religions—and as a result their incredibly vast experiences and perspectives that go along with it.

Initial Hurdles to Overcome

Emmett Vaughn, Director of Diverse Supplier Strategy at Exelon, explains that fixing a culture is difficult if no one understands there’s a problem in the first place. “Trying to bring change when the perception that nothing is broken can be daunting, so people must be able to articulate the actual issues if they’re going to make a difference.”

How It Changes the Outlook

As a fascinating example, Vaughn reiterates something a colleague once asked him, “What makes you wiser: reading the same newspaper four different times or reading four different newspapers once each?” The purpose of this is to illustrate the importance of gaining more perspectives than the one you consistently face. “When you are open to a wider range of perspectives, you’ll be presented with that many different solutions—ultimately helping your team to generate the best one at the time.”

Vaughn continues, “Hiring for diversity allows you to add more ideas and outside perspectives to the daily conversations. By optimizing inclusion, your company will immediately feel the positives impacts throughout.”

Additionally, it’s important to note that while inclusion is vital for the internal culture of a company, it also makes a difference for those from the outside looking in. When a wider range of people represent companies, it is easier for the external customer base to feel represented, as well—helping them to form connections with the brand that move them in time from potential to repeat customer.

How to Make It Happen in Your Company

While the concept of a “diverse culture” is simple, hiring for diversity doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it takes calculated actions and a people strategy that requires leadership to evaluate the status of diversity currently taking place. To do so, ask the following questions:

  • What does our current hiring process look like?
  • Where are we reaching out to find possible applicants?
  • Who are we currently attracting the most of (applicant wise)—and why?
  • How could we change our messaging to attract a broader range of applicants?

Next, with that information in mind, fine-tune your processes so that you are seeking applicants from a larger pool, reaching those in various locations and appealing to them with a message that shows you’re working in earnest to hire an inclusive workforce.

To do this successfully, you’ll have to seek candidates from unfamiliar areas, such as targeting new universities. Additionally, seeking referrals from other employees for the successful hire of diverse applicants has proven successful in the pas—and it’s not uncommon to add an incentive to it.

While some companies suggest that incentive-based referrals cloud the process, other companies such as Intel and Accenture have been open about their bonuses that help their companies work towards a more balanced workforce.

At the end of the day, the most important aspect of an inclusive workforce is creating a culture that believes in the value of diverse experiences, expertise and opinions. When a company can prove to their employees—and their customers—that everyone has a seat at their table, they are one step closer to achieving the success they are relentlessly working towards.