Many businesses are doing their part to diversify their workforces, but sometimes there’s something missing. Making your team more diverse can benefit your team in many ways. However, language that isn’t inclusive, like calling a fellow team member a ‘diversity hire’ is more hurtful than you might think.
At AllyBot, let’s talk about why and how you can use inclusive language to elevate your business.
Why Diversity Hiring is Important
First, we need to understand that the primary goal of diversity hiring is to eliminate bias. Bias can involve a number of different factors like age, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, and more. We are all affected by implicit bias. This kind of bias affects us in ways we may not realize in the moment.
We have to take a step back and evaluate what our implicit biases may be and counteract them when hiring new talent. If we don’t address implicit biases, we can construct workforces that aren’t diverse.
However, if we can get around that hurdle with diverse hiring strategies, we can reap a number of benefits. Diverse teams can innovate and find unique solutions to problems other teams can’t. These kinds of teams also are more likely to improve employee retention. In fact, according to a research study by McKinsey & Company, 35% of businesses with diverse hiring strategies have higher profits than their competitors.
Simply put: diversity hiring is to work toward an innovative future for your business.
When “diversity hire” becomes an insidious term
There’s another side to this that isn’t so great. Occasionally, team members in a workforce may be referred to as a ‘diversity hire’, a noun. It insidiously implies that the employee was hired simply because of their background rather than their talent. This can make even the most experienced team members doubt themselves and feel like they don’t belong.
Fixing your pipeline
Building a more diverse workforce requires searching beyond where you usually do. If you typically hire through a particular set of platforms like LinkedIn and Indeed, try expanding your horizons a bit. Reaching out to more diverse universities, such as historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), to become part of career fairs is a potential strategy. You can also partner with nonprofits or local organizations. If you’re a remote company, hire in regions and parts of the world that will help your team become more diverse.
This is important because restricting your hiring to a single platform will exclude some people from applying. You also need to consider access. Some people simply don’t have access to reliable professional connections, and some of those people may have the talent you need.
And, of course, encourage referrals from your employees from diverse backgrounds and leverage their network in their respective communities. According to a study, referrals are much more effective than traditional hires, and there’s already the trust factor baked in with your employee.
Promoting a More Inclusive Workplace
Hiring without bias is only part of the equation. To achieve our goal of a more diverse workforce and profitable business, we need to maintain that workforce through retention. How can you avoid employees calling one of their colleagues a ‘diversity hire?’
Diversity vs Inclusion
These two terms may seem like synonyms, but they are actually fairly different. It’s easier to understand them as being the difference between the state of your workforce and that workforce’s culture.
Diversity is how much variety your team has in its background. How homogeneous is your team culturally? How much variety does your team have in terms of gender, race, religion, and other factors? The more variety, the more diverse your team is.
On the other hand, inclusion is all about how your culture works to support a diverse workforce. By making your team feel welcome and included, they are happier, healthier, and more productive. This not only boosts the effectiveness of your team but also improves your retention. It can affect recruitment as well.
According to Glassdoor, 76% of prospective applicants felt that workplace diversity was important to them in a new role. This again shows why diversity hiring is so important. If you’re adopting inclusive practices in a non-diverse workplace, then you’re just paying lip service to the cause without doing the hard work.
From Hiring to Onboarding: Build an Inclusive Culture
There are a few ways that you can support a diverse workforce with an inclusive culture:
- Awareness at all levels
- Think carefully about language
- Encourage team members to be themselves
It’s important to make sure that you promote awareness at all levels of your business, from leadership all the way to through the company. You and your team need to be aware of unconscious biases and how to recognize and respond to microaggressions.
Everyone needs to remember that their partner isn’t just a ‘diversity hire’. Everyone is a team member recruited for their unique talents.
Inclusive Language is Critical
Making your diverse employees feel welcome requires an inclusive work culture. One of the most important aspects of that culture is inclusive language. If calling someone a ‘diversity hire’ is a negative example of how language can affect a team, how can we reverse this effect?
There are a number of different ways that language can be made more inclusive in the workplace. Using more neutral introductions and avoiding assumptions are great places to start. When we greet others with gendered terms like ‘guys’ or refer to a gender-diverse group of team members as ‘men’, it can make those people feel excluded.
One way to counteract this at every point of your organization is through technology. AllyBot empowers teams with smart suggestions in Slack. This bot offers suggestions to team members to help them make their language more inclusive. After detecting a word that could be improved, the bot privately suggests alternative phrases that can help.
Support Your Diversity Hiring Goals
If you’re ready to meet your diversity hiring goals and retain your talent, promoting inclusive language in your work culture is essential. Avoiding hurtful terms like ‘diversity hire’ is important for achieving this goal.
When profits and employee retention are on the line, it’s important to start making changes for the better now. AllyBot can help you do just that. In fact, you can get started with a free trial of the bot for Slack for free to see its potential to help your team.