Diversity often tends to be a buzzword many companies put at the forefront of their recruitment campaigns and employer branding strategies.
At the same time, the hunt for diversity first and foremost leans toward racial diversity. Many businesses believe they have diverse teams if it is diverse in the color of people’s skin.
Diversity does not stop at race. Diversity covers many areas and having a truly diverse workforce can do so much more than add to your employer branding.
Why is diversity important in the workplace?
In fleshing out a diverse workforce, you bring new cultures, experiences, and viewpoints to the table- ensuring an inclusive and creative business that leads with empathy toward all people.
Plus, companies with a diverse workforce are 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability. If you’re ever struggling to build a business case for diverse-first recruitment tools, there’s your answer.
In this article, we’ll explore the areas of diversity any recruiter needs to consider to help build a diverse team they can champion. Some of these areas may surprise you. Happy hiring.
Areas of diversity to include when recruiting
1. Race & ethnicity
These two factors are often considered the same, let’s clear up the differences. Race comes from biological heritage; it determines the color of someone’s skin and physical features. However, ethnicity is a learned, cultural trait.
Why are the two often put together? They cross over when someone identifies themselves. For example, someone born in the USA but has parents from Uganda could identify as racially black or African, but ethnically American. In discussing your culture, you often discuss your race and ethnicity.
2. Identifying gender & gender expression
We are thrilled to see these two diverse factors being expressed more and depicted positively in mainstream media. Gender as a construct is something that is being questioned more and more, with younger generations adopting a fluid and freer outlook earlier in life.
When hiring, consider if you’re inclusive of genders people identify as and genders people choose to express with their actions and physical appearance.
Something to consider is building out unbiased testing opportunities. These tests will enable your recruitment team to see whether someone is a capable fit for your business, despite their identifying gender or expression.
There are many areas of disability to be aware of, with some being more commonly known and discussed than others. Everyone should have the chance to disclose (or not) their disability. Someone should be comfortable taking either action.
If someone does choose to disclose their disability, your company should have a support system in place to accommodate them and ensure they are treated equally.
Companies are legally required to make accessible software, and in 2019 the number of ADA Title III lawsuits against inaccessible websites increased by 12%. If hiring and leading with disability in mind is not a priority; it will be. A disabled workforce can help ensure your company is as diverse with its talent as it is for its customers.
These include autism, down syndrome, attention deficit disorder (ADD), dyslexia, and dyscalculia.
These affect someone’s physical condition and mobility. They can also include hearing and visual incapabilities.
There’s a lot more to disability than just the areas we’ve covered above. Take the time to study different areas and make sure you’re creating a workplace that’s welcoming for new employees, and inclusive of current ones.
4. Behavioral diversity
This can be seen in people’s actions. Behavioral traits often lead to an unconscious bias toward someone, especially if they don’t behave in a way that someone else usually experiences.
The best example of this is introverts and extroverts. In a social situation, an introvert may not come across as friendly as an extroverted person. Which doesn’t mean to say an introvert doesn’t like you as much as an extroverted person.
5. Sexual orientation
This is not something that someone should, would, or have to disclose when applying for a role. What your company needs to ensure is that they feel comfortable enough to do so, if they want to.
It’s not uncommon for people to have certain stereotypes about different nationalities. However, we need to remember and ingrain in our hiring team that stereotypes are a social construct, and we should not judge someone on nationality.
No matter a nationality, as soon as someone walks into the office, they’re as equal as everyone else.
7. Age diversity
Did you jump to an image of someone when you read age? How old was that person in your head? Did they have greying hair, or were they born in the 2000s?
Age diversity comes across the spectrum, and there are a few generational diversity myths out there too. A company can benefit from having a variety of ages. Don’t discredit someone because they “couldn’t possibly have the experience you require being so young.” At the same time, don’t overlook a CV that has a candidate past their 50s. Both have their advantages.
Diversity of culture comes down to a company’s internal culture. How can your culture remain inclusive of everyone else’s? What values do you need to build? If you’re unsure of how to go about this, create a feedback form, and allow your team to fill it out anonymously. Let people tell you how they think the company can be more culturally sensitive.
9. Religion & spirituality
These two areas of diversity need to be understood and accommodated in the workplace in many ways.
No one should have to use their holiday for religious purposes as the company-wide calendar doesn’t accommodate their religious days.
Another aspect of this would be prayer times and rooms to fulfill prayers or spiritual needs. Can your business accommodate all religions and spiritualities? If not right now, how can you adapt to do so?
10. Parental & marital status
Often something that is discriminated against and stands in the way of someone being hired over someone else that’s seemingly more available. Married women, looking to start a family, tend to be viewed as more of a “risky hire” than those without families.
A diverse company should not only accommodate but encourage family matters. It’s often been discussed that women who are mothers develop soft skills that enable them to multitask better than others and result in better leadership qualities.
Language can fall across a range of linguistics, accents, and impediments. If someone speaks a second language to get a role, they should never be discriminated against or not listened to because they are struggling to find a word. A diverse team addresses language barriers that hinder trust and accountability.
12. Geographical location
Where someone chooses to live or has to live is a huge topic when it comes to diversity and inclusion. We cannot judge a person’s character on their zip code. Plus, if you’re hiring a remote team, a company should be flexible toward time zones to get the best talent possible.
Lastly, citizenship. Diversity is not always easy to achieve; this article has probably established that. One of the most significant and costly areas, on many occasions, is hiring people with different citizenship.
Juggling applying for visas or bringing on contractors, this area of diversity can soon add up. However, if someone is perfect for your business, then the financial burden will be worth it.
Wrapping it all up
Diversity is not something you only try to see. You hear it, you include it, and you strive for it. It’s something that any workplace should be championing.
Especially in times of crisis, the quest for diversity tends to take a back seat- yet it’s something that should be a priority and mission no matter what the company is experiencing.
Diversity is not a “nice to have” it’s a need to have. In being aware of these 13 areas discussed, your company is not only leading the way for a more open and diverse workplace but a more open and inclusive world.