Harnessing the Benefits of Diversity

There are many benefits from having a workforce reflect the client based of a company’s multicultural and international customers, clients and markets.

As Kim Abreu recently wrote,

“Recruiting and retaining a diverse, inclusive group of employees lets your company reflect the world around you and makes your team better able to develop fresh ideas that will meet the needs of the whole marketplace.”
To be profitable in a today’s globalized and diverse markets, companies need to actively seek to look more like the community that surrounds them.

Harnessing human potential

In Australia’s capital cities over a third of the population was born overseas, and these figures have generally been increasing over time and as a result boosted the economic performance of this country.

However, traditional recruitment practices can disadvantage applicants from different backgrounds. Practices of reviewing CVs and undertaking interviews may not enable an organisation to counter challenges such as unconscious bias and tendencies to hire people who reflect the current workforce, not an aspirational culture.

Current mechanisms result in nearly half of new hires failing within the first 12 months – a direct drain on our economy and a waste of human resources. Interestingly, 89% of these failed hires were due to attitudinal reasons, according to a study by Leadership IQ that interviewed 20, 000 new hires and over 5000 managers. These managers undertook similar selection processes that we all use, job interviews and screening CV’s but these practices inhibit applicants from different backgrounds and stifle innovative approaches in business.

New technology brings new opportunities

Changing this archaic and ultimately flawed process is Deloitte in the UK. Recently Deloitte adopted a ‘blind CV’ hiring strategy. The strategy is part of the company’s efforts to access a more diverse pool of talent and stop basing their hiring and investment decisions on measures that don’t actually correlate with success in the workplace.

Other companies are shifting to technology to assist with expanding their pool of talent and supporting a diverse workforce. This is supported by wider initiatives to support building a strong, diverse workforce such as Generation One. Generation One does this through campaigns aiming to break down stereotypes and barriers by promoting stories of success and creating opportunity for Indigenous employment.

Both of these approaches follow a common ethos backed by research, industry and academia: hiring the right person for the right job is far more effective over time that hiring the person with the ‘best’ resume or qualifications. In other words, hiring for fit is the most effective way to ensure people become happy, engaged, productive team members who contribute over time.

Systemising responsible decision making

There is a clear financial imperative to improving the rate at which we make good hires. The benefits of diverse workforces, together with the cost of unsuccessful recruitment demonstrate the need to reconsider and enhance our recruitment processes.

It is important for any organisation wishing to recruit a diversified team to create the conditions for honest responses outside of a structure, formal and artificial interview environment, which can be off putting for candidates from different backgrounds. This can be achieved by utilising new technology and applying a systematic approach to measuring cultural fit as part of the traditional recruitment process.

How does your organisation embed flexibility into recruitment to support diversity?

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