There’s no denying that diversifying your talent pool can have a positive effect on your company – in fact, there are a number of benefits to ensuring your employees come from a wide range of backgrounds.
- You’ll tap into different ways of thinking
- You’ll see increased creativity within the team
- Productivity is likely to be higher
- You’ll avoid group think
- You’re likely to have a much better understanding of customers and their needs
The statistics back this up – companies with more diverse management teams have, on average, 19% higher revenue. They’re 45% more likely to expand their market share and 70% more likely to capture new markets.
Studies show that companies with a diverse leadership team are more innovative. They also have more accurate judgement, making better decisions 87% of the time.
We hear you, it’s not easy. But the thing is, there is plenty of diversity at the beginning of the pipeline. The truth is, the development of those candidates is stalling further up. They’re dropping out of the system somewhere. Whether they’re not receiving the mentorship, they’re passed over for promotions, or the support network isn’t available for them to flourish, the blockage is in the middle of the pipeline.
If you're looking at diversifying your talent pool, here are the steps to follow:
Assess your situation
Start with looking at your talent strategy. Unpick the processes you have in place for attracting, retaining, and developing talent. Identify the barriers that might exist for diversity. Does your brand communicate that you’re a diverse employer? Is your culture a safe space for a diverse range of people? Have you developed inclusive policies?
Once you’ve mapped out all your employee journeys, identify which changes you could make that would have the most impact to diversify your talent pool. Could you have a more accessible building, or could you develop internal diversity committees? Prioritisation is key – you’re better to do one thing really well than attempt to do all things on the list badly.
Grow the pipeline
When you’re thinking about diversifying your talent pool, it’s a good idea to look at the routes into your company. You can’t expect to grow a more diverse team by continuing to do the same things as you always have. If you only have one pathway into the company, if you always recruit people the same way, things are unlikely to change. Think about how you can attract talent from different places:
- Connect with new networks.
- Check out specialist diversity job boards.
- Make links with colleges and universities in areas you don’t usually recruit from.
Think about your job ads too.
- Are you certain you need sector-specific experience, or are there transferrable skills you could look for?
- Is a degree essential, or could relevant experience be enough?
- Are there some skills that could be taught and developed on the job, if you hire someone with the right attitude?
It would also be beneficial to show the ways in which your workplace does prioritise diversity and inclusion.
- Communicate the success of colleagues from diverse backgrounds.
- Let people know if there are alternative routes into your company.
- Introduce churn at the higher levels of your organisation so that you can show there are opportunities to take on leadership roles.
Retain the pipeline
It doesn’t matter how good your policies or recruitment practices are, if your culture isn’t inclusive, diversifying your talent pool will be impossible. There are a number of ways you can make sure your culture prioritises diversity.
Look out for microaggressions against women, differently abled people, or people of colour at work. Examples include:
- Assuming the white person or the male is the decision-maker.
- Asking “where are you really/originally from” to people who are not white.
- Making jokes based on stereotypes.
- Denying people’s lived experiences by discounting their race, gender or disability.
Tackle these immediately if you see them. Don’t let them become a part of accepted conversation or culture in your team.
Evidence-based appraisal systems
Make sure that you have goal-aligned appraisals. Rather than assessing people via their traits, assess them by the contribution they have made to their team or the department.
Don’t guess. Find out how your employees feel about diversity and inclusion at your organisation. There may be issues that they don’t feel able to raise with their managers. An anonymous survey could be a safer space and opportunity for honesty.
Career development buddies
Pair new starters with someone a level or two higher who can help them navigate the systems and languages of your company. This can increase their chances of building the right relationships for promotion.
Address development gaps
Regularly assess how your team members are doing in terms of their career and personal development. Where you identify gaps, help them to move forward. Arrange extra training, external courses, or help from colleagues within the business.
Talent rising to the top
Diversifying your talent pool doesn't happen overnight. Managers need to help diverse talent to reach the top. Be explicit and transparent about your promotion and career progression routes. Make sure everyone who is eligible is invited to apply for internal promotions. You could also think about creating guidance or having events to help people feel more confident and clear about applying for promotions.
When you make an appointment, make sure you give feedback to all unsuccessful candidates. You could think about putting together a development plan for those who were unsuccessful to give them a better chance next time.
Diversifying your talent pool
Finding and retaining diverse candidates for your company is about more than just advertising roles on inclusive job boards. If you want a leadership team that represents a wide range of backgrounds, you need to cultivate that through your processes, your culture and your development plans. Diversity only thrives where diverse voices are involved and heard, so make sure you’re collaborating as widely as you can.
If you need advice on improving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in your workplace, we’d be more than happy to have a no obligation chat with you. Diverse workplaces ultimately benefit everyone.