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May 2019

Expand Your Employee Recruitment

More Diversity has a Big Impact on Your Success

By Jeremy Eskenazi

Is your team diverse?
Do you invest to ensure your team reflects the needs and attitudes of your customers and clients? They need to reflect the communities your employees live in, work in and provide services to.

When a lot of people think about diversity, they focus on gender, ethnicity and age. These are important to keep focus on, for sure, but there is another kind of diversity that is often overlooked. This is diversity of thoughts, background and experiences. If elements of the latter are missing in your organization, it’s likely that everyone thinks the same way; and new ideas, new ways to problem solve, and innovation may be stunted. When you have employees who only follow the boss, the only ideas you have are from that one boss. 

While there is no “one size fits all” playbook for attracting diversity, you will want to make your organization attractive for diverse talent. In order to effectively attract diverse candidates, here are four practices that have been effective: 

1. REFERRAL PROGRAMS. If you have great talent on your team who are highly engaged and doing a great job, they likely have similar friends. Consider offering incentives with shorter payout times. More immediate returns can ensure your team is helping to attract people who are a good fit. You can also have them act as ambassadors in alumni groups, associations or clubs in which they take part.

2. EARLY CAREERS/UNIVERSITY STRATEGY. Attracting talent right out of school is often a strategy for helping shape the career of generally younger people, but is also a great place to find diversity. A strong university recruiting strategy is a terrific way to easily target diversity through student clubs and organizations. Setting up early career development programs and considering those in majors that are not what you’d traditionally look for are also good for your employer brand, and ensures your talent can develop with your business.

3. CULTURAL AWARENESS TRAINING FOR HIRING MANAGERS. We know this group often needs help to build relationships. While it’s unwise to force training on managers (and often backfires), integrating training that helps them identify unconscious bias is an area of development that has taken off in recent years and has been effective in many organizations.

4. WORKPLACE PREPAREDNESS. It is one thing to say you want diversity – setting up your physical space and your benefits program to accommodate it is another. Do you offer extended maternity/paternity leave, and are your human resources policies inclusive for LGBTQ individuals? Does your gym space have areas that are exclusive for women? How is your pay equity based on gender? These are things that can help attract top talent and show you will welcome them as equal employees without singling them out, or making them feel that they won’t find a sense of belonging at your company.

In addition to finding the right candidates, diversity brings several important things to your organization. Imagine if the people who applied for your job postings came in for an interview and didn’t see anyone who looked like them, or if all the people who interviewed them asked the same questions in the same way. They would likely not be very interested in continuing the discussion. Your employer brand is only as good as what employees and candidates will say about you when you’re not in the room. Taking the opportunity to show you are a progressive company that is investing visibly in many areas of diversity will be obvious from their first encounter with you.

While it is generally true that almost everyone values diversity, you may have noticed that many in younger generations are very vocal about their values. Moreover, many of them expect diversity and can be very outspoken about how much it matters to them in a workplace. By bringing in a diverse group of people to your organization, you will have access to broader networks, which will spur further diversity opportunities and all the benefits it brings. Think of how much more likely it is that diverse people who enjoy working at your company will introduce you and advocate for you in their circles.

While the business reasons for diversity are compelling on their own, many jurisdictions also have regulatory requirements that you have to consider as well. But don’t let regulations drive your diversity efforts. Most importantly, your organization should invest in diversity because it’s not only the right thing to do, but you will get much better business results. All types of diversity bring something new to the table, and who doesn’t need fresh ideas? 

Jeremy Eskenazi is an internationally recognized speaker, author of RecruitConsult! Leadership, and founder of Riviera Advisors. For more information, visit RivieraAdvisors.com

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