Organisations have been trying to establish diversity in their massive workforce for the past few decades. Today’s nature of business and work doesn’t warrant a homogeneous set of people to run an organisation and diversity in workforce has become an integral part of the Talent Acquisition and Recruitment processes. Generally a diverse workforce might evoke an image of people of different ethnicity and race, and maybe gender, but it is important to note that the ambit of diversity goes way beyond these concepts. The Workforce America! Managing Employee Diversity as a Vital Resource defines diversity as “otherness or those human qualities that are different from our own and outside the groups to which we belong, yet present in other individuals and groups.” Dimensions of diversity include, but are not limited to: age, ethnicity, ancestry, gender, physical abilities/qualities, race, sexual orientation, educational background, geographic location, income, marital status, military experience, religious beliefs, parental status, and work experience.
Maintaining and managing a healthy diversity in the workforce has proven to be advantageous to employees. From having a diverse talent pool to choose from, and having varied viewpoints to foster creative solutions to existing problems, diversity has shown to increase overall productivity in workforce by providing them with increased exposure. Additionally, promoting a healthy diversity in workforce shows that an organisation is serious about adopting their values and principles in practice. But how does HR ensure that the workforce is diverse in nature? Here are a few easy and simple methodologies that can be followed:
- The workforce should resemble the target demographic: It becomes essential for your workforce to identify with the demographic they are working in. Spend some time clearly identifying and defining the same and channel your hiring and recruitment strategies in the same domain.
- Ask existing employees for referrals: It is natural to ask the existing employees for referrals, for they would have qualified peers in the industry, and can also help the new employees adjust to the move.
- Talk to community organizations to help find candidates: In a new setting or place, it is best to approach community organisations like cultural and educational institutes to connect you the right candidates.
- Provide diversity training in your workplace: It becomes essential to clarify that hiring decisions are taken on the skills and experience of the candidates. Ensuring that the process is more transparent, and clearly communicating the benefits of working in a diverse workplace go a long way in easing the sceptics.
Ensuring the selection and appointment of a diverse talent requires HR policies to be balanced and free of bias. The policies need to reviewed carefully and if needed altered periodically, for enhanced workforce diversity is easily achievable through a broad recruitment effort. Establishing dedicated task force has also proven effective tool for ensuring recruitment of diverse employees. A few organisations in the west ask candidates to apply anonymously to job applications, without mentioning the name, gender or address or any personal detail, but only the skills, qualifications and experience. The rise of such practices and trends indicates there is an increasing need felt by organisations to have a workforce that is diverse and balanced in nature. HR can be, and also formulate an effective mechanism for this process and develop opportunities for the company’s diversity programme. However, diversity in workplace as a concept is something that organisations have only recently started considering in its seriousness and HR still has a long way to go in establishing overarching corporate guidelines to ensure diversity in office.