5 simple steps Your small business can create a more diverse and complete workforce

Diversity has been a hot topic for most organizations in recent years, and rightly so: the more research and study we do, the more diversity we have in our membership (in addition to promoting equality) . Employee performance and increased retention of employees.

That’s why we’ve seen many examples of how big companies are changing their hiring strategies and providing more talent creation budgets. While it’s interesting to hear, these are not usually tactics that small businesses can use – they simply do not have the resources, the consultants, the budgets, the brands, and the people at their disposal.

To help small businesses get a clear idea of ​​the strategies for realizing diversity, I spoke to three organizations that are doing really interesting (and fantastic) work in this area. What I learned from them is really useful information that small businesses can use throughout their integration efforts. Based on our discussions, here are the five steps that small businesses can take to work towards a diverse workforce:

1. Tell everyone in your business why diversity is important

As a contributor to small businesses around the world, the most frequently asked question at the beginning of a diversity initiative is: “Where do we start? They know it’s extremely important and want to be at the forefront of diversity and inclusion, but we do not know how to make these initiatives go beyond the “will” of “doing something “. The answer really begins with understanding and educating why it’s so important.

“You start by embracing diversity and making sure everyone in your business understands how we benefit from different ideas, experiences and perspectives in decision making,” said Emily Gransky, Head of Global Talent Acquisitions. Bluebird Bio (a gene therapy company). “It’s about understanding that diversity can be a competitive advantage (what we say definitively) rather than doing something just because it’s the right thing (what it is). to make the necessary investments. ” to succeed, “she says.

Making concerted efforts with programs and policies is one thing, but without society as a whole understanding the reasons and believing that it is so important, even the best intentions will eventually fail.

2. Do not be too fast: start with 1 or 2 initiatives that promote diversity in the workplace

Another potential pitfall at start-up is to exaggerate too much without practicing a “what you preach” culture. Kerri-Lyn LaRosee, vice president of human capital at The Colony Group (a financial services company), offers good advice in this regard. “We encourage businesses to launch one or two initiatives that promote diversity and awareness.” Implementing too many programs at once can be overwhelming and may not allow you to authentically connect your employees to growth opportunities. ”

According to Kerri-Lyn, all employees must feel that they have a voice and that the company is held accountable for creating an inclusive environment. “Corporate governance must embrace diversity and provide the resources and commitment to grow the future workforce, and mentoring is critical to the success of any diversity initiative,” says -t it.

In summary, the best way to start is to educate, prioritize and make sure you start with a measured plan. It is crucial to start internally and not focus immediately on the recruitment of diversity.

3. Allow your employees to be themselves and create programs to achieve what matters to them

Diversity and inclusion are not, as we have already mentioned, a recruitment objective. Companies must first ensure that they have an inclusive culture.

Mersana Therapeutics, a life sciences company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a good example of a successful business. Mersana is a company of 80 people in which women represent 50% of their workforce, which is very rare in the world of biotechnology. Caryn Crasnick Maloney, Director of Human Resources, says she starts at the top because Mersana’s CEO is a woman – but she goes beyond it with a lot of internal effort to ensure transparency of opinions, backgrounds and experiences . ,

“We encourage people to be themselves and we celebrate people for who they are,” says Caryn. They do it with programs that allow employees to lead and focus on things that matter to them (not in a top-down fashion, as most companies do). These include employee-driven charities such as Jimmy Fund Walk, employees engaged in green initiatives, personalized lunches and learning, or even a group of knitwear created by employees.

“Although we share the same goals, Mersana employees have different backgrounds and these informal sessions foster a common understanding of what our colleagues are focused on,” says Caryn. “We think there are other ways to share personal interests outside of work: an employee recently made a brief trip through the history, cuisine, culture and language of Italy. how people bring their personal story to work every day and how it affects their work. ”

Bluebird Bio also has programs that are just bothering you, not big money investments to start with. These include a diversity and inclusion team as well as teams such as Women’s Influence Leadership Development (WILD), bProud, which supports LGBTQ staff, veterans, Hispanic, Chinese and African-American actors. “During Black History Month, Pride Month, and others, we publish information about” nest “so that people can easily learn about people who are different,” says Emily .

Last but not least, the Colony Group launched Her Wealth®, an initiative that gives women the confidence and financial resources to take control of their money and assets. As part of Her Wealth®, they created a scholarship to promote women in the financial sector. This annual performance-related bursary is awarded to women who qualify for a CFP®, a CFA or a CPA. ”

4. Once you have developed an inclusive culture, make sure you have a diverse recruitment strategy and measure your results.

Bluebird Bio also uses its diversity and inclusion efforts in recruitment. “We also add” b diverse “in each interview scorecard to see if the potential candidate brings it to the group, which makes it even stronger.” The dashboard also includes the “must bbb”, such as fat b (fire), b light (brain), b itself (mojo), and more. These are on all dashboards and the hiring manager adds non-technical and technical skills. Outside of any skill, the interviewer can lift the thumb, lower the thumbs, neutralize or select a star if the candidate really shines in that area.

Bluebird Bio also prepares investigators to make sure they are looking for the right things – and check their prejudices at the door. Here is a note that each interviewer receives:

In addition, they hope to be able to submit blind applications later this year to avoid prejudices in the early stages of recruitment. This would exclude the name, current business and school of the candidate.

The company also measures, as it does with the voluntary data from the US Equal Opportunities Commission (EEOC), whether the percentage of applicants from different diversity groups is the percentage of these groups. “We seem to be very good here,” Emily says, adding that the company continues to learn and is still trying to improve.

While most companies have the best intentions, many obviously learn what they can do to be effective in diversity and inclusion. For growing businesses that are doing too fast, it is often easy to choose specific skills or experiences that you normally seek in a job, without thinking about diversity or different backgrounds and experiences. A lesson that Bluebird Bio considers valuable.

“If you focus on diversity and hope to recruit people who may not have followed the usual path to your business, then you need an appetite for someone who is smart, but not necessarily with the same experience. ” he must intervene directly. There must be a strong belief in the tradeoff between the experience and perspective of another candidate, “says Emily. This way of thinking will greatly expand your pool of candidates and provide opportunities to give your company new ways of thinking, backgrounds and varied experiences.

5. Understand the power of diversity in your efforts to create talent brands

Another lesson is that it is important to share and promote your employer brand to show diversity in your presentation. When people look at a business, the key question is, “Do I care?” In fact, answering this question with “yes” is difficult if a potential candidate does not see anyone like himself in research.

Mersana Therapeutics, Bluebird Bio and The Colony Group do an excellent job of sharing a very diverse culture in their branding efforts, which has allowed them not only to retain versatile talents, but also to win them.

Here are some examples:

Fight for diversity, but do not expect overnight change

According to Kerri-Lyn, it is important not to wait for change immediately. “As we promote and accept diversity, we realize that change does not happen overnight,” she says. “As we continue to evolve towards a more just and representative society, it is important to treat all employees with fairness, dignity and respect.”

If your internal culture is working towards a more diverse and inclusive culture, you can not expect to be perfect immediately. Efforts like these take time, investment and consistency. Taking into account the differences and taking into account the uniqueness of your employees and their experiences ultimately help to anchor that tone culturally. Caryn of Mersana Therapeutics says eloquently: “We have learned to be open to all possibilities, to listen to each other and to be stronger as a team than individuals.”

It’s a solid board of three companies that really work hard on their diversity and inclusion efforts. To have a truly diverse and inclusive business, you need business training, investment, and new ways of thinking about attitudes and culture. I learned a lot from these companies writing this article and I love seeing these examples in action. None of these initiatives require big budgets or thousands of employees or big brands – just the time, the effort and the intention to integrate better.

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