The slow roll to diversity
Despite Donald Trump’s hateful anti-Muslim rhetoric, and Rick Tyler’s “make America white again” campaign billboards, America never has been, and never will be, a white man’s country. The U.S. Census reports that, through 2050, 83 percent of growth in working-age adults will come from immigrants and their children. And yet, with the exception of service jobs, studies continue to reveal that white men dominate most professions, especially at the management level, and especially in the tech industry.
Ramping up efforts to diversify
It should be a no-brainer that having a more diverse staff is good for your business – and the research backs it up. Unique perspectives from people who have different beliefs and upbringings leads to a stronger, more innovative team, with a variety of approaches to problem solving.
For years, universities, government agencies, and nonprofits have been making a point to increase diversity, and to publicly report the demographics of their students and employees. More and more businesses are choosing to do the same. In fact, it’s starting to look a little fishy if you don’t. Major companies like Google and AIG have dedicated sections of their website that reveal their diversity statistics, and explain their strategies for increasing diversity.
Emily Smykal at Jibe has some helpful tips for companies that want to start reporting their diversity numbers. First, start by collecting accurate information about the demographics of your employees. If your staff is fairly diverse, celebrate it by sharing the good news.
If your diversity numbers leave much to be desired, it’s better to admit it, alongside a plan to increase diversity, rather than try to hide it like a shameful secret.
Take your efforts seriously
Make sure to include diversity information on your Careers page. Underrepresented candidates will be more likely to take you seriously if you address your diversity (or lack thereof) on your website. Also, use social media to talk about it, and to recruit a more diverse staff by targeting underrepresented groups. Don’t wait to get the ball rolling; every improvement counts. Diversity attracts diversity.
After all, no one wants to be the only woman, or the only racial minority in the room.
The more diversity you have on your staff, the easier it will be to increase it.
Some companies are appointing senior executives to address diversity, some even naming a Chief Diversity Officer. Dropbox, Google, and American Express all have management level employees whose sole job is to focus on increasing diversity. While your small business may not have the personnel to hire a CDO, you can at least have a diversity point person, so that someone always has their eye on the goal.
Undoing decades of gender, racial, and religious discrimination won’t happen overnight. But more and more companies are being transparent about their efforts to diversify. If your company isn’t very diverse, don’t assume that if you don’t talk about, no one will notice. Better to err on the side of transparency. At least let folks know you’re working on it.