Written by Kaela Johnson and Stephen Pedder
Commitments to diversity and inclusion in the workplace should always be at the forefront of any company’s values. To close off Diversity Month, hear from our Director of HR and Account Coordinator on how to attract diverse talent, how you can champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace every day, and the effects it can have on your business.
When drafting your job ad, you may jump straight into the skills you’re looking for, or the type of person you’d like to join the team. You may talk about the culture you’ve created in your company and how it’s important to fit in at your workplace. What you may not think about is how inclusive the words you’re using really are.
Your job ad is often the first impression a potential candidate has of your company and you want to make sure everyone feels welcome in your space. Some pitfalls can be talking about becoming ‘one of us’ and a quick look at your team on LinkedIn or your website could show a heavy majority of white males, for example. This may lead to the star candidate and the best person for the job not applying for the position if they do not feel welcome, especially if you’re asking them to become one of you.
What you can do is focus on desired personal characteristics such as, a high care factor for clients, coworkers and self. A high level of empathy and respectfulness. An open-mind that is inclusive and trustworthy. This is much more likely to encourage candidates to apply when they see a focus on a positive and inclusive environment.
Another solution is to hire for “culture add” over culture fit. Focus on how you’re looking to add to your team by introducing new and alternative perspectives. The candidate still respects and values your company standards, while also having the ability to view the world through a different lens than maybe your current team. One benefit of this approach can be new ideas and solutions which will no doubt improve processes, outputs and even increase revenue for your company.
Think of it as a puzzle, each piece is essential for you to see the whole picture. Every piece has the same functionality but not one piece is the same. As a whole, however, you get to see everything and this is just like a diverse team; without one piece, you may not be able to have that holistic view that is often needed.
Post your jobs in forums and on websites that support minority groups.
Open and honest self-reflection can help you identify gaps in your team’s demographics. As an example, you may find you are underrepresented in Black voices around the table. The first thing to do is make sure your opportunity gets in front of the eyes of the right communities. If you’re recruiting locally, a quick Google search will often bring up great places to share your job ad.
Another resourceful place is Facebook. Groups like Monday Girl and Black Toronto support different communities and are a great place to spread the word. Even a small group can lead to connecting you with your next superstar! Take it from us — we’ve hired great employees through these groups!
A longer term tactic can be to build lasting relationships with community leaders. You often hear the best way to get a job is through networking. This works the same way with finding your next employee too. Being well connected with a variety of communities that you yourself are not a part of can help connect you with talented individuals who you may not typically come across in your day to day.
Between Gucci’s sweater that looked like blackface, Kim Kardashian’s Kimono fiasco, and Prada’s blackface keychains, there was one common denominator — a lack of representation. These incidents could have been avoidable if these brands had diverse employees weighing in on their business strategies.
Whether you’re an international company with a huge platform or an aspiring local business, having employees with a variety of perspectives who can weigh in on a company’s business, marketing and communications strategies, has many benefits. Allow all voices to be heard and valued, otherwise you might just have a crisis on your hands!
Think of it like holding up a mirror to yourself: the marketplace is a reflection of its employees. In order to see changes like more BIPOC and LGBTQ+ representation within brands’ marketing and advertising efforts, closing the influencer wage gap for BIPOC influencers and launching culturally aware products (please no more blackface… seriously) all starts with your team.
But it’s not just about hiring diverse candidates — you also have to give them a voice and a seat at the table where decisions are made. Based on past experiences, some employees are afraid to speak up or feel that their opinions are not valued. Create an environment where everyone is encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings. No matter who you are and where you come from, a workplace should be a safe space for everyone to be involved and feel welcomed.
There is a growing list of resources that are helping to improve workplace experiences, combat systemic racism and help level out the playing field for all, like The Canadian Black Standard and Hold the PRess. These are just a couple of examples that are elevating the voices of minorities and educating companies on what can be done to help companies grow in a consciously diverse direction.
Following these tips will have you swimming in the rewards of being aware, playing your part and encouraging positive change. Review your job ads, hold up your mirror and reflect on what simple adjustments you can make with diversity in mind, as a priority. Enhance your recruitment strategy and enhance your reputation!4