A commitment to diversity and inclusion takes deliberate steps beyond willingness and words.
For many years, hiring and maintaining a diverse workforce has become a moral imperative for businesses. Now it’s also an economic necessity as businesses face a record high global talent shortage. In today’s war for talent, the strongest businesses will also be the most diverse and inclusive.
Fostering a diverse workforce takes more than words and a willingness to grow. It takes deliberate actions and a strategy from business leaders. Below are steps that businesses can take to become more inclusive now and into the future.
Use assessment for hiring and promoting
The traditional ways of building and promoting a workforce based on gut instincts can be riddled with unconscious bias. A more equitable way to level the playing field is to assess candidates with data. “Science-based assessments are the most accurate and reliable tool for placing the right person in the right job,” says Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic Chief Talent Scientist at ManpowerGroup. “As well as testing technical skills, assessments measure human strengths that are critical predictors of success such as how rewarding someone is to deal with, their ability to do the job and their willingness to work hard.” Businesses have a long way to go on this front, with only 49% of workers globally have been assessed, according to ManpowerGroup research, Closing the Skills Gap: Know What Workers Want. Furthermore, 81% of those who have been assessed report higher job satisfaction versus 65% of those who have not.
Offer schedule flexibility
For hiring and promoting women into leadership, this is especially key. Workers want flexibility — and that means all things to all women and men. This can mean nontraditional work hours with flexible start and end times that counter the rush hour, options to Work from Home (WFH) or Work from Wherever (WFW), condensed four-day work weeks or five-hour workdays that peak productivity and preserve the weekend, and parental leave that balances family and care and can be worth more than pay. Especially in the digital age, work can get done in so many ways. Productivity beats presenteeism. Businesses can attract top talent by asking what type of schedule works best for them.
Provide training for growth
The next generation of leaders are already in the workforce. But are businesses training and preparing to create more diversity at the top of their organizations? By 2050, there will be no racial or ethnic majority in the United States—diversity will be the norm. If an organization wants to be competitive in this landscape 30 years from now, they need to start thinking about creating a more inclusive culture through mentorship programs, hiring beyond traditional talent pools and widening their pipelines, and preparing for the new future of jobs.