What Staffing Industry CEO’s Need to Understand About Diversity

Diversity is a hot topic, and it affects every industry, including staffing. The Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA)’s Diversity List includes 137 diversity-owned staffing businesses, such as A Helping Hand staffing agency, owned by an African American woman.

What is Diversity?

Diversity means a wide range of differences within your workforce. The term includes a difference in skin colour, faith, gender, and sexuality, as well as disability, mental health, and neurodiversity.

Hand in hand with diversity, you have inclusion, and being an inclusive employer is essential these days. Excluding anyone based on differences such as race or disability is in breach of anti-discrimination rules, and it may well alienate potential employees, customers or clients. It’s also bad for business and will bring you bad press.

Why is a Lack of Diversity a Problem?

Having a white male workforce is problematic because it is exclusionary and does not represent the whole body of humanity. People from differing backgrounds or with differing beliefs or abilities bring a wealth of experience and new ideas to the table.

If your workforce is too straight, too white, and too male, you’re likely to come across as discriminatory and unfair. In the current political climate, any form of discrimination is looked at quite harshly, and you could end up dealing with negative press attention. Some people will actively boycott exclusionary companies, and a poor representation of the diversity of the human race looks bad for your business.

A lack of diversity can also be a problem for the day-to-day running of your business because you’re missing the various viewpoints and life experiences of several major groups. People of diverse faiths and sexualities bring a lot to the table, and people with disabilities are often more likely to continue progressing their careers at the same company. People living with disabilities also tend to stay with the same employer for longer.

How is Diversity Beneficial to the Bottom Line?

A study by McKinsey shows that a diverse workforce is excellent for business, with companies in the top quarter for racial and gender diversity performing up to 35% better. A diverse workforce more accurately reflects the diversity of your consumer base, and it opens doors to other markets.

I spoke with leading diversity consultant and CEO of Greer Consulting, Jason Greer last week via Facebook Messenger to get his take on how diversity affects purchasing decisions and the company’s bottom line.

“Prizing diversity in the workplace is not just about “checking the boxes” as much as it is a method of driving your competitive advantage. Consider this, there are major companies in a variety of markets who only market to certain demographic without realizing all of the money they are leaving on the proverbial table because customers want to do business with organizations that speak their language; value their respective cultures and make a demonstrable effort to cater to their needs. This is America. People want to spend money, but discerning buyers only want to spend money with companies that walk the walk when it comes to prioritizing diversity.” said, Greer.

If you’re unsure how diverse your workforce is, consider running an internal diversity audit. You can protect your employees’ privacy and make the survey anonymous so that your staff feel secure enough to answer honestly. You can also try running a quick glance across your office and seeing how many white or male faces there are. However, relying on this entirely is a bad idea, as many aspects of diversity cannot be easily spotted, such as neurodiversity and disability.

Many younger employees and the next generation of employees that are sitting in classrooms today value diversity and have been educated to embrace it. Thousands of young people identify as being on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, and thousands more are neurodiverse or live with a disability. To alienate all the potential talent within these communities can only be bad for your staffing business.

People living with disabilities, or those who identify as neurodiverse, are often innovative problem-solvers by nature, which can be helpful to your business.

What Can We Do About Diversity in the Staffing Industry?

The best way to improve diversity in the staffing and recruiting industry is to offer positions exclusively to members of diverse groups or advertise jobs in more diverse places. For example, you can offer a position for a member of an ethnic minority or an LGBTQIA+ employee. On the other hand, you can market your job opportunities to these groups specifically to attract more applicants.

Another great way of improving your workplace diversity is to add and enforce anti-discrimination policies. Simply creating the policy isn’t enough; you’ll need to stand by it if and when someone makes a complaint. This is hugely beneficial, though, as it creates an inclusive, welcoming workplace for a wide variety of people, and your staff can feel safe and comfortable at work. You’ll see increased productivity and staff that remain at your company for longer.

Diversity in the staffing and recruiting industry doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Managing diversity and inclusive policies can help boost your business, increase staff productivity, and encourage new talent with excellent ideas. Your staff will work for you longer and progress their careers with you instead of moving on to a competitor. Diversity isn’t something you need to fear or worry about; in fact, it can be an asset to your business.

“A diverse and inclusive environment is no longer optional; it’s imperative. Moreover, it is much more compelling and profitable than a homogeneous one.” Staffing industry expert and AkkenCloud CEO, Giridhar Akkineni.

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