Sometimes hiring to fit company culture can come at the expense of hiring to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. However, there are ways to ensure you build a diverse team while still creating a consistent company culture that works well for your small business.
By Bryan Williams
In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, organizations are increasingly recognizing the importance of both cultivating a healthy company culture and embracing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in their hiring practices. While these two aspects may seem distinct, they are interconnected and can greatly impact an organization’s success.
Let’s make one thing clear: maintaining a healthy company culture is not about creating simulations of sameness in appearance or personality, it’s also not about pizza parties and ensuring that everyone is happy each day of work; it’s about discovering the common goals, motivators, and passions within the team and fostering an environment that joins forces to build something together.
Building a diverse team is not just about ticking boxes; it’s about fostering an inclusive environment that values different perspectives, approaches and experiences. While maintaining a strong company culture is crucial, it is equally important to prioritize DEI in the hiring process. Let’s explore how organizations can strike a balance between company culture and DEI when growing a diverse team.
Before embarking on the journey of building a diverse team, it is essential to have a clear understanding of your company culture and to have the buy-in of your staff. Now, defining your company culture can’t be a stretch goal, it must be realistic, darn near to who you truly are already. Once the culture is declared, it must be drenched in the interworking of all that the company does. The cultural appropriateness conversation should influence staff promotions, marketing, meetings, even software to be used within the company—and yes, it should influence hiring too! Once you have defined your core values, mission and vision, you can identify the behaviors and attitudes that align with them. This will serve as a foundation for evaluating potential candidates and ensure they can contribute positively to your established culture.
Diversity goes beyond visible characteristics such as race, age, gender or ethnicity. While balance in visible characteristics is important, companies also need diversity in ways of thinking, problem-solving and approaching work projects. When hiring, consider candidates who bring unique perspectives, different skill sets, and varied approaches to collaboration while fitting your culture in goals, motivators and passions. Diversity of thought can foster innovation, creativity and better decision-making within your team.
To attract a diverse pool of candidates, it is crucial to implement inclusive hiring practices. Review your job posts, ensuring they are inclusive of different backgrounds and free from biased language. Fill job posts with words and phrases that embrace and embody the company culture. Make sure to understand your bias and create systems where your biases will be discouraged from making the final decisions. Practices such as blind resume screening, scorecards, your unique employee avatar profile, and diverse hiring teams aid in minimizing unconscious biases during all phases of the hiring process. Expand your recruitment channels to reach industry specific groups of underrepresented communities and consider partnering with organizations that focus on diversity and inclusion, such as chambers or colleges.
So you have hired a diverse candidate… you are finished, right? Not at all! The work doesn’t stop once you have hired a diverse team. It is crucial to provide an inclusive onboarding process. Onboarding isn’t simply transferring information to a new team member. It is an invitation to a new cultural way of working. It is a training ground to create the most success. Assign mentors or buddies to new hires who can help them navigate the company culture and provide support. Offer company culture training to all employees, promoting awareness and understanding of different perspectives. This will create a welcoming environment where everyone feels valued and included from day one.
To leverage the diversity within your team, foster a culture of collaboration and open communication. Encourage employees to share their ideas, opinions, and concerns without fear of judgment or discipline. Implement regular team-building activities that promote cross-functional collaboration and create opportunities for employees to learn from one another.
Building a diverse team while maintaining a healthy culture is an ongoing process that requires continuous evaluation and adaptation. Regularly assess your hiring practices, employee satisfaction and team dynamics to identify areas for improvement. Seek feedback from your employees and create channels for them to voice their concerns or suggestions and buy-in. This will help you refine your approach and ensure that your company culture remains inclusive and supportive.
It is a challenging yet valuable journey to bring more diversity, equity and inclusion to all aspects of your business—from hiring to onboarding; culture to brand; labor to management. It must start from the core and emanate outward to how you do everything. Remember, diversity is not just a buzzword; it is a catalyst for innovation, creativity and long-term growth.
Bryan Williams is a DEI Consultant at Zephyr Connects, the only recruiting studio that focuses solely on small businesses who desire employees who fit their culture, core values, team dynamics and goals. We charge an affordable flat fee and work tirelessly until we find you your Unique Fit™. Contact us at email@example.com to learn more.