Diversity Recruitment Strategy Guides - Workplace Diversity: What, Why, and How?

Diversity Recruitment Strategy Guides - Workplace Diversity: What, Why, and How?

January 27, 2019 - 14 minute read -
campus-recruiting recruiting-strategy diversity


In recent years, there is a significant increase in the number of employers focusing on growing a diverse workforce by enforcing diversity recruitment strategies.

The effectiveness of diversity in the workplace has been proven. A study by BCG (Boston Consulting Group) shows that companies who recruit a more diverse workforce increase their revenue by 45%.


Companies with more diverse leadership teams report higher innovation revenue.


But what does diversity mean in the workforce?

Why is it important? What are the challenges that companies face to create diversity?

What is the best diversity recruitment strategy to acquire the best talent from diverse backgrounds?

This article will explain to you in details what Diversity Workforce means, its benefits and challenges, and offer you guides on extensive diversity recruitment strategies to help you achieve the most successful recruiting results


What is “Workplace Diversity”?

In a broader definition, diversity is the combination of various elements within a single group. In the work environment, it refers to a variety of background, skill set, experience, or even personal character. While searching for new talents, it is essential for recruiters to know what type of employees their companies need for growth.

In the work environment, diversity can be created by several features: (1) Inherent characters or (2) Acquired experiences.

Different inherent characters build a workplace that consists of people from different cultures, genders, ages, or even personal characters. On the other hand, diversity can be constructed by recruiting people with diverse expertise, acquired experiences, or skill-sets. It would help the team to optimize different sectors of the business.

Nevertheless, diversity would foster more creative, innovative, and productive work space that promote growth. Talent acquisition leaders entail to understand the business’s needs and implement effective diversity recruitment strategies to hire the right talents while promoting diversity in the organization.


Benefits of a diverse working environment

1. Boost Innovation and Creativity

A research finding claims that diversity in the work environment has a strong correlation with creativity and innovation. Diversity gives you access to a greater range of talents that will generate various ideas and perspectives to promote your organization’s growth.



In a diverse workplace, everyone will bring different things to the table. As they have distinctive views on solving problems, which are shaped by their personal characters, attributes, attitudes, or experiences. Once everyone cooperates and works together on particular issues, the team will efficiently provide solutions for a better outcome.

The diversity could also benefit in a small group task, not just in solving a complex issue. For instance, a task as simple as building a web landing page may be managed by at least three people with different expertise: web designer, developer, and marketer. The web designer would propose ideas on the aesthetic feature of the page. The developer would work on the codes and the workflows of the data. The marketer would provide feedback on whether the page is aligned with the brand or not, and suggest ways to promote the page. All of the differences that they bring would make a fully functional website. That’s how diversity in the workplace matters.

Apart from diversity in expertise, diversity in the personal character of your workforce would also improve creativity. For example, a research carried out by Catalyst in 2007 reveals that approximately 500 companies in the United State have seen the increase in their return on investment by 66% once there is at least one female in the workplace_. Why? Women are more effective in management since they pay more attention to details and small changes. This creativity would bring a different perspective to their management.


2. Optimize productivity

Along with creativity, productivity is another benefit of workforce diversity. It is not a secret that innovation leads to better productivity. Having a greater range of talent within your company would bring a diverse contribution that improves your company’s overall productivity.

By having a diversified workforce, employees will not only have more opportunity to learn from each other and improve their skills but also trigger the competitiveness within a company. Employees will need to learn, adapt, and grow to cope with emerging new talents that have distinctive features from them. From a different perspective, the more diversified workforce your team is, the more challenges you have to face. Hence, you’ll need more skills and knowledge to face the issues. Through the process, the quality of your team will increase, along with your productivity and efficiency.

Additionally, a multicultural company will grow more effectively and work more productively when it’s expanding to a new market. By having a range of culture within the business, employees eventually will have to adapt to new cultures and learn how to communicate with people from all backgrounds. After all, business is an act of people-to-people communication. When employees and business adapt to cultural differences, the risk they take on will be significantly lower than that of a business without any prior knowledge.

When having a talent that originally comes from your new target market, local knowledge and insights are factors that create success for your company in extending the market. With the prior understandings of local laws, regulations, customs, competitive landscapes, language skills, and connections from local workers, your company can boost productivity and efficiency in the new market, making your company a couple of steps ahead of the competitors.



3. Increase positive brand awareness

According to The Journal of Management Studies in 2009, there is a positive relationship between diversity and company reputation. Companies that recruit diversified workforce usually gain an outstanding reputation from employees, investors, and customers. Hence, investors and customers will feel more value in investing and purchasing services and products from these companies more than the others.


The conceptual model of Demographic Diversity in the Boardroom.



Challenges of a diverse working environment

It is clear that having a diverse work environment provides a lot of positive aspects.  However, there are also challenges that companies could face when building and sustaining a diverse working environment.



1. Cultural barrier

Frequently, intercultural communication barriers cause challenges in the work space. In any working environment, communication is the key to a productive and successful outcome. In a diverse working environment, it becomes tricky when people speak diverse languages, eat different food, and have distinctive custom traditions.

The effectiveness of diversity depends on the workers’ ability to accept and respect the differences. However, as a team consists of individuals with different backgrounds and perspectives, refusal to changes always exists. It is also undeniable that discrimination is still haunting around a diverse society. If this issue prevails in your organization, it can lead to less productivity, low work motivation, and bad brand image.

In order to build up the diversity in the workforce, employers encourage and enforce an open working environment, where commitments to accepting the differences exist. It helps the business to sort out barriers of cultures. The investment in short language courses and monthly programs is a good diversity recruitment strategy for management levels. This strategy helps businesses to raise awareness of diversity, build the bridge among generations, and improve connections among team members.


2. Generational barrier

According to the United States Department of Labour, it is projected that approximately 25% of the workforce will be over 55 years old by 2024, which results in the diversity of generations in the workforce. Along with cultural differences, management levels need to deal with multigenerational diversity.

Negative Stereotypes. Unfortunately, perceptions about different generations still exist among employees. Baby Boomers, who were born between 1946 and 1964, are frequently thought to be poor at technology skills. Other generations frequently assume that Millennials and Generation Z are short of interpersonal skills, experiences, and knowledge. The lack of understandings causes stereotypes among generations in the workplace. This issue leads to serve contempts among employees. To remove the perceptions and improve the relationship among employees, management levels need to encourage their workers to get involved in more collaborated projects. By doing this, employees from multigenerational backgrounds have more opportunities to get to know each other individually, and can learn how to appreciate each other’s knowledge and skills.

Divergent work styles. It is undeniable that various generations have different working styles that influence the productivity of the whole team works. A survey conducted by Staple Business Advantage shows that while 34% of Millennials work more efficient at home, Generation Xers and Baby Boomers are more inspired in the office.


The workplace preferences of multiple generations.
Source: HR in Asia, 2016.


Moreover, mature workers are more willing to take in assignments or projects to run with during the process. Younger employees are more likely to get involved in group works and daily feedback. Respect and allow workers to work flexible base on their preferred work styles will increase motivation and efficiency. Additionally, the arrangement of certain time frames for meetings, and the utilization of collaboration software will contribute to the effectiveness of teamwork projects.


Diversity recruitment strategy: 5 simple steps to a successful workforce

Throughout the 2017 and 2018 recruitment seasons, the phrase “effective diversity recruitment strategy”, “diversity workforce” or other similar ones are frequently at the top searches. The increase of workforce diversity will significantly keep up for the next few years as employers recognize the benefits it brings to the businesses. In order to achieve a diversified talented workforce and maximize the benefits of diversity in the workplace, recruiters will have to start with an effective diversity recruitment strategy.

Apply these 5 steps to achieve the most successful diversity recruitment outcomes for your company:


Step 1: Attract a Diverse Workforce

Create inclusive job descriptions performance

The very first factor that decides how diverse your potential candidates are is the job description. Job descriptions are actually more than just looking-for-employees posts, but statements and branding of the company. Crafting a compelling job description is essential to make your job openings stand out from the rest and help you attract the most qualified candidates.

The book ‘Lean in: Women, Work, and The will to lead’ reveals that while males apply for jobs if they think they meet 60% of requirements, females only apply if they meet 100% of the requirements. In addition, job descriptions play a crucial role in attracting potential diverse candidates, including gender heterogeneity.


The reasons why males and females do not usually apply for a job.
Source: Leadership hacks, 2014.


3 tips for a more inclusive job description:

Tip 1: Attract potential candidates through the commitments to diversity. In order to achieve this goal, including a statement showing potential candidates the company’s commitments to diversity will be useful. The statement will become powerful to candidates by mentioning employment benefits or policies that are being practiced in the workplace.

Tip 2: Create job requirements to the right diverse candidates. A job seeker spends only 49.7 seconds viewing the job descriptions before coming to decisions to apply or not. It is important for recruiters to trim the requirements down, and include the must-have ones that aim to the right potential diverse candidates.

Tip 3: Appeal to diverse candidates by making uses of neutral words. A research carried out by ZipRecruiter states that 70% of job descriptions contain gender-biased languages.


Industries that have the most gendered wording job descriptions.
Source: ZipRecruiter, n.d


In order to recruit a diverse workforce, it is essential to avoid the uses of gendered words in your job descriptions. Gender-biased words will turn off the interests and willingness of potential candidates, especially females, to apply for available positions in companies.  Instead of biased languages, such as ‘competitive’, or ‘loyal’, utilizing inclusive and general words, such as ‘motivated’, or ‘responsible’.


The uses of gender-biased languages.
Source: Maxwell Huppert, 2018.


Build and encourage diversity in the workplace

To bring positive images of your company to diverse candidates, the employees need to actively support and engage in the promotion of diversity. Especially with small-scale business, the diversity of the workforce plays a crucial role in boosting the creativity and development of the company. The organization of employees’ meetings and training, along with the implementation of beneficial policies for a diverse workforce will build up positive images to potential candidates. As a result, the companies will successfully attract more diversified applicants to work and commit.


Step 2: Identify Hiring Demands

Even though diversity plays an essential role in the development process of businesses, it does not mean that organizations need as much diversity as possible in the workplace. The main point of hiring diversified employees is to improve and maximize the working process of the whole team. Hence, potential employees have to be the right missing pieces of the whole team.

In order to find out the right candidates, recruiters should identify the hiring demands, including required skills, knowledge, and experiences.


STEP 3: Diversify your Sourcing Channels

Diversify your sourcing channels is an essential step to boost diverse recruitment strategies’ effectiveness. Sourcing channels not only function effectively to find out the most suitable candidates, but also to outreach passive ones.

LinkedIn points out that among 90% of people who are willing to learn about new opportunities, only 36% of them actively search and actually apply for job vacancies. Hence, frequently, job postings merely attract a third of the potential candidate pool. To successfully build a diverse workforce in the workplace, hiring managers should identify and come up with the suitable sourcing channels that will help them promote and attract the right targeted candidates. LinkedIn and Glassdoor are commonly used as a simple and effective sourcing channel for all types of businesses and recruitment.

In addition, there are sourcing channels that are specifically designed for the recruitment process for certain industries or requirements. For example, MOGUL is well-known for its focus on enabling women worldwide to get access to information on economic, employment and education opportunities. By utilizing this channel, hiring managers and talent acquisition leaders will increase the gender diversity of their workforce. StackOverFlow or GitHub is the largest sourcing channels to find software engineers and developers of all levels.  

It is simple nowadays for recruiting managers to search for sourcing channels during the hiring procedure. These types of channels help recruiters to source candidates based on the candidates’ knowledge and skills, rather than their cultural, expertise, or gender backgrounds. However, it is crucial for recruiters to always keep in mind of taking advantages of the right sourcing channels that meet the demands of the companies.           


Step 4: Narrow down candidates through assessments



Quality knowledge and skill assessments encourage unbiased diversity hiring process. To narrow down the number of applicants, recruiters can give out knowledge and skill assessments to further pre-qualify candidates. For example, many tech companies use skill assessment tests to examine the candidate’s technical knowledge, such as coding skill. This step will trim down to further shortlisted candidates for the 2nd interview. Since the team is looking for employees to fill specific positions, fair evaluations of knowledge and skills through tests will be helpful. The evaluations will save time and cost of companies in choosing the right potential employees.


Step 5: Select a Diverse Interviewing Team

Ensure the objectivity of the interviewing team

It is crucial for the interviewers to guarantee fairness throughout the hiring process. Even though gender and ethnic diversity are visible, sometimes they are judged unconsciously.  To ensure the impartiality of the interviewing team, recruiters should organize a meeting before the interviews. This meeting aims to achieve the agreement on common criteria in choosing qualified candidates. Additionally, training sessions on the unconscious bias during the meeting will be a good diversity recruitment strategy.  By doing this, recruiters can avoid biases throughout interviewing procedures.

Create a diverse interviewing team

The diversity within the interviewing team not only helps to avoid biases but also makes candidates feel comfortable with the working environment. The diverse recruitment strategy of creating a nice balance for the interviewing team will produce more impartial perspectives and feedback. A team with a variety of genders, expertise, and cultural backgrounds will successfully address the goals.



Bottom Line on Workplace Diversity and Diversity Recruitment Strategies

2019 is the year of growth in the diverse workforce for businesses. Overlook the cultural and generational barriers, diverse workforce brings a variety of benefits to the development of the businesses. It contributes to the boost of innovation and creativity, productivity optimization, and the increase of positive brand awareness.

Despite the importance of diversity in the work space, it is never easy for recruiters to come up with successful diversity recruitment strategies. Consider adding these 5 steps to your diversity recruitment strategy: (1) attract a diverse workforce through inclusive job descriptions and brand images, (2) identify the hiring demands, (3) narrow down candidates through assessments, (4) select diverse interviewing teams, and (5) utilize suitable sourcing channels. They should help you in getting suitable candidates to promote your workplace diversity with the skills and knowledge that will bring success to your company.

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