Those who consider diversity when selecting candidates can profit from the various perspectives of the employees in the working world. Read on to find out how you can manage this best and where the challenges lurk.
Diversity recruiting: the definition
Under the catchword "diversity recruiting", also known as “diversity hiring”, is the strategy of employing various people across all areas of a company who differ as far as possible in terms of their background, sex, age, marital status or disability. Religious or other aspects of one’s world view can also play a role. Regardless of their personality traits, all people should also have the equal opportunity to develop further in their career.
Diversity recruiting is therefore about understanding the potential of diversity in the workforce, supporting equal opportunity, valuing cultures and backgrounds and, at the same time, profiting from the individuality of each single person. A diverse team is ideally made up of people from different sections of the population who are of various ages and come from varying socio-economic backgrounds.
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Few companies with a diversity strategy
According to a survey from Randstadt, in collaboration with ifo Institute (German), among 600 human resource decision-makers in German companies, just 9 per cent have declared their intention to support diversity when it comes to filling vacancies, and 8 per cent are at least planning this.
When companies have a strategy for empowering diversity, in terms of winning over candidates, it means they focus on aspects of diversity starting with nationality and sex, followed in third place by age and then inclusion. Religion and world views, social background and sexual orientation are secondary.
Various advantages of a heterogeneous workforce – and a few challenges
Remember that diversity recruiting is much more than just a marketing strategy through which a company can present itself as being open-minded and modern. A heterogeneous workforce can bring along numerous concrete advantages with it:
- As the survey Diversity in Personnel Recruiting (German) from ifo Institute and the job platform Indeed in the year 2023, companies which consider diversity when hiring can more quickly fill vacancies.
- Several surveys show that diverse teams work more creatively, develop more ideas and thus show to have a higher ability to be innovative.
- Diversity management reinforces employee loyalty (German) and employee satisfaction, which reduces personnel turnover within companies.
- Diversity recruiting helps to create a more positive reputation, both as an employer brand and for the entire brand image.
- Employees of different ethnicities and nationalities can be leveraged by the company for international markets, for instance as a native speaker in customer care or in sales.
- Diverse teams are better able to assess the needs of diverse target groups.
Establishing diversity, however, can also be a challenge within a company – mainly when the workforce has been very homogeneous to date. In such cases is a comprehensive onboarding process, which integrates new employees in a targeted way, highly recommended. What’s more, not all employees want to work in diverse teams. Some only flourish among colleagues who are similar to themselves in many ways. On top of this, HR departments tend to employ people solely based on their diversity traits – thus presumably neglecting candidates who are better suited for the job.
5 tips for successfully getting started
To successfully make the switch to a more diverse company, there are a few recommended actions when it comes to recruiting:
1. Adjust job ads
Generally speaking, all job ads should be free of discrimination. If you are looking for more employees for your company who are from various cultures, or are a fairly new company looking for older colleagues, you can communicate this in the job ad. According to Section 5 of the German General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) (German), a preference is permitted when it is used to balance out an imbalance in skills. Formulations such as “We particularly look forward to receiving applications from people with a migrant background” or “It would be nice if you can contribute intercultural competence” lead to more diversity.
2. Use blind hiring
Companies can communicate in the job ad that they would like for the applicant to be anonymous, without a photo and their correct name. With the use of blind hiring, looks and sex are blended out until the interview, during which the candidate’s experience and know-how are focused on.
3. Set up employer branding for diversity
If you would like to showcase your company as an attractive employer towards the public, you can set up your employer branding for diversity. Persons with personality traits that are different and varied as far as possible should be shown in image films, the diversity of the workforce can be focused on at trade shows, and employees as brand ambassadors should be as diverse as possible.
4. Create barrier-free working conditions
People with disabilities must be able to move around just as freely at the workplace as everyone else. Language barriers should also not be a reason, generally speaking, for rejecting candidates. At least internally, English can be introduced as the corporate language.
5. Request feedback from employees
Only by gaining feedback from all employees can the various needs and perspectives be captured. Anonymous surveys, employee meetings or suggestion boxes can give insights into how diversity is lived within the company and if discrimination plays a role in everyday business.