How do you generate a chorus of support from business owners? Simple. When we all agree that business success is predicated on finding the right people with the right skills who are the right fit for our individual business culture.
We know that the process of recruitment is the single most important function for business – get the great talent in your door and it will have a positive impact on the bottom line and the culture.
But more than that, business owners are much focused these days on achieving one of the very important goals of 21st century businesses – to achieve a diverse workforce. Diversity is undoubtedly a strong business driver – whether it be a diverse mix of men and women, age groups, international cultures, skill sets, capabilities and even opportunities.
A recent report published by Oracle Human Capital Management has affirmed in my mind, the reason that diversity means good business. As they say, “embracing a multiplicity of viewpoints and cultures drives innovation, improves decision-making, increases employee productivity and retention and leads to better service for customers.”
Your employees are surely your greatest asset and every business owner wants to draw on the strengths and insights of its great employees.
Oracle listed “best practices” for building a diverse workforce, and I’ll summarise them here:
- It is not about ticking boxes and simply complying with affirmative action initiatives. You need to build a workforce that is as diverse as your customer base and ensure you tap into all those differences to drive your business. You never know where the opportunities may arise, to broaden your business reach.
- It is a battle for talent in the 21st Century and organisations need to think outside the usual channels to find new employees. Remember that you can always find people who fit your business culture and have the right attitude. Even if they don’t have all the skills, a good training program can be a bonus in skilling up those who are the most motivated. Turn that into a plus for your team, so you don’t miss out on getting a great person into the diverse mix.
- Diversity does not begin and end with hiring. No matter how diverse your workforce, you need to continue to address both individual and collective differences throughout the entire employee lifecycle – you want them to grow with you and, in turn, your management of their talent will be a business benefit.
- As diverse as your workforce might be – remember that you need to make sure that those who feel they are ‘unique’, don’t also feel isolated from their peers and therefore feel a sense they don’t belong in the workplace. No one wants that. To promote diversity, it is important to create ways within your organisation that encourage a sense of community and inclusion.
- And finally, when it comes to diversity you can’t just walk the talk. Tell the world or people around you that your organisation stands up for diversity and you have the evidence that diversity is part of your brand. Your people are the proof.
So, in conclusion, if you are business owner wishing to bring together an even more diverse workforce to power your business, it is up to you to walk your talk.
It starts with you and you can promote diversity from your position of leadership. Only then, with your example, ensure that a culture of diversity grows through your workforce and your people and watch your business take off.
About the author
Dr Glyn Brokensha, chairman and co-founder, Expr3ss!