5 More Ways Your Small Business Can Attract Diverse Talent

Einstein is credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” The same might be said of stagnant businesses. In order to grow, you have to think differently. That’s the idea behind having a diverse workforce. You input different ways of looking at things and out come new ideas to grow your business.

So how do you attract diverse talent to your small business? Start by considering these ideas.

It Makes Business Sense

There are societal reasons to have a diverse staff, but there are also economic benefits for your business. Take a look at these stats from SCORE on the business benefits of diversity:

  • Diversity leads to better financial performance – Ethnically-diverse companies are 33% more likely to outperform. Those who aren’t are 29% more likely to underperform.
  • Diverse teams are more innovative – Companies with above-average diversity earned 45% of revenue from innovation. Those below average earned only 26%.
  • Diverse teams make better and faster decisions – Decisions are made two-times faster and with half the number of meetings. And the decisions deliver 60% better results.
  • Diversity impacts recruiting and retention costs – 67% think diversity is important in accepting a job offer. 72% would leave for a company they think is more inclusive.

Of course to realize these benefits, companies need to foster a culture of inclusion once they’re hired. Then all employees will feel empowered to contribute ideas.

Widening Your Pool of Diverse Applicants

Gone are the days when you could post your vacancy on a job website and expect to attract a wide range of applicants. It takes a more directed approach now. Think of it as promoting your business to a new target market. You want to find them where they are and present your best possible case.

Remember to think broadly about diversity. It’s more than demographic characteristics like gender or race. It might also include education/training, veteran status, problem-solving style or life experiences.

Here are some ideas:

  • Stick with a consistent interview – You want every applicant to get a fair shake. So use the same criteria to evaluate each. Ask everyone the same interview questions using the same process. That makes it easier to compare results.
  • Participate in career fairs – Employment fairs are a great way to attract and preliminarily evaluate a large number of candidates at one time. And fair sponsors do the work to get them there. But the key is choosing the right fair. College fairs tend to attract younger applicants. Community fairs are often held in neighborhood centers or churches. Participating in a variety of fairs helps you connect with different segments so you cultivate a wider pool.
  • Economize your job description – Does your description contain a “nice to have” that  really isn’t required for the job? If so, you might be driving away some applicants. The  Harvard Business Review reports men will apply if they meet only 60% of the qualification. But women will apply only if they meet 100%. Limit your description to the essential requirements so you don’t scare off some applicants.
  • Post in targeted job sites – Just like you market differently to attract different customers, you’ll want to post your job openings in websites that target unique segments. For example, Higherpurpose targets service men and women, and Workforce50 targets applicants age 50 and over. Here are Fit Small Business’ picks for their Top 12 Diversity Job Boards.
  • Sponsor events or programs with diverse participants – One reason you may not get a diverse applicant pool is those candidates don’t know you. So look for ways to increase your visibility. For example, one restaurant sponsored a welcome event for culinary students at a local community college. It was a way to establish relationships with younger people that they could draw on for future applicants.

It makes business sense to diversify the talent you have working in your small business. See if one of these ideas can help you attract a wider pool of employees who can help your business grow.

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