How to Encourage Diversity When Adding a New Staff Member

A diverse staff is essential in today’s marketplace. Think about your customer base. Do you sell to more than one demographic? Would you like to? If the answer is yes, then your customers need to see themselves reflected in your staffing choices. Here are some ideas to diversify your pool of applicants so you can mirror your small business’s customer base.

One way to achieve diversity is to approach it the same way you market to potential customers. Build your “staffing brand” with the target market and offer something that appeals to their needs and wants. Here are four ways to accomplish that:

  • Ask Those Who Know – Look for opportunities to ask the target group. For example, join a local LinkedIn group like the Latino Business Leaders. You can pose questions, get suggestions and even post your staff vacancy.
  • Redefine Diversity – Remember that diversity isn’t just about ethnicity. It’s also about differences in areas like communication and problem solving. When interviewing applicants, give them a real-life problem to solve. Pay attention not just to their solution but to how they arrived at it. Look for differences that complement your team.
  • Connect with Community Colleges – Many community colleges conduct career fairs for their student base, which tends to be diverse in age and background. Local businesses can participate and promote their business, often at no charge. Some offer internship partnership programs where employers can place trained students in their business.
  • Offer Flexible Work Schedules – One obstacle for some groups is the work schedule, especially for those individuals with childcare responsibilities. Flexible hours help them to address this need and still meet your staffing requirements.

Approach staffing the same way you market to customers. Increase your visibility in their community. Over time, you will build your staffing brand and attract a more diverse pool of applicants.

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