How can you as a company secure more diversity when you invite new people inside?

By Hanne de Linde

We are all aware by now that it will serve us, our team, our company and the society if we make sure to get a high degree of diversity in our organisations. Not as an act of pinkwashing but actually as a sound and simple business logic to ensure that the people you are in the workplace matches the people that you want to serve outside the organisation. Ad an example: If you are selling to the Spanish market you want to make sure you have people onboard representing that market or if you are selling to hospitals or caretakers, you make sure to have that target group represented in you company.

We know from research that a high degree of diversity in your teams will give you the best basis for making the right decisions and keeping your innovative edge.

This means you want to make sure you make a very thorough analysis before you recruit new people. Ask yourself - who are we today in this team? Where do we resemble each other a lot? Analyse educational backgrounds, age, gender, and location (do you all live in the same area, wear the same clothes and eat the same food?) as well as the current business requirements. What is it that you are not facing today as a company? Where are your blind spots?

The blind spots are the most difficult, and by definition very hard to find by yourself. Therefore, it’s recommended to reach out and ask somebody outside of the organisation. What is it that we do not face today, and what is it that we may be blind to?

Next is to make sure to get the people onboard who are exactly what you need to progress and develop your company. The plausible candidates could be difficult to find and attract, so be persistent and invest in this part of the process. Maybe you have to be extra mindful of how you represent your company in order to be able to attract new candidates -  what do you say that reaches forward and includes people who may not look and think like yourself at a first glance?

It is of strategic importance to get the right people onboard, and a failure could cost a lot of time and energy, but it will also be a missed opportunity and a delay in developing the next business idea or strategy. Make sure you invest in this, and please measure how good you are at attracting new candidates. If you are not content with your results, it may be time to reach out and get help.

Lastly, when you have succeeded in landing candidates that represent a high degree of diversity, then your job is moving into a new phase. It’s important to include this new person in your company AND at the same time continue the work for diversity, and make sure the new ideas of the new colleague are being listened to and taken seriously.

If you start recruiting new and diverse profiles, there is a good likelihood that you will need to make an extra effort to onboard and develop. They may feel that they are not fitting in, and not intuitively matching the company. That is a natural consequence of opening up to more diversity. The leadership task is then to take inclusion very seriously. Will your new employee need a mentor, a buddy or a coach as a support for the first 100 days, or will the receiving organisation need to become extra conscious of how they open up to new approaches, ideas and thoughts. The team may have to break some long established patterns that are not even conscious, and you have to make sure that all of this creates synergy and even better results at the end of the day by being very precise about what it takes to really invite diversity inside your organisation.

Read more about MUs Inclusion and Diversity commitment here.