Updated: Feb 16
As you prepare to expand your workplace, it’s a smart idea to think about how you will create an inclusive environment. Not only should your business be hospitable for women but also to seniors, veterans, people of color, and folks with disabilities. These tragically under-valued workers bring a lot to the table, and they can enhance your business in ways you never imagined. Ready to get started? Here are some tips.
Change up your recruitment techniques.
When you’re recruiting for a new position, there is a good chance that you do one of two things: put out an ad or go through an employment agency. While nothing is inherently wrong with either of these, you’ll have a better chance at jumping headfirst into a diverse pool of workers if you stick with freelancers. Freelance workers are available within your community, and they come pre-packaged with the experiences you need to make your business a success.
Offer remote opportunities
As the experts at Women Who Slay explain, many women prefer to work from home at least part-time because it allows them to balance their career and their family. Similarly, seniors and people with disabilities who may have a hard time getting around will appreciate being able to stick close to home. A remote work environment was nearly unheard of a decade ago, but this is not a passing trend. There are more remote employees today than ever before, and offering this opportunity means you are not necessarily limited to the talent available nearby.
Actively look for diversity.
While it might sound obvious, many businesses do not actively seek out diversity. Make sure that your candidates know that you are more than open to those that do not fit the traditional mold of a young and eager worker. Keep in mind, as HireRight points out, that older workers are steady and reliable and can even mentor the younger members of your workforce. Veterans are likewise dependable and come with the added benefit of already knowing how to thrive in intense situations. Don’t be shy about noting that you’re looking for these demographics.
Having seniors on board to mentor your younger workforce is an excellent way to create a strong foundation. But you can also offer internships and apprenticeship programs for younger workers in your community. High school and college students, for example, can learn from your entire organization and will have an opportunity to channel their energies into something positive. This is especially important in economically depressed areas, where youth are at risk of falling into a cycle of poverty and/or gang violence.
Eliminate discriminatory features.
This is a broad net, but reducing the ways that your company inadvertently discriminates against people is one of the most important things you can do. SHRM suggests, among other things, making sure that your computer systems and building are accessible for people of all ability levels. You will also want to lose discriminatory HR policies; this might include removing verbiage about “distracting” hairstyles, which might be a red flag to women of color who wish to maintain their naturally wavy hair. You can also change the way you hire; this goes back to actively recruiting people from diverse backgrounds. Make sure that your hiring managers are held accountable and are encouraged to move past racial and gender biases.
Ultimately, when your workplace is good for everyone, it’s a better place for women overall. Women crave a human connection, and we build relationships based on trust and mutual respect. When you have an environment where people of different backgrounds and abilities come together, these relationships can thrive. At the end of the day, you win because your business is stronger and you have the best talent available.
Image via Pixabay
By Lindsey Weiss