Thursday, September 13, 2007

Seeking Diversity in the Workplace

By Dakotta Alex

Have any of the employees within your company ever asked you why diversity is not a priority? Do you find yourself interviewing the same type of candidate on a regular basis? Do you think you are hiring innovative employees or just those who will only do what is asked of them? If so, you should consider changing your hiring practices to include interviewing and hiring those who come from differing educational, social, religious, cultural, and industrial backgrounds.

Since the mid-1990’s, the business world has become much more global. Companies are opening offices and manufacturing plants in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. Hiring employees who come from these areas that understand the culture can only benefit company profits. But many are still anxious about hiring those who are from other countries or whose background may differ from their own.

While changing your entire hiring process will take time, there are small changes you can make in order to bring in talented people with diverse cultural backgrounds so they may become an integral part of the sales a company will earn from year to year.

Changes in recruitment

How you recruit candidates determines the types you will end up interviewing and hiring. Old stand-bys include college job fairs, ads in newspapers, and receiving referrals from other employees or recruiters. While you should still practice these methods, have you ever considered putting an ad in a foreign newspaper? How about attending a job fair in Turkey? One strategy that may prove fruitful is building your network outside the U.S.

If you employ travelling to another country in search of candidates as a recruitment strategy, research which countries have the best candidates for your company. This will help narrow your search a little. Talk to current management and other employees to see if they can recommend possible candidates. Companies that conduct a lot of international business have many contacts.

Building a recruitment network outside the United States will cost more money, but if you are looking for new talent, those who are ready to work, and those who can reach a different segment of the consumer population, the money you spend today will be returned many times over.

The Internet has provided people with the means to communicate with people all over the world, yet many companies are reluctant to use the Internet as a recruiting tool. Advertise online, review resumes online, and get the candidates your company needs.

Diversity in your own backyard

If your company cannot afford the costs associated with overseas recruitment, relocation packages, and other expenses, there are other ways to drive diversity into your company’s culture. Hiring candidates that have travelled, worked overseas, or who have faced challenges in their lives that are different from other candidates can give companies insight into other cultures and the consumers who live there.

Below are a few examples of the groups you should take a closer look at:

* As more and more people complete their service in the military, they will need jobs. These candidates have travelled, have trained with different types of people, and can learn easily. Military job boards are very good places to advertise and recruit.

* Stay-at-home parents who want to go back to work after taking a few years off are also great candidates because of their role as consumers. Your company will benefit from this perspective. Parents who want to go back to work are eager to prove themselves and have a strong work ethic.

* Hiring internally will not only help you fill positions, it will also boost morale and encourage people that work for the company to stay for a longer period of time. If you have offices in different countries, send a memo or email asking other HR managers if there are any internal candidates that are interested in relocating.

* Hiring consultants to work for your company may help in recruiting those who are older and who have more experience than someone who is fresh out of college. Often, consultants have travelled and are aware of the complexities of other cultures.

Downside of diverse workplaces

Hiring those who come from different social, educational, industrial, and cultural backgrounds may make some employees fearful of their job security. Since outsourcing has become a growing trend in business over the past six years, employees, particularly those who work in IT departments, worry that their jobs might be taken away from them. While you should hire the most qualified candidates, you should ask yourself if your company is ready to accept those from other countries, religious backgrounds, and cultures to help them become members of teams and departments within the company.

Understanding diversity

Diversity does not have to be a quota of people you hire, it does not have to be extreme, and it should not interfere with hiring the very best candidates. As your company grows, you will start receiving more resumes from those who have different backgrounds, education levels, and talents. Using the tips mentioned above are ways for you to see what is out there and how you can help create a diverse working environment from which everyone benefits.

Source : Recruiting Trends


diversity-conscious said...

A healthy level of workplace diversity cannot be achieved through a "quick fix" quota scheme or a few new hires. Business must create a corporate culture that will support new hires through training, mentoring and networking opportunities for minority employees that can allow such workers to thrive for themselves and profit their employers.

outsourcing said...

Diversity -- equal parts moral concept and business imperative -- has become an increasing concern as companies organize to compete in a global and multicultural marketplace. Companies are getting the message that they have to relate to the people buying their goods, products and services.

job-agent said...

Today's diverse job seekers want to know that they got a job because of talent, not race. Many are reluctant to address ethnicity when pursuing a job if they believe that their race may become the primary reason for being considered. Though majority of companies do value diversity and talent, they need to engage in an open dialogue with the seekers themselves to address these concerns.

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