The Benefits of a Diverse Workforce



“When we listen and celebrate what is both common and different, we become a wiser, more inclusive, and better organization.”

— Pat Wadors, Head of HR at LinkedIn

With London being such a multicultural area, you would think that finding diversity in the workplace would be a given, something that just happened naturally when employing people to work for your early stage startup. Unfortunately, though, this is often untrue.

Diversity in startups can add varied ideas and viewpoints to a workplace and boost productivity as well as company reputation. But you may not know that there are actually many other positive benefits that can be achieved when having a diverse workforce. What are they? I hear you cry. Don’t worry, we’re going to go through the benefits of having a varied workforce as well as ways in which you can ensure you’re hiring from a diverse candidate pool. Let’s have a look.

Improved productivity

A diverse company can lead to greater productivity whilst working. Diversity brings lots of different talents together and when every one of them are working towards a similar goal, the outcome is stronger; backed with different insights and ideas.

Reduced employee turnover

Losing a valued member of the team and having to then search for a replacement is both time consuming and far from cost-friendly. When an employee feels appreciated and not singled out in the workplace, they are less likely to leave and, in a nutshell, this reduces employee turnover as you find yourself with a dedicated and loyal member of staff.

Encourages a wider range of skills

Startups that have a diverse team inevitably form a bank of specific and helpful skills that come from different backgrounds. When having more knowledge and talents available, startups are able to house a larger range of services to offer their clients. Diversity in culture means diversity in skills. Simple.

Improved company reputation

A startup that is known to embrace different strings of diversity instantly entices a wider range of candidates for its vacancies. Diverse startups are seen as more progressive and therefore more candidates want to work there.

A diverse set of skills and abilities allows startups to provide excellent service to customers on a global basis because the employees are able to relate to their clients better and even on a more personal level.

Reduction of racism, homophobia, sexism, etc.

It’s 2019 and unfortunately, problems like racism, homophobia, and sexism are still very much around, but that doesn’t mean you have to bring it into the work environment. When housing a diverse team, you’re in turn exposing your employees to backgrounds they might never have been exposed to before. You’re basically ensuring that all your staff become educated in new cultural insights and also build relationships with people outside of their own circle. This reduces negative emotions surrounding stereotypes and stigmas like racism, homophobia, and sexism.

So, what we’re saying is…

When hiring potential candidates for your startup it’s a smart move to ensure you employ from a diverse range of people. You’re creating a safe environment for individuals to work in and also by doing so you’re guaranteeing that your team is made up of skilled and culturally diverse people. But, how can you ensure that you’re hiring a diverse workforce? Just check out these five steps:

Step 1: Tweak job postings to attract more diverse candidates

Language is important to attract a diverse candidate pool. A study on job postings found that using more masculine-type words like ‘dominate’ were less appealing to female applicants. This is easily rectifiable. For example, the masculine word ‘determined’ is not as receptive as the word ‘dedicated’. Check out the gender bias evident in certain words using this tool

Step 2: Foster a culture of diversity

Even the best efforts to increase diversity will be useless with companies that don’t have a workforce that supports and invite diversity. Most women leave their jobs due to issues with maternity leave, flexibility and not enough pay to cover childcare costs. Many also cite discrimination related to gender, race, or sexuality. Employers need to have a team that both accepts and supports diversity- this can be achieved with diversity training days that teaches employees how to embrace different cultures through inclusion efforts and team dynamic exercises. (Source)

Step 3: Use personality assessments to recruit from a diverse candidate pool

The usual criteria asked during applications such as what school they went to and who they’re connected with can often discourage people and therefore decrease diversity.

Both valid and reliable, personality assessments are a great way to measure candidates motivations, traits, and skills. These assessments increase diversity because they don’t show adverse control. That means that the personality scores do not differ for minority group members.

Step 4: Use sourcing methods that contain diverse pipelines.

To increase the number of diverse applicants in your pipeline, take full advantage of third-party websites to post your vacancies on. Linkedin’s data found that 74% of women are less likely to use their networks for job searching and more inclined to search on online job boards and websites.

In addition, employers can provide candidates with ways to find more information on your company and staff. A good way to do this is by creating a unique page that showcases your company’s culture, leadership, and employees. Do this by taking a look at the pictures and videos already on your startup’s website. Do these pictures show a diverse team? If not, why, and how can I change this?

Step 5: Blind applications

The idea behind this is to remove the candidates name from their resume. Doing this ensures that the recruiters make decisions that are uninfluenced by unconscious biases of the candidates race and gender. Employers are beginning to take this one step further by also removing graduation year, university names and even addresses.