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What does diversity and inclusion in the modern workplace mean? Svensen Neighbour Recruiting Partner, Shannon Neighbour, explains what it means to operate a diverse and inclusive organization.

Neighbour says that diversity and inclusion means to “have a workplace that is comprised of human differences in an environment that supports and values these differences.”

Diversity can range from ethic background, to religious beliefs, to age, to social class, etc. More and more, employers are working on initiatives to increase diversity within the workforce. A company with a diverse workforce brings deeper connections to a broader client base and strengthens competitive position by having team members bring unique ideas to the table.

Diversity is the “who” and inclusion is the “what.”

As an employer, it is not enough to simply say that you support diversity and inclusion within your organization. Tangible, quantifiable plans must be put in place to not only attract a diverse talent pool, but also create an environment where everyone feels valued and respected in their work environment. A structured plan will not only help with attraction, recruitment, and onboarding, but also with retention, long-term employee development, and succession planning. A happy, thriving workforce means greater long-term success for a company.

Start with a plan.

What can companies do to attract a more diverse workforce? How can that diverse workforce become more inclusive?

Start by uncovering gaps in the HR process. By looking at the various stages of the HR lifecycle, you will be able to identify where you employ a less diverse talent pool. Look at attraction, recruitment, and succession planning.

Not attracting a diverse talent pool? Consider re-evaluating aspects of the job requirements to make it more inclusive (i.e. flexible hours, ability to work from home).

Is a diverse talent pool not making it through the interview process? Consider why diverse candidates are being eliminated from consideration and if this something that can be re-evaluated.

Are internal candidates who are being considered for promotions within the company, diverse? If not, consider why this may be – are your internal processes around promotions quantifiable? Have you conducted effective employee reviews and understand the long-term goals of all employees? Do you have a good plan to welcome back employees who have taken extended time off work – for example, an employee who has taken time off for maternity/paternity leave?

By recognizing and appreciating the differences in others, you create the foundation for an inclusive workplace.

-          Svensen Neighbour Recruiting