How You Can Create a More Diverse and Inclusive Workplace

Creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace is something that many companies are trying to prioritize. While most companies want to be more diverse, they can struggle with outlining a clear strategy. How do companies figure out a plan that sets a strong foundation and moves the needle towards improving diversity and inclusion (D&I)?

In our latest Hiring Hacks webinar, Greenhouse’s Director of Employee Experience, Melanie Oberman teamed up with 2020Shift’s CEO, Ariel Lopez to discuss the value of D&I, strategies for companies to get started, and tips towards building a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

The value of diversity and why companies should care

Putting focused effort towards D&I isn’t just a social impact initiative, but an opportunity to improve business outcomes. Ariel shares that diverse teams bring higher returns, and points to the research from McKinsey and Company that shows that gender diverse companies are more likely to outperform their competitors by 15% and ethnically diverse companies are more likely to outperform their competitors by 35%.

This improved performance has many causes. First, diverse teams can better create products that resonate with a diverse market of customers. Second, bringing together people of different backgrounds helps teams solve problems from new perspectives, which ultimately allows your business to grow and prosper. Finally, creating an inclusive culture allows employees from all backgrounds to do their best work without spending energy worrying about how to fit into the dominant culture.

Steps Greenhouse took to get started

If you’re at a company that wants to improve diversity, first know it is something you cannot do alone. Building a diverse and inclusive culture is an initiative that an organization must talk about explicitly and think about intentionally. Greenhouse’s CEO, Daniel Chait is committed to this. The first step for anyone interested in making an impact at their organization is teaming up with an executive sponsor. Having their support will make a larger impact and make your programs more likely to succeed.

At Greenhouse, to do this we needed to first share the impact an intentionally diverse and inclusive environment could have on the entire organization. Because we’re a data-driven company, we also wanted to know how to track our progress, so we set some long-term goals that we viewed as ambitious, but realistic. With those goals in mind, we created a list of initiatives we could start on quickly.

Once we prioritized what we wanted to focus on, we created goals around how to accomplish this.

Our first efforts were to:

  • Attract more diverse and qualified candidates by partnering with organizations also invested in creating professional communities

  • Screen for inclusiveness in the initial phone interview

  • Support employee-led diversity committees

  • Provide unconscious bias training

We look forward to continuing to add to this list of initiatives as we begin to see the impact of our efforts.

How you can begin your own efforts

By leveraging the community as well your internal employees, you’ll begin to see change. For companies that don’t have the resources to do all of these things listed above—start small. Start by creating a space for open dialogue. You’ll begin to notice that conversations around D&I are already happening and you can create a space to foster them.

At Greenhouse we have employee-led culture committees (some companies call these “employee resource groups”), and one of those committees is centered around diversity. This committee is employee run and open to everyone. Organizing a committee like this doesn’t take too much coordination. Find a single champion, and then create a calendar invite or start with a lunch and learn. This is something that can be done today and is extremely impactful.

Another solution Greenhouse has leveraged is using Slack as a tool for internal communication. Internally, Greenhouse has a diversity channel where leadership and employees share insightful stories, organize local events, and partner together to create social change. It’s an outlet where conversations not only feel meaningful but also supportive, especially between the NY and SF offices.

Tips for companies to prioritize diversity & inclusion

As a recruiter you’re already doing so much to get top talent to your door, but there are other strategies to bring in more diverse talent. Ariel recommends that recruiters think about their campus recruiting differently. Don’t go to the same 10 schools every year. Look at different universities and be open to students that go to alternative schools (think bootcamps like General Assembly or Flatiron School).

No matter what your recruiting measures are, the important thing is to turn your employees into brand ambassadors. Recruiting should be a company-wide effort. Showcase them, take photos of events, and update what your culture looks like on your career page. Talk with your employees and figure out why they chose this job, what was it about the job description that made them want to click. What was it about the interview process that made them want to accept?

By leveraging your people and resources, you will gain even more knowledge around diversity initiatives. Diversity and inclusion is something that will not change overnight, but identifying opportunities, creating a roadmap, and showcasing the importance from top down will create progress.

To hear more tips on what you can do to foster a more diverse and inclusive workplace and how Greenhouse got started, check out the on-demand webinar, "How to Foster a More Diverse and Inclusive Workplace."

Casey Headshot

Casey Marshall is the Marketing Campaign Manager at Greenhouse. She teams up with Greenhouse partners and customers to tell a story and share insights into ways companies can improve their recruiting. She loves that this job allows her to build relationships with thought leaders and showcase how innovative companies are changing their recruiting approach. Connect with Casey on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Company Culture