America's workforce is increasingly diverse, and small businesses need to draw and develop talent from a wide range of backgrounds and experience. A diverse workforce can pay dividends for you business in a variety of ways, but achieving diversity is not always easy, depending on your location.
A commitment to diversity requires a wide-ranging effort with these three goals:
- Make diversity part of your mission statement and corporate culture.
- Advertise job vacancies in diverse publications and markets.
- Promote open communication with your workforce about diversity.
While recruitment efforts are essential, retention and employee development also are critical for success.
Develop a clear statement of principlesA mission statement that includes diversity will help meet your goals.
diversity newsletter or a Small Business Administration resource guide on workplace diversity.
Make diversity a priorityJob listings can cite your commitment to diversity. Also get the message you're your Web site, brochures and other literature about your business.
Go beyond recruitmentEmployee development and retention are important for the long-term success of diversity initiatives. Once on staff, employees will assess whether they have viable opportunities to expand skills and reach their potential.
Find a quality consultantDiversity consultants can help modify your recruitment and workplace strategies. But check references first to assure quality.
- Consider a mentoring program that pairs a long-time staffer with new employees of a different ethnicity, age or gender.
- Advertise job openings in media outlets and Web sites that attract a minority audience.
- Subscribe to Diversity World's free newsletter with helpful hints.
- When practical, give top priority to an applicant's skill set more than their past experience. Overly detailed job descriptions may limit your applicant pool.
- Don't forget your local college, particularly when hiring entry-level staff. Contact campus career centers or student organizations to post information.