Why should diversity hiring be a chief concern for small business owners? The global marketplace is evolving in ways that reflect changes in population, cultures, and buying habits, and large companies have already recognized the need to build a skilled, multicultural, and diverse workforce. The need is no less urgent for small and mid-sized businesses across the U.S.
The most recent census confirmed that the ethnic makeup of American citizens is changing more rapidly than experts previously predicted. With that development comes new trends in consumer behavior. According to Equalitymagazines.com, women are now responsible for buying 70-80 percent of all products; while African-Americans spend close to $500 billion annually on goods and services, and Hispanics represent the fastest growing single consumer group in the U.S.
Businesses large and small can help address these demographic realities by taking a broader approach to recruiting and hiring a diverse workforce. Some of the key benefits of this approach may include:
New Perspectives on your Target Audience
As noted above, the makeup of consumers is continuing to change. Employing a broader range of workers can enhance the depth of knowledge, skills, and perspectives your business needs to grow, and may help with customer outreach.
Fresh Ideas for the Growth of Business
A more diverse workforce may help your business generate fresh ideas that can stimulate growth and new product development. This is particularly true in any small business that encourages feedback and suggestions from its employees. "A wide variety of talent and backgrounds helps us drive innovation throughout the company and provide the very best service to the diverse businesses and communities we serve," says Laurie Zaucha, Paychex VP, Human Resources and Organizational Development.
An Enhanced Reputation
Because consumer demographics are changing, it's important that small businesses stay current and demonstrate a commitment to diversity hiring. This has a marketing component as well. Showcasing your diverse workforce on your website and in other marketing materials demonstrates that you're committed to providing opportunities to qualified job seekers with a variety of backgrounds and experiences.
So how can you alter your hiring policies to draw in a more diverse group of job-seekers?
You could start by expanding the places where you seek out new employees. Consider an outreach effort with local colleges, universities, and non-profit organizations. Try a dramatically different kind of social media recruiting campaign. Reframe your job descriptions by "emphasizing details that will attract a more diverse candidate pool," says the Wall Street Journal. "Be culturally sensitive when describing what makes your company a good place to work." Moving beyond your traditional job-listing strategy will likely yield a broader supply of qualified, diverse job candidates.
Finally, establish new in-house policies that shake up the traditional approach towards hiring. Everyone has the tendency to seek out job candidates who in some way reflect their own beliefs and backgrounds. By emphasizing a different approach, you help ensure that men and women from different backgrounds and cultures have an equal chance to serve your business and help promote growth.