11 Ways to Ensure Workplace Diversity

What can entrepreneurs do to ensure more diversity in the workplace, at every level?

Diverse business team

The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Listen to Employee Feedback

During the recruitment process, it is critical to always be looking for people who bring something new to the organization, whether it is experience, education, or ideas. Once they are onboarded, retaining them is critical. Be sure to listen to their feedback on their experience. You may not always agree with everything you hear, but their point of view should be seriously considered.

Eddie Lou, Shiftgig

2. Celebrate Cultures at Company Functions

We like to celebrate diversity by providing general introductions to other cultures at company functions. We use a holiday or company lunch to let an employee spend 15 minutes introducing everyone to his or her culture and explain a creative plan for celebrating it. Eventually, all of our employees vote for the most creative idea and we commemorate one.

Kevin Xu, Mebo International

3. Think About What You’re Missing

Whenever we’re hiring somebody new in, we think about what type of person/energy we’re missing in that particular office. When you focus on looking for positive qualities that your company is missing, you tend to organically diversify your staff.

Cassie Petrey, Crowd Surf

4. Recruit Diversity

Diversity is key to building the type of culture that is necessary to build a great company. I’ve found that building diverse workplaces doesn’t happen naturally. Instead, you have to recruit diversity. In other words, if you want to hire more women you should specifically hire a recruiter and ask them to focus on women only. Moreover, celebrating diversity recruits diversity, so start celebrating!

Obinna Ekezie, Wakanow.com

5. Be Aware of Your Prejudices

Often, prejudices are what prevent us from bringing diversity into our teams. Start by deeply exploring what prejudices cloud your judgement. Do you avoid a certain type of personality because someone who fits the bill burnt you in the past? Once you are aware of your prejudices, you can work on opening your mind and not rejecting those candidates, thus bringing in diversity.

Marcela DeVivo, National Debt Relief

Office celebration

6. Assess the Language of Your Job Postings

It’s been proven that certain words and phrases in a job description attract one demographic group more than others. Use a service like Textio to ensure that your job postings are gender unbiased, free from jargon and encourage people to apply. If you have a positive, balanced description that also mentions yourdiversity policy, your pipeline of new hires should also be diverse.

Jared Brown, Hubstaff

7. Commit to an Applicant Diversity Quota

Don’t start reaching out to potential job candidates until after you’ve ensured that you’ve hit a certain diversity quota among your applicants. If you’ve got significantly more men than women in an applicant pool, specifically reach out to sources of female applicants until the ratio is more even. Do the same for minority candidates. Then run the interviews the same as you normally would.

Mattan Griffel, One Month

8. Make Diversity a Company-Wide Goal

It is important to make diversity an explicit goal. At CoachUp, we struggled to fill some of our open roles with female candidates because 80 percent-plus of the applications we received were from men. By making diversity an important, explicit goal for your company, you can encourage your employees and local community to be on the lookout for diverse job candidates and to encourage them to apply.

Jordan Fliegel, CoachUp, Inc.

9. Don’t Hire a Version of Yourself

If you get along with a prospective candidate or like the same music they do, the only thing that means is that you may hang out at company parties. Values are a different story — new employees must share the same vision for the company — and shared belief can come in many forms.

Michael Portman, Birds Barbershop

10. Broaden Your Recruiting

Diversity has become a defining part of team-building and HR lately — one that there is a lot of misunderstanding about. For us, that means establishing links through contacts at universities throughout the world and industry events in far-flung countries, which gives us the ability to find the best talent, wherever it may be, from many cultures.

Alec Bowers, Abraxas Biosystems

11. Share Your Diversity Goal Publicly

There is no motivation like making bold public statements. If diversity is truly your goal, say so in a public forum like your blog or social media. Set concrete goals and ask to be held accountable. Your employees, customers and fans will hold you to it — and once you get more diverse, your business will improve!

Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches