In an effort to close the diversity gap in the IT industry and bring in a fresh new perspective on the future of tech, employers are pushing to increase their hiring of minority candidates. But in many cases, this task is easier said than done. Companies face challenges not only in the talent pipeline, but in the ability to retain minority employees long term. Here are three areas you should focus on to increase diversity in your company.
The interview process shapes a candidate’s first impression of your organization, and this experience can make or break their future with you. However, before you even begin interviewing candidates, you should consider the ratio of women and ethnic minorities to non-minorities in your candidate pool.
A good starting point is using the Rooney Rule. Originally implemented in the NFL, this rule requires interviewers consider at least one minority candidate for every opening within their company. No matter who you hire, you should at least actively work to create opportunities for minorities within your company. This process provides an opportunity for minority candidates to get more experience interviewing for these jobs and also can provide candidates you may not have considered who are great fits for the position.
The pressure of raising a family can be a roadblock in the careers of both men and women alike. Historically, this burden has fallen on female professionals, which can lead to a gender gap in the workplace. In order to alleviate this burden, many organizations are offering extended maternal and paternal leave, flexible work schedules (including the option to telecommute) and reducing out-of-state travel for employees with families. This adjustment to company policy benefits both men and women, and allows the company to reduce its rate of turnover.
Support for these types of initiatives must come from the top down. If your managers and executives are on board for a more diverse workplace, your initiative will feel less like bureaucracy and more like a change that will benefit the company as a whole. Including diverse candidates can jump start your company’s creativity, offer unique perspectives and help retain your most talented employees.
One way of emphasizing this support is through the implementation of a mentorship program. Provide minority employments with role models who share similar life experiences. This helps reduce the feeling of alienation within more homogenous work environments, and provides a model for those employees to emulate during the course of their career.
Nurturing diversity in your company is a challenging assignment, but if you focus on these three areas, you can not only hire diverse candidates but retain them well into the future. From your interview process to their relationships with upper management, addressing minority concerns is good for your organization as a whole and helps create a more competitive, forward-thinking work environment.
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