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How to Recruit and Retain Diverse Candidates

by Simma Lieberman
Speaker, Trainer and Coach

If there is not enough diversity in your employee base or there is high turnover with certain groups of employees, your organization will not be able to leverage the power of diversity.

Building diversity in a company through recruiting and retention is an important step to creating an inclusive workplace. Are your recruiting efforts doing the following?

Here are some tips to help build diversity in your organization through recruitment:

  • Begin to recruit from middle and high schools. Attend career days and come prepared to discuss the benefits of working for your organization and your industry.

  • Identify stereotypes of people who work in your industry and develop strategies for changing perceptions i.e. Firefighting should only be a male occupation.

  • Use more inclusive language and visuals in rule books, orientation, and recruiting materials.

  • Create cross-cultural and cross gender mentoring programs and provide training for mentors.

  • Develop relationships with associations and organizations that are geared toward underrepresented groups.

  • Be aware of your own biases and stereotypes and their impact on the environment.

  • Create processes to make people who are different from you feel welcome and included in your organization.

  • Mentor people who are from different cultural or ethnic backgrounds or gender from you. It will help you become more comfortable with other people and will help your staff grow in their careers.

  • Incorporate ideas from other cultures to solve problems and be more innovative.

  • Use resources that are already in place and research what other organizations have done to be successful.

  • Provide cross-cultural communication training to help staff work better together and serve the client population more effectively.

  • Survey and interview staff across demographics to determine their needs in order to create a strategic plan for retention and increased recruitment under represented populations.

  • Examine your definition of leadership qualities to include ways in which people who have different thought processes and communication styles can lead. If you have been hierarchical in the past, start learning that people with consensus styles can also be effective leaders.

  • Conduct exit interviews and identify patterns and themes if they exist.

  • Be willing to change to accommodate and use new ideas and creativity.

  • Too many people who own or run restaurants do not know enough about conducting interviewing potential employees. Whether you define your restaurant as fast food, casual dining, or upscale, hiring the wrong person for the job can be expensive. Consider the costs of advertising for candidates, interviewing time, disrupted customer service, training, and severance pay. Select a position in your restaurant, and estimate how much each step of the hiring process costs in terms of time and money. You'll see how important having an interviewing and hiring system is.

2006 by Simma Lieberman. All rights reserved.

Simma Lieberman helps organizations create environments where people can do their best work and be successful. She specializes in Diversity and Inclusion, Diversity Dialogues, and Eliminating Fear and Self-doubt. Simma is the co-author with Kate Berardo and George Simons of the book "Putting Diversity to Work." She can be reached at www.simmalieberman.com



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