3 steps for improving diversity and inclusion
What your small business can start doing today
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) may seem like an initiative aimed at larger companies, but it’s become a major focus for organizations of all sizes. For small businesses, improving DEI can begin with three steps: prioritizing DEI, writing inclusive job posts, and reducing bias.
Understanding why DEI is important
Why should DEI be top of mind at your small business? Let’s take a look at how improving it can help you boost innovation and retention.
New perspectives lead to better results.
A diverse workforce encourages innovation. Studies show that diverse companies experience greater profitability and performance. And with the rise of flexible work, your small business has more freedom than ever to source candidates from underrepresented groups — no matter where they’re located.
Candidates look for inclusive environments.
Inclusive environments can help your small business hire and retain candidates. It’s an opportunity to improve your business results while helping people feel like they can be their authentic selves at work. For many candidates, this directly impacts whether they move forward with a company.
Especially within a small business, DEI should be a priority for everyone on your team, not just those in roles that handle recruiting. Here’s how to start incorporating DEI into your company culture.
Make it everyone’s responsibility.
It’s important to communicate to your team that you value diversity and inclusion. Educate them on why it matters and follow through by turning your words into actions. Craft diverse interview panels, give your team the tools they need to hire equitably, and ultimately, make sure everyone is involved.
DID YOU KNOW?
While 69% of talent professionals agree their organizations are committed to more diverse hiring, only 47% feel their hiring managers are held accountable for interviewing a diverse slate of candidates.
Be intentional about your hiring process.
While you may need to fill open roles quickly, moving too fast can lead to predictable hiring decisions that don’t bring as much value to your small business. When posting a job, be sure to build in enough time to attract and evaluate a wide range of candidates who could help your small business grow.
Writing inclusive job posts
Job posts may be a candidate’s introduction to your small business. Reaching more people from underrepresented groups — and encouraging them to apply — starts with making sure all of your job posts are inclusive.
Use inclusive language.
Take a skills-based approach.
Remember, a college degree isn’t always required to do a job well. As often as possible, focus on skills by highlighting responsibilities over requirements and separating “must-haves” (the true minimum requirements) from “nice-to-haves.”
Consider including an assignment for a candidate to demonstrate their abilities, such as a writing sample for a copywriter position.
Reducing unconscious bias in the hiring process
Everyone has some form of unconscious bias. In order to make fair hiring decisions, it’s important for you and your teams to be aware of these biases and take steps to actively reduce them, keeping them out of the hiring process as much as possible.
Support your team with solutions.
Resources from LinkedIn can help combat unconscious bias. For example, use this feature to hide candidate pictures and names so that recruiters can evaluate candidates solely based on qualifications and skills.
And through April 2022, give your team free access to this popular course from LinkedIn Learning: Uncovering Unconscious Bias in Recruiting and Interviewing.
DEI is a journey.
For small businesses in particular, DEI is about making progress where you can. It may not happen overnight, but taking a few small, intentional steps can lead to significant positive change.