Equal Opportunity Hiring: The Most Important HR Move You Can Make

How diverse is your organization’s workforce? How seriously does your HR department take equal opportunity hiring? Are all individuals given the same opportunity to advance their careers? Many companies are in danger of missing out on the benefits that come with inclusion by not prioritizing equality in the workplace.

The number of women holding senior roles in companies is slowly increasing worldwide, but at the current pace we won’t reach parity until 2060. In 2016, women held 24% of senior roles globally, which was an increase of only 3% from 2011. That means it will be decades before we see equal representation if companies don’t do their part in hiring equally.

Your organization can help accelerate the pace toward equality and benefit simultaneously. Implementing equal hiring practices and increasing profits actually work in tandem. Creating leadership opportunities for all employees, regardless of their culture or gender, is linked to greater success inside and outside the organization for many reasons. Let’s consider a few.

Increased International Business

An inclusive and diverse team that is sensitive to cultural differences opens many doors to new relationships with international partners. Workplace diversity improves an organization’s ability to reach foreign markets, particularly when this diversity extends to executive level positions, according to a Forbes study. Additionally, offering employees the chance to work internationally can attract the kind of vibrant and ambitious staff that grows companies and creates terrific reputations. The best employees thrive off of a challenge, and you will retain them by allowing them opportunities to reach outside of their comfort zone.

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Enhanced Learning Opportunities

An inclusive work environment means people are more likely to learn from one another, allowing team members to gain new skills and expertise while on the job. This creates more well-rounded and talented teams. This is particularly true when varying generations work together. Tech-savvy millennials can introduce new technologies to other generations. Baby boomers who have spent decades mastering a skill can instruct others. Women often possess attributes that lead to greater communication and boosted sensitivity needed for teaching. Team members from other cultures bring new approaches and ideas to teams.

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Creativity and Sharing of Ideas

A workforce centered on equality can make employees feel safe and secure in sharing new ideas and letting themselves be known. A study conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that multicultural environments allowed for employees to be themselves and “bring the whole person to work” along with their best ideas and problem solving strategies. Within an environment of psychological safety, creativity and confidence soar and new ideas are born.

Attracting The Best

Two thirds of people polled in a Glassdoor survey said that diversity is important to them when evaluating companies and job offers. In fact, the level of diversity might be the first thing candidates notice when they enter an office for an interview. Companies that want to attract a wide variety of applicants with varying skills will have to reach outside old hiring practices that recruit only people who look and think like those already in the office. Talent is vital to your company’s bottom line and a diverse workforce will help draw in the best and brightest.

The Results of Equal Opportunity Hiring

There are a number of companies that have put equal hiring on the top of their list of corporate policies and reaped the rewards. According to a study that ranked diversity among companies in the S&P 100, Citigroup, Merck and Coca Cola get top ratings for inclusion and equity. For these companies, there are many potential benefits. An analysis completed by McKinsey found that companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians, and companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely. In addition to the financial benefits, they are also recognized on moral grounds for implementing inclusive and responsible practices.

At Speexx, we’re proud of our diverse workforce. Our team includes people of more than 25 nationalities; together, we speak more than 28 languages. And over half of our employees are women, including several of our directors and managers.

Self-made billionaire and author Morton L. Mandel told Fast Company that a key to success is giving opportunity to those who might have never had it before. He said to never compromise on intellect, values, passion or strong work ethic, but to make an exception for experience. Consider giving that experience to everyone who applies to your organization, regardless of race or gender—the results will speak for themselves.

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About the Author:

Armin is Founder and President of Speexx, the world’s leading online language learning and business communication skills training service. He writes and occasionally speaks about learning languages online and the secret of the Perfect Blend and global talent management, Speexx, e-learning and generally believes in the power of communication. Follow Armin on Twitter and LinkedIn.