There's a lot of talk about the importance of building a diverse team. But in many industries, it remains just that -- talk.
We already know that diversity within a company helps with employee retention and innovation. But diversity means much more than complying with the #MeToo movement and promoting more females into management.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, two in every five Americans are "diverse" and one in every five is of Hispanic or Latino origin. That diversity, however, is not reflected within many industries, including advertising, entertainment, and technology.
Parker Morse, CEO and Founder of H Code, which helps brands connect with the influential U.S. Hispanic audience, says, "Our own research shows that 78 percent of U.S. Hispanics feel like brands don't target them enough. But how can brands authentically connect with multicultural audiences if diverse voices and opinions aren't represented in their own workplaces? That's why achieving true diversity must start from within, from the top down, so diverse voices and opinions are represented across all sectors and mediums."
Morse feels that in order for any company across industries and mediums to successfully and honestly serve U.S. consumers, they must themselves be reflective of the larger population. Businesses need to understand the nuances and needs of diverse audiences in order to drive active change.
"I am proud to say that H Code is 80 percent multicultural, 70 percent Hispanic, and 55 percent female," says Morse. "This diversity has directly impacted our ability to be successful and develop an authentic product. Building a truly diverse team is much more than single hires. It's creating a culture that thrives through the sharing of thoughts and ideas."
Morse shares five valuable strategies that will help leaders build their own diverse dream team.
1. Recruit and hire with an open mind.
This begins with even your earliest hires, who often shape the company culture. Don't limit yourself to looking for specific work experience; be open in terms of listening for unique skill sets that candidates can bring to the table that can benefit your bottom line.
2. Don't settle for 'like-mindedness.'
Many hiring managers feel a natural affinity for people with the same interests or values as themselves. But finding like-minded employees will result in a homogeneous team. You don't want to settle for someone who is just a good fit with the existing team; you want to identify team members who will bring new ideas, a fresh perspective, and challenge stale processes to your company.
3. Listen up.
Proactively ask for your team's input in different scenarios and facilitate collaboration. A reciprocal feedback loop will help the entire company to continue adapting and innovating. It will also help build an inclusive culture and help nurture both employee and company growth.
4. Invest in your workplace.
The power of a positive work culture should not be underestimated. Morse shares that leaders should offer flexibility whenever possible and create opportunities that the entire team can participate in together to strengthen workplace relationships. Competition is fierce so always look for ways to make your workplace one that people want to be a part of. It's essential to put in the effort and invest in your teams the same way you do with your product and business.
5. Evaluate your existing processes.
Cultivating a diverse team doesn't require additional resources or special skills. It means taking a critical look at current systems and processes and identifying what can be improved, as well as evaluating your current culture to make sure it is inclusive and welcoming to all.