What’s Diversity, and Who’s Diverse?

April 2, 2019

You and your hiring team know you want more diversity among your candidates, but are you all on the same page about what “diverse” means?

Maybe some members of the team think of women when they hear “diversity.” Others might assume that diversifying the team means hiring more people of color. Neither are wrong, as there are many ways to define diversity.

The first step is to develop a common definition of diversity for your organization as a whole, with an emphasis on inclusion. When people hear the word “diversity” in your workplace, they should know it includes them and their unique contributions to the team.

Develop a common definition of diversity, with an emphasis on inclusion.

You may be thinking, In that case, my team is already diverse! But in terms of hiring, there’s more to consider. While everyone makes up a part of diversity, drawing in people from underrepresented groups is key to achieving an innovative team.

After all, the more representative your team is of the world at large, the more unique perspectives will contribute to the success of the work you do—and the less likely it is that bias will arise among team members.

Depending on who’s currently on your team, your goals for ​representation may vary. For example, if your tech start-up is comprised of mostly male engineers, a great place to start may be asking yourself what you can do to hire more women. And if your nonprofit team is already diverse in terms of race, gender, and ethnicity, you may choose to focus your efforts on hiring more professionals with disabilities, or professionals with veteran status.

Once there’s consensus around what diversity and representation mean for you, your fellow team members, and your organization, you’ll be ready to embark on a search that can achieve your ultimate goal: an inclusive workplace.

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This post is part of a series addressed to HR and other hiring managers about integrating diversity competence into each step of the employment lifecycle, from recruitment and hiring, to creating an inclusive workplace, to evaluating and cultivating leaders who will take inclusive excellence at your enterprise to the next level.