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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Diversity Starts with a Customized Candidate Experience

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

A diverse workforce is key to a successful, well-rounded organization. A work force made up of employees of all religions, races, disabilities and even military service is a value to your company. By bringing people into your organization that are different from one another, you are inviting new and unique perspectives, varying and experiences, an understanding of different cultures, traditions and values, all of which are vital to understanding your customers, no matter what service or product you offer.

The tricky part about creating one is that such a work force doesn’t appear automatically and even more importantly, doesn’t thrive automatically. One reason for this is that outside of job boards geared specifically to diversity groups, there are not many resources for employers to utilize in creating a diverse work force that runs well, is welcoming to all new employees and understands the value of what they have.

To begin building your successful, diverse work force, take a look at these four tips for catering to these valuable but often overlooked candidates:

Seek out specific communities and resources

To recruit a diverse workforce, start by diversifying your recruiting methods. The majority of diversity groups have communities and resources specific to them, from veteran organizations to church groups, both online and in the real world. Additionally, there are hundreds of specific job boards you can utilize. Connecting to these groups can be a worthwhile way to seek out diverse candidates that you wouldn’t reach through your tradition job board.  

Utilize targeted communication methods

Something that marketers discovered long ago is that varying groups of people respond differently to the same advertisement. Your candidates or employees are no different, so catering to what they prefer will yield the best results. For instance, your seasoned workforce may not be as comfortable with electronic communication as your younger workforce is, so you may find that offering both print and digital produces higher readership. This is just one example of the many differences between diverse groups you can cater to.

Create a personalized and unique experience

A diverse work force starts with a customized candidate experience. The methods and manner in which your company recruits, welcomes and retains these diverse groups sets the stage for how they fit in your work force. As the department that welcomes employees in and helps to get them acclimated, you have the power to create a positive onboarding experience and establishing the expectation of how they will be welcomed among co-workers and supervisors.

Go beyond the status quo

While a diversity job board provides a place for candidates to seek job openings, the responsibility of creating a welcoming and accommodating work force lies solely with you, the employer. While many employers fulfill the legal requirements of employing certain diversity groups and making reasonable accommodations, an employer that seeks to build a truly successful work force with go the extra mile, not only customizing the candidate and onboarding experiences but also continuing to support employees throughout their tenure with your company. This continuing piece truly makes the difference between simply recruiting a diverse work force and retaining it as well.

What do you believe is the most important part of creating a diverse work force? Let us know in the comments sections below.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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