It has been well researched that workplace diversity improves team performance and leads to higher levels of innovation. For instance, McKinsey research has shown that diverse companies are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their industry average.
Not only can it unlock performance, it can also open up your talent pool, particularly with Australia becoming increasingly multicultural. For example, the 2016 Australian Census affirmed that Western Australia is one of the most diverse states with 53.5% of West Australians having one or both parents born overseas (up from 51.7% in 2011).
However, plans to increase workplace diversity can be thwarted with traditional hiring thinking around ‘culture fit’.
The problem with hiring for ‘culture fit’ is it reinforces homogeneous thinking, limiting creativity and team work. Hiring for ‘culture fit’ means you are always employing candidates that fit a certain mould. On one hand, they may fit in from a social sense and ensure good workplace harmony, but what you end up forgoing could be much more valuable.
If you want to grow your business what you should be hiring for instead is ‘culture add’, candidates that will be fresh thinking, new perspectives and different skills.
Here some tips for hiring for ‘culture add’:
- Do a skills audit. What skills are lacking in your current team and what skills could make your team even stronger?
- Emphasise the need for ‘different’. In your job ad description and even in interviews, ask candidates, “what is something unique or different you can bring to our business?”
- Be open minded. If you find yourself continuing to hire the ‘same’ type of person, make a conscious change and widen your candidate pool to include a more diverse range of people.
- Use objective methods where you can to assess candidates. For instance, aptitude and psychometric testing can give you a more unbiased picture of a candidate’s potential.
- Look for candidates that will complement your team, rather than reflect the existing skills, experiences and backgrounds.
A good place to start when looking to increase workplace diversity is by having an Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Policy. Not only will it help you to attract a more diverse pool of talent, it can help to create a working environment that is free from discrimination and harassment.