Business Management / Culture

How to bring more diversity into your small business (and why)

Jessica Thiefels

Updated: Dec 19, 2023 · 4 min read

Toolkit for download in this article

diversity at workplace employees

Diversity is more than just a buzzword. Diverse businesses are proven to reap greater benefits than those that are not diverse. First and foremost, McKinsey found that diversity and revenue were directly connected:

  • 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians
  • 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians

This means bringing more diversity into your small business benefits the bottom line—but that’s not all. Diversity also increases employee happiness. IBM explains: “Employees want to feel at home in the workplace—to feel valued, accepted for who they are, and to have equal opportunity to advance their careers. A diverse workforce positively impacts employees’ daily work lives, especially those from underrepresented groups.”

With a few small changes, you could be reaping the many benefits of a diverse workplace. Consider what changes you need to make to bring more diversity into your small business.

Remember what diversity means

The Oxford Dictionary defines diversity as: The practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.” This is important to remember as you consider how to bring more diversity into your small business. When hiring, keep in mind that this term refers to:

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Nationalities
  • Physical abilities
  • Religious backgrounds

By broadening your definition, you can see why it’s not only possible to bring more diversity into your small business, but necessary. In, It’s Time to Rethink Diversity and Inclusion Recruiting, Jim O’Malley, Managing Director of Comhar Partners, explains: “Hiring outside of traditional talent pools can offer fresh thinking, ideas, and skills you may not know you needed. It can also squash a groupthink mentality as you introduce new players with new perspectives.”

Hire for potential

Resumes offer a look into what the candidate has done thus far—their successes, previous work experiences and what they bring to your company. When bringing more diversity into your small business, you need to look past the resume and consider the potential of each candidate.

This means erasing the profile of who would typically “fit” this role, or who has been in it before, and consider what other types of candidates could offer when hired into the same position. When you begin hiring and interviewing, O’Malley explains how to look for this potential:

“Potential means individuals with the right core competencies and skills for your workplace who have a strong track record of performance in their past roles. They also demonstrate a strong capacity to grow more quickly than their peers.”

To find these candidates in a stream of interviews, turn to behavioral interview questions, which allows you to identify traits like adaptability, cultural fit, leadership and growth potential. Check out LinkedIn’s guide, 30 Behavioral Interview Questions to Identify High-Potential Candidates, to uncover the best questions for your interviews.

Create a diversity board

You need more than the HR team to be on board with bringing more diversity into your small business. You need everyone to understand and support the changes you’re making to the organization. Creating a Diversity Board can help you do exactly that, empowering employees to create a more diverse workplace and culture for themselves and their peers.

In, How to Promote DIversity in Your Small Business, experts at Kabbage explain that this panel of employees is in charge of “eliminating discrimination within the workplace.” Most importantly, the Diversity Board will be focused on implementing changes to make that happen, including creating or updating diversity policies, specifying religious holidays for time off, assessing day care for workers with children, along with finding better options for disability coverage.

Putting employees in these roles allows you to create a culture that’s open to new diverse hires and more understanding of the diverse employees who are already part of the team.

Bring more diversity into your small business

Now is the time to make diversity a priority in your small business. Use these tips to reap the many benefits of bringing employees and leaders of all types into your business and creating a culture that supports this shift at the same time.

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