5 Tips for Building a More Inclusive Workplace

These days it’s nearly impossible to read the news or surf the web without coming across headlines about divisiveness, whether it’s strife over race, gender, religion or something else. Forward-thinking business owners seek to combat and overcome this by focusing on acceptance and celebrating differences.

The successful hiring managers of tomorrow must embrace diversity and work to create and foster inclusive work environments – not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s better for business. In fact, one study by Mckinsey revealed that companies with the highest gender diversity are 21% more likely to achieve greater profitability. Similarly, those with cultural and ethnic diversity outperform those without by upwards of 33%.

Here’s how you – as a recruiter or hiring manager – can improve your efforts to create an inclusive practice environment in which diversity is valued and revered.

Be cognizant of subconscious biases.

Like it or not, many of us are predisposed to certain prejudices – often without even realizing it. Taking inventory of our own personal biases is an important first step in overcoming them and assembling a more diverse team. There are a number of courses available that address unconscious bias, as well as certain public associations that can assist in eliminating potential discrimination from the hiring process. Simply put, bias is part of human nature. By taking action to acknowledge this, you can effectively overcome it and move forward in a more positive way.

Make job postings as neutral as possible.

You may not be aware, but the very language you use in job postings can often influence the types of applicants you ultimately attract. For example, researchers from Duke University and the University of Waterloo discovered that job postings in fields that were traditionally dominated by males, such as programming and engineering, also tend to include words and verbiage often associated with male stereotypes. Be careful to avoid language that could be construed as gender-specific and instead, position your listings so they’ll appeal to anyone. This will result in greater diversity in the candidates you attract.

Expand your horizons.

If your job postings aren’t effectively attracting a diverse group of applicants, you may wish to consider casting a wider net early on in the process. Are you working with local colleges or alumni associations? Are you (or any of your staff members) part of professional organizations or other similar industry groups? Are there any underrepresented groups in your area with whom you might partner to attract different people to your open positions? Think outside the box and expand your horizons.

Be a storyteller.

If you want to create a more inclusive and welcoming culture, you’ll want to paint a picture of it for job seekers. Showcase personal stories about your existing employees that demonstrate and reinforce your practice’s commitment to diversity. For instance, if you routinely provide opportunities to those who may have otherwise struggled in the workplace, such as individuals with special needs, share your stories of acceptance. Whether it’s an article on your blog, a social media post, a video on your website or something else, get your stories out there. By doing so, you’ll attract applicants who embody those principals as well.

Develop an inclusion team.

If your practice is large enough, you might want to consider creating a team that is dedicated to inclusion. This team can advocate for diversity by implementing policies and spearheading projects and partnerships that will further the cause. For instance, your inclusion team might organize speaker series or outreach events, or attend workshops and conferences with other businesses that have similar teams. If your practice is too small for this type of arrangement, you can still accomplish the same things by taking the initiative to get involved, make connections and advance the topic of inclusion on your own.

Diversity is something that can truly make your veterinary practice a better place – for your workers, for your clients and for the community in which you are located. By implementing the five strategies listed above, you will be able to create a workplace that is welcoming and celebrates employees from all walks of life, and your practice will thrive as a result.

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