Diversity among workforces has never been such a hot button issue, with gender pay gap reporting coming into force in the UK for example and more attention paid than ever before to harassment in the workplace in other regions.

This means it’s vital for organizations to focus on diversity during the recruitment process in order to ensure they are keeping up with the current state of the market.

benefits of a diverse workforce

A diverse workforce is more likely to have a positive effect on your employer brand, which boosts talent attraction. It works in a cycle - the more diversity among your employees, the more applications from diverse backgrounds you’re likely to receive as people know they’ll be welcomed.

Having a more inclusive approach to hiring will also stand your company in good stead with millennials, the demographic expected to comprise up to 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025. Companies with more diverse staff demographics tend to be more productive, with McKinsey finding that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have better financial returns than national industry medians. Meanwhile, those with more women have been found to be better at handling risk in financial asset markets. This means you’ll see better performance from your teams if they have a more varied make-up.

how to encourage more diverse applications

When you want to actively start diversifying your recruitment, you’ll need to start at the beginning. Make sure you have inclusivity in mind when thinking about the language used in your job description and advertisements.

A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that “masculine wording in job advertisements leads to less anticipated belongingness and job interest among women”, which the researchers proposed “likely perpetuates gender inequality in male-dominated fields”. Carefully consider your chosen language in job descriptions and think about running it through a program to weed out any biased terminology.

It’s also advisable to use a hiring aid like Pymetrics. Its platform allows hiring managers to establish candidates’ suitability based on behavioral science insights, which it gathers from encouraging high-performing employees to play games designed to extract cognitive, emotional and personality traits. It then uses this data to provide a predictive model of an ideal candidate, with its algorithm matching the best applicants to the open position.

Systems like these can also ensure applications are processed blindly so there is a reduced risk of any unconscious bias having an effect. Blind hiring can significantly improve the diversity of your hiring, so it can prove a hugely beneficial activity.

what not to do when trying to improve diversity

When you’re looking to introduce more diversity to your workforce, it becomes vital to make changes. Your organization will likely have to introduce new methods of targeting applicants, as well as ways of processing the applications.

It’s therefore essential that your company does not rely on traditional hiring methods. If your hiring managers have previously sought out candidates with the same backgrounds as them - like colleges or internships - you should ensure they are convinced of the importance of looking for people with varied experiences.

Company culture is another thing that your business shouldn’t depend on to improve diversity in recruitment. You should make sure you’re hiring with the intention of expanding the minds of your existing employees, rather than bringing people who share the viewpoint on board. Furthermore, your company culture could be the result of biased hiring initially, when a lot of employees with similar backgrounds were hired.

Ensuring you’re focusing on introducing diversity to your hiring processes doesn’t have to be difficult, and when our global Randstad Workmonitor for Q3 2016 found that 87 percent of professionals prefer working in a gender-diverse team, it becomes a no-brainer.

It highlights not only how valuable diversity is to your employer brand, but also how it can improve job satisfaction among your workforce. Making sure your firm is implementing the right recruitment methods will see it reap the benefits of diversity.