Why retaining diverse talent is the future of your workforce?
Today, companies require a diverse workforce in order to successfully retain employees, who visualise problems from numerous different perspectives. If a business lacks diversity of thought, it lacks the full potential to finding creative and alternative solutions.
Having a diverse team is likewise key in a business’ ability to attract a diverse set of customers, as we know greater representation resonates with a more varied set of customer experiences.
This is particularly important in my field of mental health, as not one size fits all and seeing people that look like you can make a difference to your experience.
Nevertheless, despite the added benefits of a diverse workforce and knowing diversity matter, many businesses often find themselves struggling to retain their diverse talent.
- How do you attract diverse talent?
Businesses should make building a more diverse team and inclusive workplace a larger priority. The issue at hand is not the lack of diverse talent. The talent is out there, companies just need to expand their methods of recruitment to attract them.
Diversifying your recruitment process can be a good place to start to help diverse candidates initially connect with your company and culture.
Leaders should also seek to expand their network. Unless their network is already diverse, leaders are more likely to get repetitive recommendations for candidates, who are of a similar background and life experiences to existing employees which is huge part of the problem.
Companies can also take on their own training or mentoring programmes, with the intentional purpose of developing more diverse talent. This process will attract candidates, who can resonate with a brand or culture that wants to invest in nurturing their diverse talent.
- How do you nurture a diverse workforce?
Hiring great talent from different backgrounds is just the first step in creating an inclusive workplace!
It is not enough for companies to simply employ diverse talent and get bums on seats; they also need to make the effort to understand the nuances of nurturing and retaining diversity.
Recruitment and onboarding processes, coaching and mentoring initiatives and sufficient efforts to ensure work fulfilment are just some of the ways to increase retention of diverse talent.
But, to really foster inclusion and create a culture of belonging it’s important to celebrate difference and forge meaningful relationships, where it is safe to share struggles and be more open and vulnerable.
Greater sentiments of inclusion can create opportunities for employees to learn from one another and engage in finding creative solutions through the collaboration of diverse perspectives.
- Ensuring all voices are heard at meetings
Greater openness will prevent the same people from dominating the conversations and create a space for different opinions. In the workplace it is key to create spaces where diverse talent can feel validated, heard, and understood.
Leaders should consider whether BAME groups speak up and share their thoughts openly during company discussions. If you are finding patterns of inequity in your meetings, consider how you can structure your meetings in a more inclusive format, so everyone feels heard and valued.
Nurturing a diverse workforce will sustain greater representation and create an environment where people can share and understand one another’s experiences.
- Creating a culture of belonging in the workplace
Last month we explored ways you can foster a culture of belonging in the workplace.
Belonging takes on the role of creating an environment where an employee can say, I feel like I belong here, and they want to become the best and be the most productive in that environment.
A sense of belonging allows you to feel included and accepted in the workplace, which in turn makes you feel as if the people that you work with rely upon you and value your work.
If someone feels that their work is valued, they will gain greater trust in the workplace. A feeling of belonging is therefore essential in enabling diverse talent to feel included, accepted and take pride in their work.
- Imposter syndrome: the liberating truth for diverse talent, it is not you!
Impostor syndrome refers to an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be, linked to perfectionism in a social context.
Unfortunately, some work environments have non-inclusive settings and do not embrace cultural diversity, which can lead to issues with mental health a people will struggle to feel a sense of belonging in their workplace.
Many systems, especially in the corporate world, favour the language, accents, hobbies and inter-personal skills that might be unfamiliar to people from diverse backgrounds, especially for people of colour. And the experience of being the ‘other’ can be extremely painful.
The most important thing to know is that it’s not you who’s not fitting in, it’s the work environment that is too slow to change. And raising awareness of race and mental health can help diverse talent to feel more supported.
If you or your team needs some support to nurture or retain your diverse talent, then Benevolent Health’s has a Diversity Bundle that would be ideal to guide this process.
If you would like to support your employees to increase awareness of Race & Mental Health download our Race & Mental Health Toolkit