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Want a More Diverse Workforce? Here’s How You can be Inclusive as a Small Business

There’s been an increased focus on diversity in the workplace in recent years. Large companies have notably put more effort into creating more equitable workplaces to better reflect the United States’ diverse population.

Diversity isn’t just an initiative that can show a company’s commitment to bigger social issues. It can also lead to higher employee satisfaction and more innovation in the workplace.

And it’s not just corporations that can implement more inclusive hiring policies, small businesses can make the following changes to open their doors to a diverse workforce.

Early Focus

fizkes/Shutterstock: Take notice of whose voices are being heard in meetings and whose getting the leadership positions

According to business school professor Stefanie Johnson, small businesses are in a great position to build an inclusive workplace. If you focus on it early, diversity would be more likely to be part of your company’s culture and not something you’d have to fix in the future.

Consulting firm president Manar Morales has a similar advice. She advises small business owners to see diversity and inclusion as not just an initiative but something that’s interwoven in all aspects of the company.

Morales encourages entrepreneurs to think about things in terms of which employees are getting opportunities and feedback.

Diverse Network

Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock: Try to meet and connect with people who are members of a women’s or Black professionals association

Another tip diversity experts have to give small business owners is to widen their professional networks as well. This means connecting with affinity groups or participating in conversations about diversity in your industry.

Doing these should happen even if you’re not currently hiring. Johnson also reminded business owners that their LinkedIn network shouldn’t be composed largely of white men if this demographic only represents 31% of the country’s population.

Expanded Requirements

Being more flexible on your job requirements can also help you welcome a more diverse set of applicants when you do start hiring again. Look at it as widening the gate instead of lowering the bar as Audeliss managing director Felicity Hassan put it.

Try not to focus too much on resume specifics and pay more attention to a candidate’s potential transferable skills or relevant experiences that may benefit your company.

Dissect the Hiring Process

Shift Drive/Shutterstock: Make sure that all candidates go through the same hiring process regardless of race or gender

It’s also important that you take a closer look at your hiring process as well. Before starting the interview process, take a look at your company’s demographic hiring data and take notice of what background your applicants typically come from.

Beware of biases that you might not have noticed before and correct them during your next rounds of interviews.

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