Diversity and inclusion are hot trends these days and they are certainly important. At the same time, when we hear diversity and inclusion, it is usually race or gender that comes to mind. Having a diverse--defined in numerous ways--team improves performance. While focusing on gender and race is important, there are more ways to be inclusive in your business. Preparing yourself to be open to anyone can really open up your hiring opportunities.
As a small business owner, you may wonder how important inclusion is. You may be thinking, “my team is only four people, all we need to focus on is getting the work done.” The problem with this mindset is that when you need to replace one of the four or hire a fifth, you may be overlooking some really great candidates, because they do not fit what you think you need.
Below are some blind spots to think about if you want to have more inclusive practices.
Physical abilities needed
Someone who was hard of hearing once approached me about doing some social media/digital marketing work . She was good at her job, plain and simple. To bring her on, all I did was add subtitles to our training video and then communicated via email otherwise. It took all of 20 minutes to add subtitles (thanks to modern technology!).
Imagine yourself in this example. How would you have responded? Would you have immediately dismissed her as a candidate, because you are so used to talking as part of your communication? This job was mostly handled through written communication. Would you have paused long enough to think about how little it would take to change your habits to be able to hire her?
Think about all the potential candidates you come across that you might brush off too quickly. Having an inclusive practice could help you discover some great talent.
Remote workers do not know what is going on at the office
I often hear about how companies have tried to have remote workers, but that it did not work and they forced everyone to return to an office setting. It is not that having remote workers does not work, it is that the office practices lead to its demise. When people are used to communicating in the hallways, at the watercooler, overhearing each other at the cubicle farms, etc.,then the person working at home misses out on critical information.
To have a successful, distributed team, all communication must be deliberate and captured somewhere for all to see.
They will not stay long
I hear this excuse the most for why employers do not want to hire someone.
- Older workers. “Why would I hire them? They are going to retire in a couple years.”
- Military spouses. “They are going to move soon.”
- Overqualified. “They are going to leave as soon as they find a better paying job.”
Contrary to popular belief, these categories of workers stay longer when given the opportunity. Do not overlook them!
Further, considering the average tenure for a job is just a few years anyway, why does it matter if you know they may leave sooner? Imagine how much you could get done with someone extremely qualified in just one year. Now imagine you get a bonus second year. And then a third year…
Good systems and deliberate communication
When you have good systems in place and a deliberate communication plan, you can reduce the friction caused by turnover. So even when the new hire you thought was going to stay with you forever leaves, someone else can quickly step in and be brought up to speed. With reduced friction, you open up even more possibilities to grow your team.
Take an open-minded and inclusive approach when adding team members. You may be surprised at the impact it has on your business!