Countless management guidelines and tips emphasize one word over and over again: culture. A strong culture, we’re told repeatedly, means a strong staffing strategy and a strong and thriving business. If employees feel engaged with their work and they feel a sense of pride and confidence in each other, this positive attitude will spread, and if they don’t, negativity and distrust will pervade the atmosphere, with detrimental results.
But too often, “shape your culture” is misheard and misinterpreted to mean “hire people who make you feel comfortable.” If hiring managers don’t examine their feelings and they respond to candidates based on “a sense of connection” alone, they tend to unconsciously hire people who look, speak, and act like they do. The result isn’t a great culture; it’s a mess. Diversity is what makes a culture strong, and building a diverse workplace requires effort, thought, and strategy. Keep these considerations in mind as you move forward.
Gut Responses and Warm Feelings Won’t Get You There
People are often wired to behave in ways that run counter to their best interests. We want to stay healthy, but we eat donuts because they taste good. We want a thriving, functional, innovative company culture, but we choose the candidate who looks like us because there’s “just something about him” that puts us at ease. Look past the easy impulse and aggressively seek candidates that DON’T fit prevailing patterns and demographics in your office. The path to growth starts with an assessment (What is our age distribution? How many people with disabilities work here? How are our employee backgrounds similar and different? Where are the missing voices?) and a conscious effort to depart from homogeneity.
Act on Opportunities to Learn and Grow
A candidate who represents a minority in your company has registered a complaint about the culture. They feel unwelcome, unappreciated, or maybe even threatened by some aspect of the workplace. Do you coach, soothe, and silence the employee so the workplace won’t have to change? Or do you change the workplace and solve the problem? The second path is often more difficult, but it’s the path to success. The first option brings only toxicity and stagnation.
A Rainbow of Faces Isn’t Enough
For diversity to actually have an impact on your bottom line, you’ll need to embrace and cultivate it, not just tolerate it. If you look out over your workforce and see different faces, ages, and backgrounds, that’s great, and it’s a meaningful accomplishment. But not if you encourage your workers to leave their differences at the door and behave like robots from nine to five. Celebrate and leverage the different perspectives employees bring to the table—don’t downplay or encourage employees to hide them. That helps no one.
Work with a Top Staffing Agency in Scottsdale
For more on how to attract, hire, and make the most of a wide variety of voices and perspectives, reach out to the top recruiters in Scottsdale at the ACCENT Hiring Group.