Last time, I wrote about why diverse teams work better. As we discussed, maintaining a diverse workforce is the right thing to do and well worth the effort. There are many methods employed to retain the diverse members of your staff, so here are seven ideas to get you started in keeping your team happy and healthy:
- Record quantitative data on your diversity retention efforts, successes and failures. Everything related to employee acquisition and retention is highly emotional, especially concerning those of diverse backgrounds. However, this is where a great many hiring managers make their biggest mistake. Make an effort to periodically survey and record what is and isn’t working for diverse new-hires and employees. First, you must identify wherein the problem lies in order to correct it.
- Remember that no employee is created equally. Though a certain employee may be of a different background than the other, it does not mean that they can be treated the same as all other diverse employees. Managers must be mindful to carefully consider each employee’s individual needs and adjust accordingly.
- Admit to yourself that unconscious bias probably exists within your firm and take steps to reduce and eliminate it. Even though the great majority of us are firmly supportive of minority groups, unintentional bias sadly still exists in both the recruiting process and the workplace at large. Problems like this are especially felt by employees who are non-white, non-male, of an immigrant background and/or religious minorities. Whether from individuals or systemic injustices, causes of sexism, racism, homophobia, xenophobia and any other unfriendly -phobia or -ism should be quickly identified and fully eliminated in order to keep your employees feeling safe and comfortable in their workplace.
- Enhance your onboarding program. Studies have shown that 90% of employees make the decision to stay or leave a firm within their first six months at a position. Proper, thorough onboarding and training are essential to a successful start. Tailor onboarding programs to create support systems for employees, both among employees of minority backgrounds and those who are not. Focus on the assimilation problems faced by previous diverse employees and build from there.
- Hold progress interviews on a regular basis. All firms should aim to schedule interviews with current employees, especially those of diverse backgrounds, at least biannually in order to learn more about what is and isn’t working for them. Once a particular triumph or problem is identified, naturally, you should take note of this and work to better or correct it, particularly points that are brought up by multiple employees of diverse backgrounds.
- Request that recent former employees do a post-exit interview. Should a diversity team member leave (and presumably begin another job, thus removing the pressure of needing a reference), ask that they take time for a short meeting to share why they left and whether there was anything that could have been done to prevent it. Although this requires that an employee has already been lost, it is the most reliable way to ensure complete honesty and transparency, allowing for future correction of the problem.
- Create a sense of community for all. Encourage the formation of company-based social and/or diversity affinity groups, with a particular focus on inclusivity for diverse employees. Many professionals of diverse backgrounds report a lack of social inclusion in the workplace as a major reason for job dissatisfaction. Be sure that all employees feel included and heard by both managers as well as their fellow employees.
When a great amount of resources are poured into diversity recruiting, an equally great amount should be allocated towards diversity retention. With such an effort focused on the hiring of diverse candidates, it is particularly painful to suffer from the all-too-common revolving door of diverse employees. Companies who succeed in not only hiring diverse teams but also in keeping them around are certain to reap the greatest benefits our diverse society and workforce has to offer us.
Thanks for reading,
“Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common. Celebrate it every day.” – Author Unknown