Diversity for Small Business
Its easier than you think!
Written by Deanna Hunter
The Diversity conversation is everywhere. Think ‘OscarsSoWhite’. Think Justin Trudeau and his gender-equal cabinet. Both stories created world-wide headlines. And there are many more. If you haven’t been paying attention you should. And not just because of the news. But because its been proven that diverse companies outperform those that aren’t. They outperform in financials, in innovation and many other performance measures.
As a small business owner you might be thinking that diversity is about big companies. You might be thinking that its pretty much impossible for those with only a handful of employees. But the benefits of diversity are just as achievable in a small company. It just requires a different approach.
Consider that it might not just be about hiring a person of color, or someone with a disability. But about creating an environment where different ways of thinking and working are welcome and encouraged. You can take some simple steps to create that environment.
- Recruit from a diverse pool of applicants – ask your employees to provide referrals, connect with community groups to share your job opening.
- Ensure your employees feel comfortable bringing up concerns and problems – be sure you addressing any barriers head on.
- Ask employees to help solve business issues or create new business opportunities – seek out advice from the many perspectives that your people bring.
- Encourage employees to get to know each other – the more they know about each other’s experience and background the more effective they will be as a team.
- Support flexible work arrangements and holidays – to accommodate family responsibilities, religious differences, etc.
- Draft a simple diversity statement and any policies or guidelines you are committed to for your employee handbook and your company website – share your company’s focus on diversity with customers, employees and future employees.
None of these things are a ton of work. None of them will cost you money. Diversity is about making space for new perspectives, new ways of thinking and new ways to get work done. And working towards diversity in your business might be easier than you think.