How To Build A Diverse Team

Posted on January 16, 2012.

One of the great things about people is that they are all different. It is also one of the best things for your workplace. As we have said before, studies show that diverse workplaces have higher revenues and earnings than non-diverse workplaces. People with different backgrounds and life experience bring a variety of thought processes and knowledge to the group that expands the abilities of the team exponentially.

It takes effort. Building a diverse team rarely just happens. It requires work, but building any good team requires effort. When hiring if you just take whoever crosses your threshold, you are probably not getting the best talent.

You have to look for the best talent. The best talent is rarely out there looking for work. They are already employed, sometimes by your competition. So they are not likely to just walk through your door and drop an application at your feet. You have to go looking for them.

Your hiring decision is only as good as your candidate pool. To get your best new employee you need to build the best list of potential candidates you can. To get a diverse pool, you need to get away from people who look just like you, went to the same school you went to, or have the exact same work experience you do. It means cultivating lists of talented potential employees from a variety of sources. Schools, universities, places of worship, and industry associations all tend to have ways to post employment opportunities for their members.

If at first you don’t succeed, look again. When my teams were hiring I would ask the hiring manager how diverse the candidate pool was. Often they would complain that they weren’t getting good diverse candidates. They were good, well-intentioned people, but they just wanted to get the new hire in fast so that they could keep business moving forward. They were never very happy with me when I told them to go back and get a better, more diverse pool of candidates. Ultimately, they were happy when they made a good hire, not just a convenient one.

To build a successful team you need to always be adding talented people to your list of potential employees so that you can put a diverse candidate pool together at a moment’s notice. The advance work will definitely pay off in terms of a great new hire. So start building your list and vive la difference!