How to create Greater Gender Diversity

Recently we posted about the benefits of Gender Diversity at workplace, here’s how to create greater gender diversity:

As your company embarks on the path toward hiring for diversity and skill set, it’s vital you make systemic changes that help your business attract a wider range of applicants. Here are some tips you can use to make that happen:

1. Talk about the value of diversity

You can’t just announce one day that you need to hire more female engineers or male nurses and expect success. You must talk to your hiring managers about why your business needs more diversity in its workforce. Communicate the benefits to the bottom line and your corporate culture.

It can take time to shake up long-held, preconceived notions about gender, so plan to discuss this topic frequently.

2. Cast a wider net

Sometimes, diversifying your talent pool can be as simple as changing your traditional recruiting practices. First, tell colleagues and team members that you’re looking to diversify your workforce (and why), and ask them to help you identify candidates outside your usual recruiting pipeline.

If you’re not already recruiting at college campuses, try your hand at nabbing promising students as they graduate.

3. Remove gender-coded words from job descriptions and postings

Adjectives matter when it comes to attracting diverse job applicants. Studies show that men tend to avoid applying for jobs when words associated with more feminine traits are used, such as “supportive” and “cooperative.” Likewise, women may steer clear when the job description includes words perceived to be masculine, such as “driven,” “competitive” and “assertive.”

Rewrite your job descriptions and job postings to contain neutral language, and you’ll attract more candidates.

4. Rework your pay and benefits program

To make your company as attractive as possible to a broader range of people, you must work to erase pay inequality between men and women in the same positions.

One way to do this is to stop asking about a candidate’s previous salary and offer the same pay range to every potential employee, regardless of what they made in an earlier position. Considering that asking candidates about their salary history is already prohibited in some states, this is good practice anyway.

When it comes to benefits, studies also show that women in particular value robust, family-oriented perks when seeking a new job. This means you should be as generous as possible with family leave, health insurance, remote work and flexible hours.

5. Remove names from résumés

It’s still not a common practice, but many companies are experimenting with removing names and other identifying information from résumés in a process known as blind hiring or anonymous recruiting. Some organizations remove only names, while others remove all identifying information before the documents are distributed for review by HR specialists or hiring managers.

The theory is that unintentional bias is reduced, whether that bias is based on gender, ethnicity, age or other characteristics that can be assumed by an applicant’s name, where they went to school, or what year they graduated.

Research shows that blind hiring does seem to make it easier for women and minorities to secure a spot on the short list for interviews, compared to when their names are known to the hiring manager.

While not a perfect solution, blind hiring helps a broader range of candidates get a foot in the door. But it still doesn’t fix an individual hiring manager’s prejudices about the skills and abilities of one gender or the other. That’s where communication about company goals comes into play.