Best Practice: Increase Diversity in the Workplace
As we gear up to determine the 2012 Best Small and Medium Workplaces, we find ourselves knee deep in Culture Audits and innovative approaches to common HR challenges. Most companies vying for the award are increasing diversity through their hiring processes, but a few companies have found a new area of opportunity for creating a diverse workplace. This week’s best practice: actively seeking a more diverse clientele as well as new hires.
The first time I came across this approach to increasing diversity, I was impressed by the ingenuity of the idea. Somewhere around the third time I read that a company was recruiting a more diverse clientele, I realized a trend might be brewing. And a highly effective one at that- a diverse clientele, just like diverse employees, will present both new challenges and different perspectives to any organization.
And, if your organization is interested in progressing its products or services, this is a great way to go about it. New challenges will ultimately result in new solutions, and different perspectives will spur innovative ideas. What better way to broaden your company’s skill set than to test the waters in new and challenging environments?
How to attract a diverse clientele:
- Review the demographics of your current clients, and see where there might be gaps. Expand marketing efforts accordingly to appeal to a broader population.
- Rethink your communications. Different populations will respond to different messaging, and this important to keep in mind when trying new advertising vehicles.
- Take a second look at products and services, and get creative. Slight adjustments can go a long way in meeting the needs of clients who have their own unique challenges.
- Speak with your employees! Odds are they have heard various requests from clients, or even come up with an idea or two of their own on how to better serve new populations.
- Reconsider prospective clients (smaller companies or clients with fewer resources) that you would otherwise turn away. For example, a short term price break for students or a non-profit might result in new ventures and increased revenues down the line.
Wondering which companies are currently using this approach to increasing diversity in the workplace?
Hoar Construction for one, ranking at #17 on the 2011 Best Small and Medium Workplaces list. Hoar is a leader in their industry due to their innovative use of technology, their environmental efforts and people practices. Their clients include several large retailers, healthcare companies, government agencies and even Disney (talk about diverse!) and they are an excellent company to take a cue from.
To find out what other companies are increasing diversity in their workplace, be sure to check out the 2012 Best Small and Medium Workplaces list this fall.
Kelli Marjolet is the Marketing Manager and a blogger for Great Place to Work®.
Believe your company is already a diverse workplace? Apply to one of our Best Companies list: