In the age of the internet, it’s become so much easier to find candidates who have different beliefs and values, or come from a different culture or socio-economic background. Despite this, other companies still find themselves struggling to incorporate diverse talent into their own team. Chef Koochooloo’s team was recently praised for having an inclusive team that is dedicated to creating a better world for future generations. Because of this, we were asked to give our advice to those who may be looking to transition from a homogenous workforce to a more diverse one. 

Well, why should companies even be concerned with diversity? Isn’t it a good thing to work with people who are like-minded, and from the same background as you? This 2019 Article on forbes.com by Sheryl Lyons enumerates the advantages of having a diverse workforce as opposed to a more homogenous one. Lyons writes, “[results] showed that these companies develop more relevant products because they are more in tune with the customer’s changing needs. Their adaptability is a byproduct of varying backgrounds and perspectives generating an array of insights, ideas, and solutions.” In short, diversity strengthens your work.

Before you go ahead and start hiring, we also need to remember that we have an obligation to be responsible when hiring candidates. Hiring diverse candidates should be a reflection of your company’s culture as well as the society that it is in, instead of an afterthought. No one wants to be pegged as the token minority or feel like they’re the outsider in the team, after all. Chef Koochooloo’s team was able to achieve this by being culturally affirming — this means that the core of the company (from the message, to the vision, and the execution), is dedicated to spreading and fostering a culture of inclusivity, diversity, and equality. This inclusive culture in turn creates the kind of environment where our own team can be supported, and feel like they are seen as themselves, not as an object of attention, simply because they come from a different race, culture, or socio-economic class. 

Knowing all of this, we can begin to see where other companies can begin their own transitions. One of the first ways to start is by evaluating your hiring process as a whole.

Ask yourself:

  • Does your job posting portray a culture of inclusivity that is present in your workplace, or is the vocabulary being used too ‘corporate’? 
  • Does your interview style assess your candidate’s strengths and abilities as a whole, or are you only looking for a specific skill set to fill a position?
  • During interviews, is your interview panel diverse? 
  • If you have a hiring team, are they also dedicated to being inclusive and culturally affirming? 
  • Does your hiring process succeed in reflecting equality and inclusivity, or is it only working solely to fill a diversity quota?

Another important concept to also keep in mind when you are evaluating your hiring process is unconscious bias and the way it affects how we understand other people and their backgrounds. Unconscious biases (as defined by UCSF’s Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Outreach) “are social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside of their own conscious awareness”. This kind of bias can apply to race, gender, values, color, or socioeconomic class, and can’t be easily identified without training. 

If you are looking to hire more diverse candidates, here are some sites that can help you get started:

For more resources in understanding diversity in the workplace, check out these links:

Article Written By Patricia Apalisok