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From the moment you’re plunged into the working world, the importance of networking is pounded into your head. Everyone has heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” and while you can’t be completely devoid of skill, having valuable connections can certainly make a difference in your career.
Networking, of course, is a leading way to make those important professional connections that can influence your career trajectory. In fact, a 2016 LinkedIn survey found that up to 85 percent of jobs are found by networking. Clearly it’s an important tool, but could we be doing it better?
I say it’s time we turn the traditional concept of networking on its head.
The heart of networking is really quite selfish. You’re connecting with others in hopes that it provides you personal gains in some way. It could be so you can get the inside scoop on job openings. It may be for a good reference. It might open speaking engagement opportunities or invitations to industry events.
Bottom line: It’s all about you.
Networking should be more than that. Sure there are benefits for you, but what about the other person? Sometimes the most satisfying and rewarding networking conversations are when you forgo your aspirations and goals to help someone else.
This is why reverse networking makes so much sense. Reverse networking is where you create networks where other people benefit from you. That’s right! You’re helping them out by being a sponsor, mentor or career confidant.
Beside the warm fuzzies that come from helping others, why would you take the time out of your busy schedule to do this? There are many reasons that make reverse networking a valuable tool in your career-building arsenal:
Boosts reputation: Want to be known as the smart, insightful, helpful professional who is the go-to in your respective field? Reverse networking can do wonders for your personal brand. It helps demonstrate you’re the whole package, with a generous heart to boot.
Proves leadership ability: Stepping in to help a colleague conveys leadership aptitude. What’s more, you show you can be trusted to assist when it’s needed most. Those are the characteristics that make a great boss and an effective company executive.
Word of mouth: Reverse networking is guerrilla marketing on a personal level. When you assist others, people may spread the good news. This positive word-of-mouth gets around, and all of a sudden your name is elevated in social and professional circles.
What goes around comes around: Reverse networking should never be done with any expectation of receiving something in return; however, when you scratch someone’s back, don’t be surprised when they willingly scratch yours. Karma is a good thing.
Lasting relationships: Being a trusted contact builds incredibly strong relationships. These aren’t the one-off meetings where you chat and part ways. You’ll enjoy deep, meaningful connections with people who will positively impact your professional life for decades.
See the value? Today I challenge you to try reverse networking. Seek out a new relationship or start a conversation with the primary goal being to help someone else. Take a chance on them. When you stop focusing on yourself and start focusing more on others, I think you’ll find the rewards you get from the experience to be outstanding.
You don’t have to be in HR to see the employment landscape is evolving in new and profound ways. What’s referred to as the “gig economy” is changing how companies hire and employees work. But is this movement gaining momentum or has it started to fizzle?
First, let’s chat about what exactly the gig economy is. At LinkUp we define the gig economy as a marketplace where short-term, on-demand employment is common for a workforce comprised of independent contractors (aka contingent workers, gigsters, or freelancers).
By 2020, 40 percent of U.S. workers will be freelancers, according to Intuit’s 2020 Report. In fact, right now a third of workers would think about leaving full-time employment to pursue work as an independent contractor, as per a ReportLinker survey. The autonomy, flexibility and appeal of work-life balance just can’t be ignored.
Technology is a main influencing factor in gig economy growth, as fewer workers will report to a brick-and-mortar office, relying instead on working in the cloud. Numerous companies have gone 100 percent remote, removing location barriers in order to hire top talent worldwide. One such company is Zapier, which offers employees up to $10,000 to move wherever they want.
The positives of the gig economy are plentiful. For businesses, it means the ability to get talent quickly and when it’s needed most. What’s more, that talent can come at a much lower cost than a traditional full-time hire. Essentially, it’s the fast-food version of employment, and for some industries — such as statistical analysis, graphic design, transportation and translation services — it’s a fantastic option.
However, despite the positives, there are drawbacks. One of the most notable is gig workers tend to be less committed to the company mission and culture. This isn’t surprising considering a “gig” is temporary, so a worker is only willing to invest so much time and energy beyond the actual work at hand. A weaker culture can have inherent long-term recruitment difficulties.
In researching the new LinkUp white paper “The Gig Economy: The Future or the Falsehood?” we found conflicting statistics about the size of the gig economy. This is likely because gig work is subject to increases and decreases based on demand. If you believe this movement is inflated or just a fad, it doesn’t matter. It’s not going anywhere anytime soon and will affect you at some point, if it hasn’t already.
For recruiters and hiring managers, this can seem like a logistical nightmare. However, the recruitment strategy in the gig economy has many commonalities with traditional recruitment. While the position, benefits and relationships have changed, recruitment is still a people business. Bottom line: You have a need to fill.
Furthermore, you’ll continue to have needs to fill, so keep an eye on the future. Keep building up your network of potential employees, just start incorporating the gig economy mindset too. Build a ready-to-go on-demand talent team, including new and traditional workers. Your ability to adapt to the new challenges and opportunities ahead will remain vital and allow you to thrive.
Want to know more about what industries are embracing the gig economy? Need more insight about recruitment strategies to utilize? Download the white paper »
With last month’s Employment Situation report and the BLS’ final revision to December’s jobs numbers, we can finally close the chapter on Obama’s legacy relating specifically to job growth during his two terms as President. His impact on the economy will likely and hopefully extend well beyond his two terms, but for the moment, and before turning to March’s non-farm payroll forecast, it’s worth briefly revisiting how remarkable job growth has been over the past 6+ years.
Much has been and will continue to be written about Obama Administration’s incredibly deft handling of the Great Recession he inherited and his lasting impact on the U.S. economy and the labor market, and I won’t presume to add much of anything new here, but a few charts are worth reposting if for no other reason than to highlight yet again how remarkable the past 6 years have been as far as job growth goes and to provide some context as we transition into Trump’s stewardship of the economy and what will become his record on jobs.
Since October of 2010, the U.S. economy has shown positive job growth for 75 straight months.
Looking at annual job gains shows both the magnitude of the job losses in 2009 during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression as well as the steady recovery orchestrated by the Obama Administration despite brutal resistance and nihilistic opposition by Republicans in Congress at every turn.
And of course, we have to post, one last time, the infamous chart from Calculated Risk that shows better than any other chart from the Great Recession, just how brutal the crisis was that Obama can rightly take all the credit for digging us out of…
There can, will, and should be a great deal of debate about the quality of the jobs that were created and what more might have been done to better address wildly alarming income inequality that has accelerated over the last decade or longer, but suffice it to say that the Obama Administration can rightly take credit for an economy that is in phenomenal shape and a Full Employment labor market that should continue to generate steady job gains and rising wages.
And looking at the growth in job openings in LinkUp’s job search engine in February and March, that is precisely what we can expect for at least the next few months. In February, new and total job openings on corporate websites each rose more than 16%. And because job openings are highly correlated to job growth in future periods, we are forecasting that February’s increase in job openings will result in net job gains of 260,000 in March.
And in March, new and total job openings rose 15% and 7% respectively with gains throughout the entire country.
Equally as encouraging, average Job Duration across LinkUp’s database of jobs (roughly 3.4 million jobs indexed daily from 30,000 company websites) dropped from 53 days in February to 50 days in March, indicating increased velocity in hiring.
So while the already-raging debate about who deserves credit for the 2017 economy will inevitably heat up in the months ahead, at least we can take solace in the fact that the argument is, at least for the time being, centered around good news.
In life there are always reasons why something didn’t happen. You didn’t get a job because a younger candidate will work for less. Your big idea wasn’t considered because you’re just entry level. You didn’t get a promotion because you’re a woman and your company is run by an all-male board.
But what if the problem isn’t life? What if it’s you constantly reaching for an excuse?
Everyone has circumstances they can’t control, and unfortunately workplace biases and hurdles exist that likely won’t go away anytime soon. Rather than limiting ourselves based on preconceived beliefs, what if we strive to give it 110 percent in order to break down barriers and really support each other to get ahead?
It may require some guts in order to get the glory, but for every excuse there is also an inspiring story of someone who didn’t let their sex, job or personal situation hold them down.
Go beyond your job title
What does a janitor have to do with Frito-Lay’s top-selling snack? Everything, thanks to a man who didn’t let his job title stifle his potential. Richard Montanez was a high-school dropout who worked as a janitor at the Frito-Lay plant in California. The company president called for employees to “act like an owner” and Montanez took it to heart.
After a machine broke down, he took some non-cheese-dusted Cheetos home and made a spicy creation based on a Mexican street snack called elote. With encouragement from family, he scored a meeting with company executives. After buying a $3 tie and preparing diligently for weeks, he gave his presentation. The executives loved it. Today he’s executive vice president of multicultural sales and community activation for PepsiCo’s North American divisions.
Lesson: Don’t let your job title hold you down. Some of the best innovation comes from the most unlikely people. Age is just a number, and your title is just letters.
Don’t let circumstances define you
Imagine being a single mother who is jobless, penniless and living just one step above poverty thanks to government assistance. You’re depressed and have even thought about suicide. But you have a love of books and you continue to write nearly every day. After completing your novel, you send it to loads of publishers only to get rejection letters.
Then suddenly, one says yes. The book wasn’t just a hit, it was a sensation. This is the rags-to-riches story of J.K. Rowling, whose passion for writing got her through some pretty tough times, and ultimately led her to extreme success.
Lesson: We all have bad days, weeks, years. Often these difficulties are out of your control. The key is to not let them control who you truly are. Rowling could have easily given up and become a stereotype, but she didn’t.
These are just two of countless inspirational stories about overcoming limitations. Thinking beyond stereotypes for yourself and others not only allows you to achieve true greatness, but helps everyone be better. When we lift each other up, we can all enjoy even more success together.
When you sit down to fill out a blank basketball bracket form, the page seems like pure chaos. The multi tiered chart packed with team names is overwhelming until you start going through each slot, making tough choices to navigate the maze in hopes of winning the top prize.
In your career there will be many times chaos will cause your head to spin on a much larger scale than that of a college basketball tournament. What’s on the line is much larger, too. Instead of winning the office pool, job success, satisfaction and advancement are the ultimate reward.
Rather than falter during times of stress, effective leaders use that chaos as a driver to thrive. These periods can be the perfect reason to ask the tough questions, do some self-reflection and define career goals. Consider the following ways effective leaders find success despite the madness.
Be a star coach by evolving as a leader
Great leaders embrace the idea that they are always growing personally and professionally. Sometimes changes come naturally; other times, it’s the result of something unexpected. It’s important to be agile, resilient and open to change, no matter the circumstances.
In an interview with Harvard Business Review, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski recalls the only time he felt burnout was after a back operation in the mid ’90s. “My schedule was nuts. And I never took time to critique how I was handling things. I was just moving forward,” he says. “But that setback prompted me to change a lot: delegating more responsibilities, not micromanaging, being a different type of leader. Since then, my energy and hunger have never wavered.”
Have a coach’s attitude about your team
It doesn’t matter if you’re coaching a basketball team, launching a business or running a Fortune 500 company: Great leaders know people are an organization’s biggest asset. These leaders must be able to motivate their teams with steadfast dedication, even during rough patches. It might be a down economy or the star player has an injury — be the role model for the attitude and aptitude you expect.
Krzyzewski tells the Harvard Business Review he keeps his team motivated by staying motivated himself, a true testament to his abilities as a leader. “You have to show motivation yourself,” he says. “They have to see it in you on a day-to-day basis. The older professionals understand that you have to show up every day, no matter what, no excuses.”
Expand the playbook by paving your own path
The tried-and-true plays will serve you well, but there will be times in any big game when you have to bend the rules and try a different play. Your career is similar. Just because a colleague found success down one path doesn’t mean you will. What’s more, their definition of success may be different than yours, so if you follow the well-worn path, you’ll end up disappointed. Great leaders know to follow their heart.
Although Coach K openly admits that his approach to retirement planning is to have no plans at all, there are other times when he’s had to make big decisions that defined his career. Most notably, he’s always stuck with college basketball despite numerous offers from the pros.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be asked several times,” he tells Harvard Business Review. “The toughest ones to decline were the Celtics in 1990 and the Lakers in 2004. But at the end of the day, I love college basketball more. I really love Duke, and I’m really happy I’ve stayed.”
Communicating with clients is a daily discussion by company leaders across the globe. What often doesn’t get as much attention — yet can be equally important to business success — is communication between employees.
Good internal communication has countless benefits. It fosters a strong culture, improves collaboration, streamlines results and can even improve morale. In today’s diverse business landscape, creating clear communication channels can overcome generational, gender and cultural differences to create cohesive teams and ultimately, successful outcomes.
Good internal communication doesn’t just happen. It must be deliberate. Consider these five ideas to supercharge your communication efforts to create a happier, healthier workplace:
Build trust with small talk
The daily banter around the water cooler is more than just casual socialization. Company leaders can better know their employees by participating in idle conversation from time to time. A pleasant greeting and genuine interest about an employee’s interests outside of work can provide amazing insight plus bring teams much closer together.
Strive to be present and focused when in conversation. Listen more carefully, so you can respond more thoughtfully. It is important to think about who you’re talking to, even before your conversation, so you feel prepared and can minimize misunderstandings. Respect should be at the heart of all communication.
Invest time in training
Communication training is a worthwhile investment for companies. Many nuances of communication are unclear, and specialized training will help all employees understand each other better while clearly laying out expectations. This is important when onboarding employees but is also valuable from time to time as a refresher for everyone. Cater lunch, incorporate some team exercises and make it fun!
Use modern collaboration tools
Most co-workers use legacy methods of communication, which can cause confusion. It’s incredibly easy to misinterpret an email or text! However, emails, phone calls and texts make up 75 percent of all communications with co-workers, according to technalysis research. Bring teams together with modern communication tools like Skype, Google Hangouts or other video conferencing technologies. What’s more, ask teams how they prefer to communicate and adopt methods that work best.
Keep an open door for feedback
Constructive criticism is important for maintaining effective internal communication plans. Employees should feel comfortable communicating their concerns to their supervisors and HR. Maintain an open-door, no-judgment policy. Develop a process for evaluating any issues and developing solutions. Not only does this help build company-wide trust, but it also can provide valuable insight into improving the workplace.
Research shows that companies with strong communication are rewarded in many ways. Employees that feel respected through solid, open communication are loyal, engaged and even more innovative. Bottom line: Good communication is good business.
What other tips can you provide about internal communication? Please share in the comments.
For the nearly 66 million voters who voted for Hillary Clinton, it is not the least bit surprising that the new administration has proven to be as horrifically inept, chaotic, mendacious, and nasty as we all expected. What is perhaps somewhat surprising, given where the bar was set, is that things have actually turned out to be even worse – a hellscape of lies, bigotry, racism, hypocrisy, corruption, and fear-mongering. And from the truly apocalyptic category, the President and his administration have already raced through the first few chapters of the autocrat’s playbook while desperately trying to fend off serious allegations of Russian influence and campaign collaboration.
The cavalcade of atrocities has been dizzying, to say the least, and I’m certain I’ve left out much, but the insanity reel of the first five weeks includes obsessing over (and lying about) inauguration day crowd size, Michael Flynn’s resignation on day 24, Russia, alternative facts, Russia, labeling the media the enemy of the people, banning major news outlets from the White House, Russia, the unconstitutional immigration ban, miserable cabinet appointees, incessant tweeting, Ivanka and Nordstrom, Russia, terror attacks in Sweden, Bowling Green, fake news, the wall, TPP, Jeff Sessions and the Russian ambassador, and the utter fallacy of repeal and replace (but of course, “nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated”). And while Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway are great fodder for SNL, with the exception of Mike Pence, it is impossible to imagine two more terrifying human beings whispering in Trump’s ear than Stephen Bannon and Stephen Miller.
As Thomas Friedman wrote in an editorial entitled ‘Dear C.E.O.s‘, Steve Bannon was quoted by the Washington Post stating that he and Jeff Sessions were at the center of Trump’s Pro-America movement. “What we are witnessing now,” Bannon said, “is the birth of a new political order, and the more frantic a handful of media elites become, the more powerful that new political order becomes itself.” As Friedman advises, “When someone tells you he is giving birth to a new political order in America, be afraid.” No worries there – we couldn’t be more terrified.
And what about jobs? It was jobs, after all, that stood as the bedrock foundation of Trump’s electoral college victory. Through 5 weeks, other than a few trivial tweets targeting specific companies and vague mentions, completely devoid of details, of a terrific $1 trillion infrastructure plan, the administration has not taken a single step of any kind to fulfill Trump’s campaign promise to create 25 millions jobs in the next decade.
Despite Trump’s horribly misguided set of prescriptions, there is no debate around the diagnosis that millions of Americans have been decimated by a multitude of tectonic factors that have made it brutally difficult to make a decent living in the modern economy. As Friedman writes in that same editorial, “Yes, the acceleration in technology and globalization has particularly benefitted higher-skilled knowledge workers in the West and lower-skilled rising middle-classes in Asia. And yes, it did squeeze middle-skilled workers in the West, who were more vulnerable to outsourcing, algorithms, and automation. More needs to be done to help them.”
Unfortunately for the country (and Trump voters), Trump’s priorities around deregulation, immigration, tax cuts, repealing Obamacare, building walls, and reducing trade will only exacerbate the challenges the country faces in narrowing the income gap, restoring the middle class, helping lower-income workers, and providing more opportunity for all.
And factoring in the priorities of the conservative policy nihilists and Republicans in Congress (gutting the social safety net, deregulating Wall Street, eliminating major aspects of the Federal government, etc.) only adds gasoline to the inferno that is Washington these days. Who would have thought it possible that John Boehner, at least relative to the 115th Congress, could ever be regarded as a sensible moderate?
With the absolute train-wreck in Washington, it is nearly impossible to predict what this economy will look like in a few quarters, let alone where the country might be before the year is out. So for now, I’ll focus on what Friday’s jobs report for February will look like.
Based on the declines in new and total job listings on LinkUp in January, we are forecasting a net gain of just 150,000 jobs in February.
Our below-consensus forecast is further evidenced by the increase in LinkUp’s Job Duration which rose from 49 days in January to 53 days in February.
Our Job Duration metric measures the average length of time that a job stays in LinkUp’s job search engine (which indexes 3.2 million jobs daily from 30,000 company websites). As we have pointed out in the past, rising duration points to a slow-down in hiring due to either weakening labor demand or increasing difficulty in finding qualified applicants to fill open positions (or a combination of both).
Given the fact that we’ve been in a full employment environment for nearly a year, there is little doubt that companies are finding it increasingly difficult to find suitable candidates to hire. What is more challenging however, and what will be of paramount importance to the Fed, is determining to what extent labor demand is slowing down.
Although we’ll have one more data point for February when we compare February to March on April 1st, our initial data for February shows a slight increase for both new and total job listings over January. As a result, we expect to see continued wage gains and sustained strength in the labor market through at least March and likely through the 2nd quarter. Beyond that, however, is anyone’s guess, and speculating as to what Republicans in Washington will end up doing is virtually impossible.
What is certain, however, is that the long-term prescription for strengthening the American economy and improving conditions for the American workforce is the complete opposite of the policies that Trump and Congressional Republicans are likely to enact.
As Friedman writes at the end of his editorial, “The way we lift American workers is not by building higher walls, but rather stronger communities — where business, philanthropies, the local school system and local government forge adaptive coalitions to enable every worker to engage in lifelong learning and every company to access global markets and every town to attract the smart risk-takers who start companies.
That is exactly what is happening in America’s best communities, and the job of government is to scale it, and the job of big business is to defend it. So don’t be fooled by a Trump sugar high; your businesses will thrive only if America is the country that prepares itself and its workers to live in a world without walls, not one that goes around erecting them.”
Mind maps, brain dumps, group discussions and SWOT analysis — there are a variety of brainstorming strategies companies use, but the goal is always the same: Find a solution to a problem.
Traditional brainstorming embraces the idea that “no idea is a bad idea” in an effort to collect many different thoughts. Essentially quantity trumps quality. Those thoughts are then evaluated, often blended into hybrid ideas, and then the best ones are applied to the issue at hand. It’s a scientific approach that requires loads of creativity on the part of the participants.
The problem is the actual brainstorming process is bland and boring. You sit in a conference room (sometimes for over an hour) and make a list. If you’re lucky, you might get donuts out of the deal.
While companies often can’t change the setting for brainstorming sessions, they can change the process to try to stimulate different parts of the brain in order to get more creative solutions. This is exactly why reverse brainstorming is gaining popularity.
Basically, reverse brainstorming is teams getting together to chat about how to make a problem worse. It can be loads of fun because the answers can vary from the interesting to the insane. Plus, unlike traditional brainstorming, you’re likely to get a lot of laughs from your colleagues, which not only makes it an enjoyable process, but further inspires creativity.
So why spend time thinking about how to make a problem worse? The heart of reverse brainstorming is you must find the wrong in order to find the right. Once you have a list of things that make a particular issue that much worse, it becomes readily apparent what needs to happen to make it better.
Want to give reverse brainstorming a try? Here are five simple steps to guide you through the process:
Step 1: Identify the problem.
Step 2: Ask “How can we make the problem worse?” instead of “How can we solve it?”
Step 3: Record all answers without criticism.
Step 4: Review answers and flip each to reveal the fixes for the problem.
Step 5: Evaluate the results to determine the best solution.
Consider a design team evaluating a website that suffers from low user engagement. People are finding the website through online searches, but once they click through they leave quickly without visiting different pages. Why are they be leaving? Reverse brainstorming could reveal ideas like confusing copy, dated graphics, complex navigation and annoying background music straight out of the ’80s.
After coming up with a list of ideas for making the website even more terrible, it becomes clear what must be done to improve it. By asking “How can we make it worse?” you’ll get an entirely different list of thoughts than the tired old “How can we make it better?” And those ideas might be just what’s needed to get the deep insight you need to solve problems once and for all.
Hiring managers know that finding the best talent is one part science, one part art and one part gut instinct. While it’s easy to check for quantifiable skills (10 years in the health care industry, advanced educational degrees, specific certifications), it’s not as easy to verify personality traits that ensure a good cultural fit.
This is incredibly important because it’s often cultural fit and ability to adapt that really makes a hire successful. Plenty of people might be able to do a job based on required skills. Not as many are able to fit into the organization and be a positive part of the cultural fabric that makes up the company.
Determining cultural alignment during the hiring process is difficult. You may only meet with a candidate a handful of times before a decision must be made. How someone looks, acts and communicates all influence your opinion about if they’ll fit. While your intuition may often be right, we’re all human, and it will at some point be wrong — a costly HR mistake.
Because it’s such a gamble, many companies are trying new strategies for verifying cultural alignment. Email, for example, can reveal a surprisingly large amount of information about cultural fit. Studies show email can even predict the likelihood that a candidate will stick around and advance up the ranks.
Researchers from Stanford and The University of California, Berkeley published an extensive report based on analysis of 10.24 million emails exchanged over five years among 601 full-time employees of a mid-sized U.S. for-profit technology firm. One of the most compelling findings included:
“Rank-and-file employees with high cultural fit have a cumulative probability of 48 percent of being promoted to a managerial position by the end of their third year at the firm, which is 1.5 and 2.7 times greater than their counterparts who exhibit median or low cultural fit, respectively.”
What’s more, emails that demonstrated poor cultural fit were from candidates much more likely to get fired:
“The implications of low cultural fit for involuntary exit are particularly dramatic: at 46 percent, the cumulative probability of involuntary exit after three years is four times greater for an employee with low cultural fit than it is for one with median cultural fit.”
Company emails are a treasure trove of linguistic information that can tell a whole lot about an employee’s potential. When hiring managers take a closer look at candidate emails noting similar linguistic cues, they can gain important insight into cultural fit, and ultimately, insight into whether this person is worth onboarding.
Considering the rapid growth of companies with telecommuting options, email has never been more important. Just one example is technology company Buffer. Their hiring page notes the main way they gauge cultural alignment is by analyzing email wording. Because the company is made of remote teams worldwide, this helps them ensure anyone they hire is a good fit.
What role does email analysis currently serve in your hiring process? Do you believe it’s the key to better understanding an employee’s ability to culturally align at an organization?
President Trump’s executive order on immigration continues to make headlines. With so much uncertainty about the future, many businesses are starting to have new discussions about diversity in the workplace and how it affects culture and the bottom line.
Racial and gender inequality have obvious social impacts on any business, but it’s so much more than that. Without a diverse and inclusive workforce, we all suffer. Innovation flounders, brand reputations bomb and profits plateau.
McKinsey & Company analysis found companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. The companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to be over those medians.
This diversity has a snowball effect that in turn has a massive impact on the global economy. Let’s look at gender equality, for example. A McKinsey Global Institute report found that $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality. That’s a whopping 11 percent increase!
But you can’t simply will workplace diversity to happen. One common pitfall for companies exploring diversity initiatives is to focus too heavily on the numbers. If you hit certain numbers, you have a proportionately diverse workplace, right? It’s not that easy.
Diversity and inclusion are two different things, and both are required for a company to see true success. Diversity numbers may indicate representation of different groups across departments, but without inclusiveness, you won’t get the value you’re seeking, and in fact, there may be backlash.
Workplace diversity advocate Verna Myers says it best: “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”
So what can you do to transform your company into a diverse, inclusive workplace that benefits employees and the bottom line?
Admit there is a problem: The first step to solving any problem is to admit there is a problem. It’s a sensitive topic, and one some people are bound to get defensive about. However, without honesty you can’t make any changes that have lasting impact.
Start at the top: In order for diversity and inclusion to be part of a company’s culture, it must happen from the top down. Company leaders need to send a clear and consistent message to employees, plus show they embrace these values by taking action in their own position.
Remove hiring bias: Hiring biases are prevalent at many companies. It’s difficult to pinpoint because many are unintentional and happen subconsciously. That’s why it’s important to take an in-depth look at hiring from start to finish. A specialty consultant can help with this.
Compensate equally: There are countless studies that have found women and minorities often make less than their white male counterparts. Is this true at your organization? There are many influential factors that go into determining someone’s wage, but make sure race, gender, religion and sexual orientation aren’t one of them.
Provide career opportunities: To boost inclusiveness, it’s essential to provide clear career paths so employees can be empowered. This can include internal career development documents, educational classes to boost skills, mentorship programs and the willingness to promote from within.
Go beyond numbers: Understand what people think and how it’s affecting their job. Quantifying emotion and analyzing inclusion can be difficult, but the more insight you have, the more likely you are to make a lasting impact.