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Why Ethnic and Racial Diveristy Matter

Ethnic and racial diversity in the workplace is a core value of our partner organizations. Why is diversity really so important?

In all organizations, diversity of experience and backgrounds has proven itself to be a vital success factor. This can be gained through many types of diversity, including racial and ethnic diversity. Diversifying a team’s membership increases the range of opinions, ideas and opportunities available in decision-making processes. This, in turn, will improve the quality of those decisions, the ease of new strategy implientation, and the organization’s effectiveness in meeting its goals.

Social and human service organizations have are particularly sensitive to ensuring ethnic and racial diversity because so many of these organizations serve a highly diverse constituency. In order to most effectively understand and respond to the needs of their clients and partners, social service organizations know that their staff should be reflective of the communities they serve. Some funding organizations have recognized the importance of these facts and have started to require staff diversity reporting among their grantees.

The social sector needs to continue to improve its workplace diversity, particularly at the senior management level. In order to achieve these goals, Commongood Careers makes several broad recommendations:

(1) Build a hiring pool of diverse talent through constant, year-round outreach to targeted communities and groups, instead of focusing on outreach only for open positions;

(2) Structure your searches so that you can allow a longer hiring window, possibly adding 2-3 months to a search, in order to ensure that every effort has been made to include diverse candidates in the final candidate pool, especially with senior level hires;

(3) Build an internal pipeline of diverse talent by hiring for diversity at lower organizational levels and then ensuring effective retention and career laddering to grow that talent into senior management roles.

Organizations that truly value diversity at all levels have proven to be the most successful at building workplace diversity. Making diversity an organizational priority in all areas, as opposed to focusing on diversity only in recruiting, will make your organization stronger on many levels and will enable you to attract and retain diverse candidates more effectively.

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