6 Methods on How To Retain Diverse Employees

Promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a strong step toward everyone within an organization feeling a sense of unity, trust, and purpose. And while acceptance of all people is always a smart, savvy approach to business personnel in terms of unique perspectives and employee value, retaining diverse talent isn’t always so obvious to organizations of all sizes.

A promising sign is that — for the first time in recorded U.S. history — minorities make up a majority of new hires among workers between the age of 25 and 54. The only issue is that these individuals — especially Millennials and Generation Z — are 43% to 61% more likely to leave their current company within two years for better opportunities, even after the pandemic and the Great Resignation. Add in the fact that 50% of women, 49% of African Americans, and a large portion of other minorities also plan to leave their jobs within a year, and the retention of a diverse workforce is more than just an issue — it’s bordering on crises.

Therefore, the overarching problem with most companies isn’t just attracting diverse candidates and employees. It’s keeping them around for the long haul. Not only do you lose the benefits of a diverse workforce, but you’re also left with the crippling costs of recruiting, hiring, and onboarding. If you’re struggling to maintain diversity in your workforce, use these ideas that help you learn how to retain diverse employees, regardless of age, sex, race, or ethnicity.

The Importance of Diverse Employees

Before delving into how to retain diverse employees, you should have a firm grasp of why employee retention is so crucial to your success. Yes, the cost of recruiting an employee has an initial cost of around $4,700 which can snowball into five or even six figures over time. But fiscal reasons aren’t the crux of the situation.

The importance of retaining employees and diverse teams can profoundly and positively impact parts of your business that you may never have contemplated. Some of the benefits of diverse team members include:

  • According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, diverse teams make better decisions on average than individuals or homogenized teams.
  • Your products and services are fitted to a wider variety of clientele.
  • It can boost profitability — up to 20% more profitable, according to a study from McKinsey.
  • You can attract more top talent, not just by hiring diverse individuals, but by attracting all individuals with your open hiring policies.
  • Your staff is more likely to trust you, which leads to a better work environment and an increase in employee engagement by up to 76%.
  • Decision-making can drastically improve as different perspectives become part of the decision-making process.
  • It can usher in a new era of diverse leadership and company culture that can benefit your organization well into the future.
  • You can create an inclusive workplace that provides jobs for underrepresented groups, which may help reduce unconscious bias.
  • You can reduce the costs of the onboarding process for new employees due to reduced employee turnover.

6 Methods on How To Retain Diverse Employees

Group of diverse employees working together

Now that you have a handle on the importance of a diverse and inclusive environment workforce, you can now turn your attention to how to retain diverse employees. This may mean a commitment of resources and support that you don’t currently have, initiatives aimed at stamping out, and a fresh approach to hiring new employees.

Nevertheless, the result far outweighs any initial cost. In a rapidly developing workforce that’s geared toward racial, sex-based, educational, religious, economic, and gender diversity, falling behind can put you in a precarious situation. Here are six methods on how to retain diverse employees.

1. Diminish the Wage Gap Through Competitive Pay

If you want to learn how to retain diverse employees, start with competitive compensation. One of the greatest metrics of inclusion and diversity in the workplace is comparing wages, albeit behind the scenes.

When employees of different genders and other ethnicities are being paid less for the same work, it’s a surefire sign that you may not have a firm grasp on the principles of diversity. Moreover, if word gets out that you’re paying these individuals less, it could lead to a backlash that could damage not only your ability to retain employees, but also attract them in the first place.

To stamp this out from the start, you should include a salary range with your new job description or job posting. This enables fairness in hiring practices, which is one of the crucial steps toward attracting and maintaining diversity.

2. Eliminate Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is a social stereotype about a group of people or demographic that’s so ingrained in an individual it forms outside of their consciousness. It seeps into nearly every aspect of businesses, ranging from attracting and recruiting talent to professional development to promotions.

Some objectors may say that you can never totally eradicate unconscious bias. However, knowing that it exists and that you need to be able to recognize and understand your own implicit biases is half the battle. That is to say — it’s all about awareness.

The reason that awareness is so integral to eliminating unconscious bias is that it requires you to understand situations and scenarios that may never have happened to you. To curb this bias and discover one of the foremost ways of how to retain diverse employees, you need to create inclusive policies, hold meetings, and make human resources aware of it. The more education you can provide, the more aware your staff will be.

3. Pivot Toward a Remote or Hybrid Workplace

Ever since the end of the pandemic, remote or hybrid work arrangements haven’t been a necessity. Instead, they’ve become a perk — and to some degree — a right of workers across the globe.

As an employer, you may think of remote work as a privilege, but it’s likely here to stay in some capacity. So instead of putting up a fight against it, use it as a building block on how to retain diverse employees.

When you can employ anyone across the globe, you’ve already made a giant step toward attracting the best possible employee and diversity. In addition, remote or hybrid work enables you to retain a more diverse workforce, as women tend to care for children and some minorities live with aging parents. As long as you make a vested effort toward strong remote team management, you’ll find that diversity sticks around — right along with increased morale and job satisfaction.

4. Provide Mentoring Programs

A woman mentoring a diverse employee

Diversity in the workplace is synonymous with opportunity. The more opportunities you provide, the more likely you can retain diverse employees. You can implement many different programs to provide opportunities, but mentoring might be the most important.

In the sense of diversity, mentoring is the equivalent of the old proverb, “it takes a village.” For people to truly excel as part of a diverse workforce, they likely need the words and wisdom of those who have been there before — especially for historically marginalized groups and underrepresented backgrounds.

Not only can it impart the knowledge needed for success, but mentoring can also expand people’s views, networks, and overall knowledge as it pertains to a specific job or industry. Mentorships have also been shown to benefit both the mentor and the mentee, enabling you to retain both new and veteran employees.

If you want to learn how to retain diverse employees, mentoring should remain firmly cemented as a low-cost, highly effective option.

5. Check-in Regularly

Checking in regularly is an important part of the job for managers and leaders, but it’s also integral for the mental health and well-being of your employees. Regularly checking in demonstrates that you care about the person as an individual, especially if you include a bit of bonding and camaraderie in addition to business conversation.

You should also build the idea of diversity into performance reviews, which are one of the most common situations where unconscious bias may arise. Keep it light, make suggestions on how to improve, open the doors to career advancement opportunities within the company, and stress work-life balance. All of these together can make your check-ins — no matter how formal or informal they may be — much more in tune with the needs of your diverse employees.

6. Use Exit Interviews as a Building Block

It’s naive to think that you’ll retain every diverse member of your staff that walks through the door. People’s lives change. They may find opportunities elsewhere regardless of what you do, they may change careers, or they may move somewhere else in the country.

However, you can use this to your advantage when deciphering ways on how to retain diverse employees through the exit interview. During the exit interview, your organization can discuss the employee’s reasons for leaving. If a particular reason arises that’s specifically due to policies or situations that diminish your quest for diversity, you’ve found a silver lining. Use this data and findings to update your policies and prepare more streamlined retention strategies.

The Long, Challenging, and Beneficial Path to Diversity

Management and leadership should have no misconceptions about how to retain diverse employees. It’s a long and arduous journey that’s going to require a keen eye for detail, a potential overhaul of hiring practices, the need for DEI programs, strong diversity retention strategies, and even leadership training.

But for those willing to put in the time and effort, the ceiling for success, growth, and competitive advantage is at an all-time high. Diversity is more than just a social issue or construct. It’s a concrete way to make your business the best it can be starting with your most important asset — the very people who make your company succeed.

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