Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Your Workplace

Tomorrow’s top executive, leadership, and management talent in agriculture are in short supply. In today’s candidate-driven market, the top talent is looking for companies who’ve taken a proactive approach to create a welcoming, inclusive culture. 

This blog will serve as a guide to organizations looking for actionable, effective ways to promote and foster a truly diverse and inclusive workplace in 2021. These could be the determining factors for the organizations that go on to become agriculture’s industry leaders and those who don’t.

Create a Workplace that Values Diversity and Inclusion

True diversity and inclusion begin with the company culture. There are larger, more structural adjustments an organization can make to create a more positive company culture. More on that in a moment.

But for some quick and easy gains, companies can begin today with smaller actions that demonstrate genuine gratitude for their staff and employees. Here are some quick ideas that can immediately improve the workplace environment and help to create a culture of value and mutual respect:

    • Recognizing employee’s successes and breakthroughs with small notes. A post-it or Teams chat will do. Even a small recognition can go a long way to demonstrate that you noticed and are grateful for an individual’s wins and successes.
    • Acknowledging accomplishments in a team meeting. Many people love to be recognized in front of their peers. Especially to make note of employees who just broke a sales record, developed a new and effective process, or did an outstanding job on a recent project.
    • Create a bonus structure built on employee buy-in. This creates an opportunity for employers to put their money where their mouth is and build credibility by following through on recognizing employee contributions in a meaningful way.
    • Show appreciation on social media. Just as an employee might love to be recognized in front of their peers, creating a post about employee wins and breakthroughs on social media can have the same effect, but on a much larger scale. Added bonus: calling out employees in a meaningful and genuine way on social media can, over time, help evolve your company brand as one that values, recognizes and rewards key talent and their contributions.

Data-Driven Tools to Increase Employee Retention

People are biased. There are just no two ways about it. Many of our biases are unconscious. It doesn’t mean we’re bad people. We’re just predisposed to rely on our biases to help us understand the world and the people in it. Here are some of the main tactics an employer can take to combat biases and promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace:

  1. Communication. Be frank with your employees about the steps you’re taking to avoid bias in the workplace.
  2. Capture and evaluate experiential data. Rely heavily on measurable data metrics to gauge the experience and performance of employees. By monitoring attrition rates, employers are better equipped to understand and address:
    1. Reasons for voluntary attrition. Compare notes from exit interviews to engagement survey data to determine if there are causes for self-selected attrition.
    2. Better understand the source of involuntary attrition rates. If they’re primarily one group of people, that can indicate bias and should be investigated to identify whether a certain group is being pushed out of the organization. 

When employers listen, employees feel valued. Acting on that data and implementing changes can be the most effective way to create value and buy-in in the workplace.

Employee Development & Compensation

Addressing and eliminating the common barriers to diversity and inclusion can be complicated. Being transparent about what success means for employees, how they can grow, and how they’re compensated can go a long way to improve your company culture. Some of the top areas to focus on:

    • Employee development: Monitor the opportunities available to employees. Are some employees taking advantage of opportunities more than others? Historically, women have been less encouraged than men to seek out opportunities for development.
    • Promotion: In the same way women can be less encouraged to seek out opportunities for development, often women are also less encouraged to push their employers for promotions.
    • Pay/benefits: Where does your company fall in the historically uneven pay gaps between racial and gender groups? Ensuring all employees fall on an equal pay scale can be a shortcut to create immediate equity among employees. 

Diversify Job Postings

Never underestimate the power of language. Did you know how we write job descriptions can affect who may follow up and apply for the position? On the other hand, sometimes that can work against our efforts to attract and hire more diverse leaders.

Think of the message a job description sends with highly masculine words and phrases. Words like “strong” or “dominant” and phrases like “crush the competition” or “man-up to your next challenge.” Even a seemingly innocuous turn of phrase can send the wrong message like, “we’re looking for an Animal Health Sales Representative who will stand out in his department and lead his team to success.” Many people who read these charged words and phrases might reasonably conclude you’re only interested in a narrow profile of candidate and would self-select out of the application process.

Employers, not just in agriculture but many other industries, struggle to write D&I-optimized job posts. So we suggest using tools like Textio to help you write more inclusive descriptions. Textio analyzes what’s written and, where applicable, provides suggestions that finetune the job description to resonate with more diverse candidates.

Widen Your Selection of Candidates with Technology

Organizations that are serious about recruiting more diverse talent might need to reevaluate their sourcing methods. Many employers are working more closely with their current Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to help them create new processes and widen their reach across an expanded pool of talent. And if one app doesn’t feel right or isn’t getting the desired results, there are so many different apps on the market. Try switching apps to see if something different can get better results.

One of the great things about ATS software – many are built with anti-bias features that incorporate technologies like AI to go deeper in your recruiting process. Often, an ATS can reveal how we make inconsistent decisions when gathering information on, selecting and nurturing relationships with future candidates. Over time, users can actually train themselves to think more diversely in the recruiting and interviewing process. 

Work With a New Talent Recruitment Partner

Even in a candidate driven market, the right talent can be found. If your current talent recruiting partner hasn’t been delivering on your D&I needs, consider making the change to an agency that’s more aligned to your values.

By partnering with the agriculture industry experts at AG 1 Source, not only will you have access to our wider pool of diverse candidates, but you’ll have our years of industry know-how and intuitive people skills. We can source the talent you’re looking for who can bring results and be a great fit in your company’s executive, leadership, and management roles. Contact us today to find out more.