Want to improve your company’s diversity? Go remote

May 9, 2019

Remote work is a force that you, as a business leader, should be reckoning with. After all, there are a lot of perks with letting your workforce go remote; not only do you save on the costs associated with a physical office but you avoid the dreaded daily commute. More important: You can improve company diversity. Going remote provides a seamless way to open your company up to a workforce that’s varied in gender, race, ethnicity, sexual identity and ability.

In turn, diversity offers potential benefits to your business as well, including improved creativity, a wider range of skills, increased employee engagement, improved company reputation and even financial benefits.According to research from McKinsey & Company, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability tcompared to companies in the fourth quartile.

With more and more companies going remote and thereby increasing their diversity, it may be time for you too to join the movement. Here’s how going remote can actually improve your company diversity.

Hire top talent from across the world.
One of the biggest benefits of being a remote company is the fact that you have access to a wider pool of amazing candidates to choose from. Think remote workers are few and far between? Not so. Today, more people are searching for remote work. Data from Indeed shows that the share of searches for flexible work arrangements is up 32 percent year over year. Simply adding the word “remote” to your online job listing will introduce you to global candidates you wouldn’t have previously discovered.

For example, at our company we have remote employees in the United States and Canada, as well as India, Singapore, Ukraine, Nepal and more.

So, instead of just searching your local area for candidates, using remote work communication and collaboration tools, you can directly hire the talent you want, regardless of their location. As long as they have an internet connection, they can bring their skills and expertise to your business.

Hiring talent from other parts of the world will also allow you to better serve your diverse customer base. For instance, if a large portion of your customer base is located in China, you can hire remote employees in China who can better communicate with those customers. Hiring remotely may allow you to capture new markets you never thought possible.

Look at work before the person.
The hiring process for remote jobs can also level the playing field among your candidates. This is possible because you have the ability to look at the work before you look at the person by asking applicants to first provide examples of their previous work. Alternately, you can assign them a project to complete (that you’ll pay them for).

In contrast, a face-to-face interview leaves you open to the chance you’ll have some bias against a candidate’s age, gender or ethnicity. Hiring remotely, insteads, helps you focus on the quality of candidates’ work, whether that means designs they’ve created, copy they’ve written or apps they’ve built. Pick your top finalists based on the quality of their work; afterwards, you can set up an interview by video call.

Promote flexibility and inclusion.
In order to attract more diverse candidates to your company, promote flexibility and inclusion. Promoting people’s ability to work from home or a coffee shop, to work during the day or night or on weekends instead of weekdays, will open your company up to a more diverse pool of workers.

For instance, some parents struggle with having to choose their children over their careers due to having to deal with long hours at the office and with limited sick days. With flexible remote work, however, parents can choose their own hours, working when they can, in between child care and daily tasks. This allows parents to better advance their careers. In fact, according to a study conducted by Remote.co, remote companies are more likely to have women in leadership roles, including CEOs and founders.

Provide open communication channels.
For a lot of business owners, a major concern regarding remote work is communication — due to the time zone issue. But, there are many online communication solutions your remote company can utilize to not only foster effective communication but make your team more inclusive as well.

As in the example below provided by Slack, remote workers can keep in touch with one other every day in order to track work progress as well as keep up with international holidays or just chat.

One of the great things about online chat is that nobody hears your accent. Typed words are read the exact same by everyone. This makes communication easier and more comfortable for international employees whose first language isn’t English.

Over to you
Transitioning your team to remote work isn’t difficult, given all the technology available to us today. Furthermore, the benefits of remote work are many, for your business and for professionals worldwide. Remember, diversity isn’t only important during the hiring process, it should be integral to your company culture all of the time. So, be sure to provide diversity training. Weave it into your company mission. Make a point of educating yourself about its benefits. And actively seek out new perspectives and ideas in the big wide world out there.

By Syed Balkhi

Source: Entrepreneur

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