You cannot think outside the box, much less impact or change the thoughts inside your box if you continuously hire people who are just like you.

As Henry Ford stated: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” If you are satisfied with the current performance level of your organization and have no desire to improve, then carry on. If you want continuous improvement, increased revenue, and innovation, then consider diversifying your workforce.

Think about your long-term saving plan for retirement. You likely do not put all your money in one fund. You diversify for a more robust return on your investment. There are several studies that support the same ROI for organizational productivity. A diverse workforce lends itself to more innovation and an increase in revenue.

So you ask, “Who are the diverse candidates?” Those familiar with employment laws, affirmative action plans, the department of labor and the OFCCP may indicate a diverse candidate pool includes people of color, individuals with disabilities, veterans, females, and all of the other items on the checklist. While the intent of the many employment laws is to ensure equal employment opportunities, many organizations focus solely on the traits that can be seen or counted, losing sight of what diversity truly is – a range of different things.

I am a diversity candidate. But it is not entirely due to my gender, skin tone or age. If you hire me based on the fact that your employer needs to increase their number of female employees or people of color in leadership roles, you do not understand diversity. My work history includes hospitality, not-for profit, financial services, and manufacturing. All very different industries. Within those industries I have worked on small and large teams, participated on global project teams, travelled, mentored and coached employees, developed and facilitated training sessions, implemented processes and systems, and much more.

As you seek to increase productivity through diversifying your team, look beyond the company diversity statement and PowerPoint presentation. If your team is made up of people who have spent their entire career in financial services, mix it up and bring someone onboard with a different perspective – consider candidates who have worked for a start-up, as a consultant or in a global manufacturer.

The next time you think about candidate diversity, think outside the box. The return on your investment will be priceless.

Find Your Answer
We invite you to join the conversation. All of the #FindYourAnswer questions have a unifying theme: they address business issues at the forefront of today’s business community that are frequently asked, but rarely addressed. This initiative is part of the Opus College of Business’ new call to action: one that fosters diverse perspectives and divergent views while focusing on practical, forward-thinking approaches to management challenges.

Tiffany Kuehl
is a senior account executive on the HR Consulting & Search team at Versique. She has more than 18 years of experience in HR and talent acquisition. Her experience includes high-level talent acquisition positions at Donaldson, Honeywell, and MTS Systems Corporation, as well as serving as a past president of the Twin Cities Human Resources Association (TCHRA), director-elect of the Minnesota Society for Human Resource Management State Council (MNSHRM), and as an advisory board member for Minnesota Recruiters.
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About The Author

Clark Gregor has more than a decade of business marketing, communication and public relations experience, primarily in higher education, with shorter stints in corporate public relations and the federal government. At the University of St. Thomas he manages communications at the Opus College of Business and edits the university blog for graduate business programs, Opus Magnum along with other marketing efforts.

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