How Should Diversity Factor into Hiring Your Team?

Assembling the right team is essential to having a thriving workplace. It is important to know what you need when hiring your key positions. Unless you are extremely self-aware, you might not know what you need. That’s why diversity is a key component of any human resources strategy.

Diversity doesn’t just have to be limited to what people look like on the outside. While that is helpful to assembling a strong team, it’s important to go deeper than that. It’s essential to know how to hire based on what your team looks like on the inside.

Here are three things to think through when applying diversity to hiring your key team members.


1. Skills


As the leader of your business, you have had to rely on your strengths to get to where you are today, but you might not be fully aware of your weaknesses. It’s important to have your key team members be able to fill in where you’re not strong.

If you are a visionary—but execution is not your strong suit—then you will need people around you who can help you act on your ideas. Building a solid foundation of action-oriented people will help you move forward.

Alternatively, if you are action-oriented, but have a hard time developing vision, then you likely will want “ideators” as advisers. They will help you think beyond the present day and develop possible courses of actions.

Diversity of skill sets in your key team members will help balance you out. Having that range of abilities will solidify the strength of your business.


2. Experiences


Depending on your professional background, it’s best to have people in key positions who have had experiences different than yours. Your experiences have brought you to this point, but it’s helpful to have people who have done other things to help you move forward.

If you have spent your entire career in your industry, then it may serve you well to bring in some key people who have served in other industries. Getting team members who have worked for your suppliers can help you understand better how to deal with those you do business with. If you sell to businesses, then having someone on your team who has worked for one of your customers can also be an asset to your management team.

If you are a newcomer to the industry you are in now, then it will serve you well to have some longtime people in your industry on your team. While you will bring a fresh perspective to your business, those who have extensive experience in your industry will know the potholes to watch out for as you navigate into new areas.

Having a diversity of experiences in your key personnel will strengthen your management team and give you a better handle on how to approach different situations as they arise.


3. Thinking


To get where you are, you have had to be a decisive person. You have had to make decisions and deal with the consequences of those decisions. When considering how to approach new situations, it’s helpful to have people around you who can give you a different perspective.

If you are a strong personality, the last thing you want on your management team is a bunch of yes-people. A team who will agree with you solely because they are afraid to suggest alternative ideas will not help you. It will serve you best to have people who believe strongly in their viewpoint and are willing to defend it to others with strong views.

Encouraging conflict in your management team can be a very good thing, as long as it’s handled the right way. You still are the boss—and they need to be on board with that—but they should be able to share their concerns directly with you about the direction you plan to go. If they cannot or will not challenge you or their colleagues when they feel strongly, then they probably aren’t contributing as much to your team as someone else might.

Of course, after everything has been debated and you have chosen a plan of action, everyone must support it. It may not have been their idea originally, but they must now support it as if it were.


Key Takeaway


Diversity in the workplace is a helpful thing. If everyone on your management team has the same skills, experiences, and thinking styles, then you will likely have rather limited ideas and perspective. However, having a healthy mix of people with different strengths, backgrounds and viewpoints will equip your business for the long term.


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Robert McFarland is the author of the bestsellers, Dear Boss: What Your Employees Wish You Knew and Dear Employee: What Your Boss Wishes You Knew. Robert is also President of Transformational Impact LLC, a leadership development consultancy helping companies improve their employee cultures to make the companies healthier, more productive, and more profitable.



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