Sharon Carmeli stands by her commitments. As General Counsel of Bluevine, Carmeli believes in the importance of hiring diverse teams and has taken a vow to only work with law firms that hire and promote diversity. It’s not just a personal preference—it’s good for business, no matter how big or small.
“Diversity creates more productivity, efficiency, and creativity,” Carmeli says. “A diverse team thinks and executes in a unique manner—it’s able to handle challenges in multiple ways and quickly adjust to changing environments.”
She’s right: Data from Gartner shows that diverse teams are more likely to hit or exceed their financial goals. Researchers from Boston Consulting Group found a similar outcome. Employees perform better on an individual basis, too—they saw a 12% increase in productivity across organizations that hire diversely. According to Harvard Business Review, diverse teams are more innovative, too.
Bluevine has made the same commitment within our own walls. “Our diverse team is capable of quickly adjusting and adapting to the ever-changing growing needs of Bluevine’s small business customers,” Carmeli says. “The team is constantly collaborating, and given our different analytical skills and backgrounds we tend to come up with the most creative solutions that enable the business instead of holding it back.”
Carmeli adds that committing to diversity doesn’t just mean making sure the people in your room look different—it’s that they think differently and approach the same situation in a variety of ways. This includes hiring multiple genders, people with different backgrounds, and even “neurodiverse” candidates to create a comprehensive, inclusive environment.
If this sounds exciting to you—and it should, simply in virtue of the business benefits—then make your actions reflect your values. Here are a few ways to help your small business hire diversely:
1. Remove unconscious bias.
We all have implicit biases that we may not even know are at work. This includes subconsciously judging candidates based on their names, or assuming their backgrounds based on their education. One easy way to tackle some of this bias is to remove names from resumes, so you’re evaluating candidates solely on their backgrounds.
2. Recruit through different sources.
Consider posting your job openings beyond the usual forums—there are plenty of recruiting hubs that cater specifically to reaching diverse candidates. Begin by looking into sites such as Hire Purpose, Diversity Working, and Hire Autism.
3. Ask for diverse referrals.
Challenge your staff to refer diverse candidates to open roles. Some of the best hires come from referrals, so you can have confidence that you’re not only sourcing candidates who are well-liked, but who will also increase the dimension of your team. This method also engages employees to actively participate in building a diverse, inclusive culture within your company.
Carmeli and Bluevine have made sure they follow through with their pledge to support diverse teams through the commitments they’ve made. “By requiring your service providers to demonstrate their commitment to diversity prior to transacting with them,” she says, “one is able to make a real difference in the inclusion of diverse backgrounds across business.”