Most healthcare companies today are concerned about facilitating a diverse workplace. While promoting awareness and education is great, it takes more substantive efforts to achieve the goal. Targeted operational directives must be implemented in order to make a real difference.
Here are five actionable ways any healthcare organization can prioritize diversity in ways that make a real difference.
- Expand Recruitment Efforts – People are creatures of habit, and company recruiters often fall into the trap of only accessing certain job boards and hiring resources. Limiting the variety of applicant channels often results in candidate pools that lack diversity.
Instead, companies should occasionally mix up their recruiting resources. For example, recent nursing graduates may be the targeted candidates. In that case, a recruiter may alternate nursing schools, so the applicants come from different regions and cities.
- Avoid Nepotism – There’s nothing wrong with word-of-mouth referrals and the hiring of family members and friends. In fact, referred candidates often prove great employees. However, healthcare companies must be careful not to let their staff become too homogenous.
Nepotism ultimately hurts employee morale and performance. Furthermore, it’s impossible to achieve a diverse workforce when the majority of team members are family or personal friends. It’s better to bring in “fresh” workers whose diverse background adds a sense of perspective and objectivity to daily operations.
- Promote From Within – Healthcare companies sometimes hire entry-level workers who turn out to be highly loyal employees only to overlook them for advancement opportunities. Not only is this fundamentally unfair, it also inhibits diversity in the workforce.
If leadership positions are only filled by outside hires, then an organization risks developing a hierarchical stratification in which management mirrors a certain demographic and entry-level employees mirror another. Such a structure can lead to resentment among employees. It’s also antithetical to the goal of diversity.
- Focus on Career Development – Companies that grow employees from within help to position them for internal advancement opportunities. As discussed in the previous section, it’s not good to fill leadership positions with outside hires unless absolutely necessary. Organizations that make an effort to train employees and work on career development will be empowered to promote from within.
- Offer Tuition Reimbursement – Some jobs within healthcare require skill sets and training that can only be gained through formal education. Companies that invest in tuition reimbursement for loyal employees help to create career advancement opportunities that result in a diverse management team.
Financial limitations that hinder continuing education are often more prevalent among diverse populations. Something as simple as tuition reimbursement can level the playing field and pave the way toward upward mobility into leadership roles. Teams ultimately respond better to management that reflects the diversity of the general staff.
Most healthcare leaders truly do find value in having a diverse staff. Failure to achieve this goal usually isn’t usually because of ill will but rather a lack of having a strategic plan. When actionable steps are taken, diversity will ultimately follow.
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