Inclusive Hiring Practices: How Small Business Can Expand Their Network and Deepen Its Talent Pool

Small businesses are the backbone of our communities, and hiring diverse talent is crucial to their success. Hiring employees from different backgrounds can bring new ideas, experiences, and perspectives to a company, leading to increased innovation and improved business outcomes. However, finding and hiring qualified, diverse candidates can be a challenge for small business owners. This article will discuss some strategies that small business owners can use to find and hire diverse talent from their local Siouxland community.

Partner with local community organizations:

Partnering with local community organizations can be an effective way to find diverse candidates. Consider reaching out to organizations that serve underrepresented groups, such as immigrant advocacy groups, minority business associations, or disability rights organizations. These organizations often have connections to a pool of qualified candidates and can help spread the word about job openings.

Attend local job fairs:

Attending local job fairs is another way to connect with diverse candidates in the community. Job fairs provide a platform for small businesses to showcase their brand, connect with potential candidates, and learn about the local talent pool. Be sure to attend job fairs catering to diverse candidates, such as those hosted by minority-focused organizations or targeting individuals with disabilities.

Use local job boards:

Posting job openings on local job boards is an effective way to reach out to candidates in the community. These job boards are often free or low-cost and can provide small businesses access to diverse candidates. Consider posting job openings on job boards that cater to specific groups, such as women or veterans.

Develop relationships with local colleges and universities:

Developing relationships with local colleges and universities can be an effective way to identify and attract diverse talent. Reach out to the career services department and offer to participate in career fairs or speak to students about job opportunities. Consider offering internships or co-op programs to provide students with valuable work experience and identify potential full-time hires.

Leverage social media:

Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are powerful tools for small businesses to connect with diverse candidates. Consider creating a company page on social media platforms and using it to share job openings, company news, and updates. Additionally, consider joining local business groups on social media and participating in discussions to build relationships with potential candidates.

Use employee referrals:

Employee referrals can be an effective way to find diverse candidates. Encourage current employees to refer qualified candidates from their personal and professional networks. Consider offering incentives such as bonuses or extra vacation days for successful referrals.

Train your hiring team:

Training your hiring team on unconscious bias and inclusive hiring practices is crucial. This training can help them identify their own biases and make more objective hiring decisions. Encourage your team to ask open-ended questions and avoid making assumptions about a candidate’s background. Additionally, consider implementing blind screening processes that remove personal information such as name, age, and gender from resumes.

Revise your job descriptions:

Often, job descriptions may include language that unintentionally discourages diverse applicants from applying. This can be corrected by revising job descriptions to use inclusive language that highlights the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Avoid using gender-specific pronouns or words that imply a certain race or ethnicity. For example, use “strong communication skills” instead of “excellent English skills.”

Consider blind hiring:

Blind hiring is a process in which personal information such as name, age, and gender is removed from resumes to reduce unconscious bias in the hiring process. Consider implementing blind hiring practices to ensure that candidates are evaluated based on their qualifications and not their personal characteristics.

Create an inclusive workplace culture:

Creating an inclusive workplace culture is crucial to attracting and retaining diverse talent. Small business owners should focus on creating a workplace that is welcoming, inclusive, and respectful of all employees, regardless of their background. Implement policies and practices that promote diversity, such as providing training on unconscious bias, offering flexible work arrangements, and implementing a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination.

In conclusion, attracting and hiring qualified, diverse applicants requires a deliberate effort and commitment to inclusive hiring practices. By reaching out and getting involved with the community, small businesses can build a diverse and talented workforce that can help them thrive in a rapidly changing marketplace.

By Bryan Shusterman, an attorney at the Heidman Law Firm. He graduated from the University of Iowa Law School in 2019 and practices in IA, NE, and SD. Bryan specializes in advising business owners on formation, growth, and expansion, and has worked with companies of all sizes and industries.  Throughout his career, Bryan has been passionate about helping entrepreneurs turn their dreams into successful businesses by providing them with the legal guidance necessary to achieve their goals.  Whether it’s forming a new business entity, negotiating contracts, creating a business succession plan or navigating a sale or acquisition, Bryan has the expertise and knowledge to work together with his clients at any stage of their business’s life cycle.

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