​A recent survey has highlighted the lack of commitment to workforce diversity in New Zealand companies. In a country as multicultural and immigration-focussed as ours, this is a squandered opportunity. How can diversity benefit you as an employer, and how best can you achieve it?

Offering a diverse and inclusive workplace will attract a wider range of potential staff.

A lack of diversity policy in hiring

The Hays Salary Guide for 2016 surveyed 419 organisations in New Zealand and found that only 37 per cent had a diversity policy for hiring new staff. To make it worse, more than a third of those either didn't know if it was adhered to or admitted that it generally wasn't. Of the remaining organisations, 40 per cent did not have any kind of diversity policy in place, and the rest did not know if they did or not. 

For comparison, the Australian numbers are slightly better: 52 per cent of the organisations surveyed had a diversity policy for new staff hires in place, although 32 per cent of those didn't know if it was adhered to or admitted that it wasn't.

According to the Ministry of Social Development, some objectives of New Zealand's open immigration policy are to bring people with vision into the country, increase New Zealand's diversity while maintaining "social cohesion," and increase workforce skill levels. But without organisations willing to hire a diverse staff, those objectives are going to remain unfulfilled.

The benefits of diversity

Diversity Works New Zealand offers a few reasons why diversity in your staff can benefit you as an employer:

  1. Increased productivity: 
  2. It makes you look good: 
  3. Attracting talent:  a wider range of potential staff.
  4. Better decision making and a competitive edge: 

There are some organisations in New Zealand who have recognised the benefits of diversity and are taking an active steps towards it. The New Zealand Police is an example; in recent years the police has made a push for ethnic diversity within its force, and this year received the supreme award in the Diversity Awards NZ for its efforts to recruit and promote female police officers. Alan Cassidy, General Manager of HR and Organisational Development, says that policing diverse communities needs good communication and "empathy with different cultures."

There are several ways a diverse staff can benefit you as an employer.

Encouraging diversity

As an employer, what can you do to encourage diversity in your new staff hires? The Ministry of Social Development has several suggestions for how to improve the diversity of your recruiting:

  1. Explicit policies and procedures:
  2. Positive company culture:
  3. Engage cultural knowledge:
  4. Development programs:

Considering diversity in your new staff hires isn't just a case of altruism and social development – it can have tangible benefits for your company. Tradestaff can work help you achieve your specific recruitment needs and take steps towards what your company wants to become. Please get in touch today.