The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in Hospitality Talent Acquisition

The world is a diverse place, and businesses are working to do their part to ensure their companies are focusing on diversity in hiring. On the surface, it would seem that this would not be an issue, but in practice, it’s a lot more complex. Being inclusive means surmounting several challenges, and no business wants to be left behind as consumers look closely at forward-facing employees as a thermometer of a company’s inclusion practices. Every business deals with this, but the hospitality industry even more so.

Defining a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce

Having a truly diverse workplace is more than checking a few boxes. To be intentionally inclusive, talent acquisition requirements need to not just include, but seek out people of every gender, sexuality, race, age, religion, political affiliation, disability, ability, and socioeconomic status. It goes beyond hiring and includes monitoring diversity on all levels, despite the difficulties that poses. As teams grow or employees change roles or leave the company, someone needs to track the data so they can continue their forward momentum rather than lose ground and be forced to start over again.

Inclusion is less tangible than diversity, but with proper communication and seeking employee feedback, employers can learn how their employees feel about job satisfaction and their individual sense of belonging. This directly impacts retention rates and is important information to have, information that’s right at your fingertips if you reach out for it. 

A key point to consider: diversity means that your staff is made up of all different kinds of people, but inclusion is when they all matter equally.

Having a workforce made up of many different types of people must be seen as an ongoing growth strategy, not just a benchmark to achieve. A diverse and inclusive workforce benefits everyone involved because businesses thrive when they are made up of people from all walks of life and their subsequently unique ideas.

diverse group of restaurant employees

The Benefits of a Diverse Workforce

In the hospitality industry, customers can see the faces of your staff. Diversity, or lack thereof, becomes apparent. Customers like to see a business that truly represents not only themselves but the world in general. They are more likely to support and become a brand evangelist, or just a business regular when they feel your morals align with theirs, and one of the first ways a customer judges is based on having a visible diverse staff. Having a workforce that mirrors a brand’s customer base goes a long way in building a community that believes in a company’s efforts to do good, not just make money. The industry has been under pressure to make changes in this direction, and companies that don’t risk negative feedback.

Hiring people from different walks of life, with different experiences and skill sets is more likely to help you, as a business, be empowered to resolve problems. If your staff is made up of similar people with similar backgrounds, you don’t have the benefit of a larger think tank, and as a result, will likely end up with a lot of similar responses when seeking out answers. Creativity abounds when the workforce is more different than similar, and this results in unmatched innovation.

One distinct advantage is that almost everyone utilizes a hospitality business at some point. This means your employees – current and future – can be invaluable in helping you identify problems or brainstorm for solutions based on their own personal experiences. The more varied the group, the larger the variety of ideas. This will also improve employee performance and customer service.

Diversity also provides a competitive advantage over businesses that aren’t yet diverse. Employees who feel that their differences are a strength, not a weakness, tend to feel more valued and more comfortable being themselves. This means they will be more confident in approaching you with both solutions and feedback. This helps you see where you have potential leaders to promote and allows you to think outside of the box.

Incorporating Diversity and Inclusion into Your Talent Acquisition Strategy

Revising your talent acquisition processes isn’t hiring diverse candidates just to meet some numbers or look good. It’s acknowledging that there can be bias or accidental discrimination in your company’s approach that needs to be identified and avoided, so you can fill your positions with the perfect candidate that may have otherwise been left out of the interview process in error. But how do you improve your talent acquisition strategy? Diversifying your workforce is a combination of several approaches.

Enlarge Your Candidate Pool

To diversify your talent pool, you need to equally diversify where you reach out to candidates. Seeking them in new places brings in new possibilities, so consider different avenues of candidate sourcing. College job boards in different cities are a great place to start while encouraging employee referrals (incentivized, if necessary) will broaden your pool and simultaneously help with inclusion. The more diverse your team already is, the better your referral results will be, with very little extra effort on your part.

Allow for online interviews instead of in-person meetings, utilizing technology to attract more people in the early stages. Reach out to candidates from prior job searches, and if they’re not interested or unavailable, ask them to share your job description with someone they feel would be a good match. This keeps your brand top of mind while building brand devotion because you thought of reaching out to them; this practice can be helpful in the future when they are considering a new job. All of this can be made easier by working with Harri to build your talent pipeline!

Identify Bias or Flaws in Your Current Hiring Practices

This can require that you and your Human Resources team take a hard look at what you’re currently doing to hire. How diverse is your hospitality-based business? Are you requiring skills that only certain people can obtain? Are you excluding those with disabilities or those that appear to be older when you review their job history on their resume? Are your job openings only being seen by people in certain socioeconomic areas?

Listen to Current Employee Feedback

 Your current team can be your best source of intel. Are they happy? Do they feel they’re being given opportunities for promotion or that they’re held back? Is there any feeling of preferential treatment or favoritism with management? These are things that require further investigation to resolve and to prevent recurrence. Everyone needs to feel they have a safe, trustworthy listening ear in the event of problems, in order to foster inclusion. Consider these extra tips on how to ensure you’re ensuring diversity and inclusion when filling leadership positions.

Utilize Talent Acquisition Software

 Using a service like Harri can save you a lot of time, while helping you enlarge that talent pool we talked about earlier. Take a peek at this talent attraction page for some of the ways the platform can work for you. Multi-channel job broadcasting is just one of the many ways that talent acquisition software can help. It will get your job openings listed in more places with just one step, making sure more people have a chance to indicate their interest. The software can also organize your hiring process by tracking candidates throughout the process, from the first collection of applications to the best part of all – telling someone they got the job.

Create Streamlined and Standardized Interview Processes

If you’re not yet using talent acquisition software, you may want to look at a free demo with Harri. It will do a lot of the work for you, presenting you with strong candidates with far less outlay of your time. If you wish to continue the process on your own, start with streamlining the process. Make your requirements fair. Not all job candidates will have weeks to go through a lengthy interview process, as many people are in a financial position that requires them to accept a job offer that comes in the soonest, even if it’s not the best offer. Cement your interview process, so every candidate in every position goes through the same process of intake phone call, online interview, and perhaps a final interview followed up with an offer letter. Making everyone go through the same steps can remove any discriminatory practices.

Diversifying Your Workforce with Conversational AI

Conversational AI has come a long way and is a very valuable tool in the hiring process, helping employers to reduce and eliminate human biases. Biases are often unconscious and are usually unintentional, but it’s important to realize that we all have them. Using AI removes the possibility while revolutionizing hiring strategies. Putting talent acquisition into the hands of a software platform yields excellent results and is something that can be reused for all your future hiring needs.

AI isn’t just for you – it also is a big help for your applicants. Carri Chat & Apply is a tool within the Harri talent acquisition software platform. It enables candidates to text, scan or message you on multiple channels to initiate the application experience. Job hunting should always be this interactive!

conversational AI chatbot for hospitality

Build a Diverse Workforce with Harri

Harri is built to help you every single step of the way. The employee engagement page is designed to organize conversations, collaborations, requests, and awareness, all in one easy-to-access space. Being diverse and inclusive is no longer a choice. A business must put this goal at the forefront of hiring practices in order to be successful, by developing talent acquisition strategies that are doable and successful. Use the many tools at your disposal to be fair and equitable when you source and interview your potential candidates, and you can put together a diverse, inclusive, and happy team that makes your business thrive. Talk to an expert to learn more about how Harri can help!

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