7 Ways to Improve Workforce Diversity

Shutterstock_241967758Do leaders of your organization put an emphasis on recruiting and retaining diverse talent? If the answer to that question is yes, then you are off to a good start. However, if your employer does not look to hire both entry-level staff and c-suite leaders of diverse backgrounds (including gender, age, ethnicity etc.), you may want to reconsider your strategy. Employing diverse individuals throughout the ranks of your organization is important. Diverse leaders in the c-suite provide unique perspectives and serve as role models for younger diverse staff. These leaders encourage a highly engaged workforce capable of effectively doing business in diverse and multicultural markets. Additionally, younger, less experienced staff members of diverse backgrounds are also crucial to an organization’s success. These individuals have opportunities to grow with your organization and fill the talent pipeline.   

Last spring, the AICPA answered the call for more workforce diversity education by conducting its first webcast series entitled “Unconscious Bias” which attracted over 3000 attendees. The conversations continued with the “Workplace Diversity” webcast series this past fall and the “Attracting and Recruiting Diverse Talent”, “Retaining and Advancing Diverse Talent”, and “How to Effectively Coach, Mentor, and Sponsor Diverse Talent” workshops this spring. Archives of these webcasts can be found here. Outlined below are seven workforce diversity best practices.


  1. Share meaningful messages that attract the talent you seek.

Acquiring the best talent is often a competitive process, therefore position your organization to tap into the underutilized diverse talent pool.

  1. Be intentional in recruiting diverse talent.

Scout talent from diverse professional organizations, events and conferences. Prioritize building a diverse network so that you can have a broader pool of talent to share opportunities with.


  1. Research best-in-class strategies.

What companies are successfully attracting and recruiting diverse talent? Compare your strategies for recruiting diverse talent to the practices of best-in-class organizations in your field.

  1. Review your employee retention and advancement report card.

Do an honest assessment of where your organization currently stands on the employee retention and advancement scale. Determine the state of your organizational metrics based on various levels in organization, as it relates to race, gender, ability and any other diversity metrics that you can capture. Make sure that your retention and advancement strategy works for everyone.

  1. Determine the root causes of your results.

Consider why some employees advance and remain at your organization while others leave? Once you determine the root causes, integrate this data into your training and development.

  1. Develop targeted strategies.

Identify specific actions that the organization can take to improve the advancement of underrepresented groups in your organization such as women, underrepresented minorities, veterans, millennials and LGBTQ individuals. Get members of those underrepresented groups involved in the strategy.

  1. Promote supportive relationships among staff

Mentoring benefits more than just the individuals directly involved— it also benefits the organization. When staff are engaged and feel valued, they are more likely to remain loyal, and devoted employees which is key to a company’s success.

By implementing these seven best practices, employers will be able to measure their progress towards workforce diversity, and employees will know what it takes to advance their leadership roles, allowing them to feel valued and empowered within the organization. Changing the paradigm around workforce diversity will require a joint effort from leaders and employees if we want to move the needle on the issue.

If you are seeking more learning and networking opportunities on workforce diversity and a plethora of other topics, you don’t want to miss AICPA ENGAGE, taking place in Las Vegas, NV and online June 12-15, 2017. Attendees gain access to six high-powered educational conferences and earn up to 35 CPE credits. Key sessions related to diversity and inclusion initiatives include a panel led by AICPA Chairman Kimberly Ellison-Taylor on driving innovation through inclusion, a session led by Kim Drumgo, Director- Diversity & Inclusion, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants- Public Accounting, on developing a global mindset, and a session on multicultural marketing led by Global Diversity Marketing founder and CEO, Tariq Khan. I would also recommend tuning in for a live webcast and fireside chat on disruption in financial services which I will be leading alongside Tariq Khan. Also, join me at ENGAGE for learning labs on understanding unconscious bias.  

Anthony Newkirk, Senior Manager- Diversity & Inclusion, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.


Source: AICPA