Minority Recruitment: Understanding the Value of Diversity in Healthcare
There are many benefits to diversity in the workforce. For instance, companies with racial diversity have been associated with “increased sales revenue, more customers, greater market share, and greater relative profits” (Source). Many agree— businesses should take proactive measures in encouraging minority recruitment and equal opportunity.
Read on to learn about the positive effects of diversity. This article will also discuss how employers can create a workforce that is well-rounded and reflective of the population.
What Do We Mean by “Diversity”?
“Diversity” means variety, and its definition pertains to the “inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization,” according to Webster’s Dictionary.
Some varied aspects of a population include demographics, such as:
- Cultural background
- Socioeconomic status
- Physical ability or disability
- Sexual orientation
These factors, combined with other qualities and experiences, mold us into distinctive individuals (Source).
In the workplace, a “diverse” team is made up of a variety of people. These differences offer unique strengths and perspectives, which each individual brings. When valued, diversity promotes inclusion and enables the creation of an effective workforce.
“Salad Bowl” Theory
The Salad Bowl theory rejects the idea that American society is a single homogeneous culture. Much like different ingredients of a salad, this concept suggests that the United States consists of many individual cultures— each bringing distinct qualities and shared loyalty, which in turn, strengthens the nation.
As organizations look to hire qualified candidates, the motion for a diverse workforce stems from concepts like the Salad Bowl theory.
The Importance of Diversity
Aside from equal opportunity and representation, there are many employer benefits to enabling a diverse workforce. Here are a few:
Diversity Drives Innovation and Financial Gains
A recent study showed diversity proved to be a key factor in innovation. Teams with diverse leadership repeatedly reported improved innovation and better financial performance— leading up to 19% more revenue.
Why is this the case? Companies with diverse teams have a better understanding of the public’s needs and are more in-tune with different groups of people.
Diverse teams can reach their customers more effectively by developing innovative and relevant solutions. This is just one of the many benefits of minority recruitment.
Increased Decision Making and Productivity
Diverse teams have also been shown to make decisions faster than individual workers, which in turn improves productivity.
Another study found a direct correlation between effective decision-making and the diversity of a team: the more diverse, the better the decisions.
“Teams that were geographically diverse, and included members with different genders and at least one age gap of more than 20 years, were the most successful– making better business decisions than individuals 87% of the time.” (Forbes.)
Diversity in Healthcare
For the healthcare industry, diversity is about more than increased productivity or the bottom line— it’s about patient care. America needs a diverse healthcare system so it can be reflective of its patients.
According to the recent census, America’s population consists of the following racial demographics:
- 60.4% Caucasian
- 18.3% Hispanic or Latino
- 13.4% African American
- 5.9% Asian
- 1.3% American Indian or Alaskian Native
- .7% Other
Population demographics shift each year. By 2044, 56% of the country is projected to be part of a minority group. And that’s just looking at racial identity.
In order for the healthcare industry to accurately represent the population, 40% of its workers should be a race other than white.
Let’s take a look at the current makeup of American doctors: only 13% of primary care physicians are African American, Hispanic or Native American. Based on the country’s demographics, these groups should be closer to 33%.
But race is only one factor. The age, gender, and socio-economic backgrounds of America’s physicians don’t reflect the population, either.
Language diversity is another area of concern. Around 40 million Americans speak Spanish in the home, but less than 5% of graduating medical students are Hispanic.
All of this makes a strong case for healthcare facilities to prioritize minority recruitment.
Importance of Diversity in Healthcare
Diversity in healthcare benefits the industry; it can also lead to better patient outcomes for several reasons, listed below.
Patients Seek Doctors Who They Can Relate To
Everyone wants a healthcare provider who understands their needs. Typically, people are more comfortable visiting a physician who shares some aspects of their identity (e.g. gender, race, cultural background.)
In a recent study at Stanford, researchers assigned two groups of male doctors— African American and non-Hispanic white— to Black male patients in California. The results showed that patients treated by Black physicians were more willing to discuss their health concerns.
Black physicians also had more comprehensive notes about their patients, compared to non-Hispanic white doctors.
Researchers even found that patients were more likely to accept preventative care, such as a flu shot, from Black physicians.
Overall, Stanford research suggests that “Black doctors could help reduce cardiovascular mortality by 16 deaths per 100,000 per year, leading to a 19% reduction in the black-white male gap in cardiovascular mortality.”
This research demonstrates how patients prefer care from doctors who they can relate to, and also illustrates the importance of minority recruitment on a larger scale.
With the mortality rate for Black males being significantly higher than any other population in the U.S., healthcare institutions have the potential to make strides in improving patient outcomes where it’s needed most.
Lowered Language Barriers Decrease Health Complications
For non-native English speakers, consulting with a doctor who doesn’t speak their language is very challenging. In fact, more than 25% of adult Hispanics don’t have a healthcare provider.
Research from the Commonwealth Fund indicates patients who speak limited English are also more likely to experience “adverse events” when they do get medical care.
This essentially means that non-native speakers are faced with the increased likelihood to experience errors in healthcare— 52% will have an adverse event due to poor communication, as opposed to only 36% for English speakers.
The same study also found that non-native English speakers were more likely to have an adverse event that led to actual physical harm.
How To Prioritize Minority Recruitment
Diversity benefits everyone— from employers to employees, to even consumers.
In the healthcare industry, a diverse team can transform the patient care experience and positively impact patient outcomes.
Here are steps an employer can take to create a diverse healthcare team:
Remember: Diversity is More Than a Number
Ideally, staffing should reflect the local patient population. This means that a practice in Sioux Falls may appear differently than one in Houston or Los Angeles.
As facilities strive to meet the needs of local communities, management should keep in mind the importance of representation as it relates to those they serve, and how diversity promotes individual trust in healthcare providers.
Minority recruitment benefits the entire team. As such, it helps to get the whole team involved, especially staff from minority backgrounds. Ask questions and try to gain perspective about others’ experience to truly understand your organization’s dynamic. Be an active listener.
Broadening your team could be as simple as consulting your own staff— learn what draws people to your organization and what can be improved.
Examine Your Hiring Process
Is your current hiring process conducive to diversity and minority recruitment?
People should be hired based on their abilities, though it is not uncommon for misbeliefs to occur during the hiring process. Some organizations have moved to blind recruitment and hiring, a helpful tool for removing any identification from a candidate’s resume (e.g. age, gender, ethnicity) to avoid implicit bias during recruitment.
Evaluating your hiring process will help you find weak points and develop a plan to improve.
Maintain Inclusivity After Hiring
Minority recruitment is important, but hiring a diverse healthcare team shouldn’t be your end goal.
Instead, focus on creating an all-inclusive company culture. A diverse workforce will then become a holistic part of your organization’s cultural development.
This is an ideal time to stay connected to your colleagues. Afterall, an “employee’s daily experiences with co-workers are more telling about a workplace’s inclusiveness than anything else” (Source).
Not to mention, work environments that promote inclusivity also increase employee satisfaction and retention.
Consult an Expert
GlobalHealth Education offers free, no-obligation services to employers to help you analyze and optimize your organization. We’re prepared to empower your team with insight and resources to help you strengthen your workforce.
At GlobalHealth, we’ll support you in creating tuition and assistance programs, so you can invest in your employees from the start. We’ll also help you reach underrepresented groups and support your efforts to improve minority recruitment.
Our assistance can help you reduce turnover, maximize your tuition investments, and develop your existing workforce through training and education.
Together, we can build an inclusive and diverse healthcare team.