How to Use DISC to Recruit, Lead, and Retain a Diverse Workforce

DISC can help you recruit, lead, and retain a diverse workforce more effectively.


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Diversity & Inclusion (D & I) in the workplace encompasses the practices, policies, and strategies all companies strive to have in place for sound ethical and business reasons.

In fact, there is evidence to support companies who value and promote D & I initiatives often gain a competitive advantage. They tend to perform better because they consider and incorporate different viewpoints, and reach toward equality. In addition, they better represent a diverse market which attracts and retains a wider pool of top talent and customers.

Unfortunately, there is no standard game plan to achieve D & I success; companies, like people, are different. However, there are tools available to help you create and build a more impactful approach. 

Let's focus on managers and leaders, since they have a direct impact on recruiting, leading, and retaining employees on their teams.

Challenges for leaders

Diversity image and profit graph going upLeaders are likely to say the most challenging part of their job is managing people. Wouldn't you agree that conflict and misunderstandings are what managers deal with the most on a daily basis? How many times have you had to intervene in these types of interactions; usually arising from differences in opinions and perspectives?

Another challenge for managers is managing the personal interactions among team members and others to reach the team's goals. 

While it may be an oversimplification, DISC helps to strip away layers of our differences. It is not to take away from who we are; rather, it helps us to focus on treating each team member the way they prefer to be treated. Ultimately, we are trying to build more effective interactions.

DISC helps managers lead

DISC identifies your leadership style and helps you identify the styles of your employees. This awareness can lead to more effective adjustments in your interactions.

As a leader, your willingness to share your style with your employees can build more trust and rapport. They will better understand your leadership style, and how they are similar and different from you. Hopefully, having this knowledge empowers them to choose if they will modify their styles as well.

If you understand the style of your employees, then you know what motivates them. You then have more options for interacting more effectively with them and helping them be more productive by embracing their true selves. In doing so, they will feel more included and valued for their unique traits because you accept them for who they are.

We know that employees who feel heard and valued are more likely to be engaged in their work and ultimately, retained within an organization. DISC can be a powerful tool to promote a culture of understanding and to leverage our differences to reach our mutual goals.

Managing your diverse team

Business man pointing the text Workplace DiversityHaving a team where everyone acts and thinks the same way seems like a good idea, right? It would be easier; wouldn't it? Oftentimes, managers may see strengths in others, that are similar to their own. They tend to hire those individuals. The result is a team that is a clone of the manager. Being able to communicate the same way and get along makes managing, leading and communicating easier because there is no adjustment needed. In reality, a homogeneous group can get in trouble by overusing its behavioral strengths and amplifying its weaknesses.

Your employees excel when you help them bring their unique strengths to their jobs. Each team members strengths can support another team members weakness. For example, not everyone feels comfortable making cold decisions or following instructions. Leverage and appreciate the unique strengths each person brings to the benefit of the team.

The most effective leaders manage their diverse teams by utilizing the strengths and motivators of their styles, and developing their weaker areas. DISC helps you identify what those traits are.

How DISC helps your team

Your team achieves more success when your team's behaviors are closely aligned with the behavioral requirements needed to achieve the team's goals. Does your team need to be more collegial or do they need to slow down to avoid mistakes?

DISC helps you understand the path to your team's goals are not the same for every team member. Some members need to more independence, while others need more information or support.

DISC reminds your team members, in a non-judgmental language, to adjust when interacting with each other. DISC describes the styles as similar and different; not good or bad, better or worse. It helps to understand and manage our biases better. For example, you may realize that your silent, non-participative team member isn't being cold and distant; but instead, is actively listening and processing information.

Helping managers recruit

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How do you attract diverse candidates with high potential or established track records when these particular individuals tend to be in high demand? You attract them by standing out and being one of the best in your field. One way to be the best is to create a workplace of diversity and inclusion. 

It's human nature to want to surround ourselves with people who share our similar styles. It's usually easier, but it  may not be the best way to staff your team. Different styles bring their own unique strengths to the different roles and responsibilities required to reach your goals.

DISC helps you see how others are similar and different from you; who we truly are. It predicts other's behavioral preferences to better match roles and responsibilities and help identify the potential in your candidates.

People naturally want to shine as their unique selves and will gravitate to workplaces where they feel valued. At the same time, they want to be able to interact well across those differences. They will be more attracted to your team and organization if they feel represented.

Special note about managing your remote workers

Remote virtual worker-African-Woman-Wearing-HeadphoneIt's more important than ever, given our current climate, to consider the remote worker style of your employees and candidates. We might assume everyone is excited and suited to work from home. However, that is not always the case because we are different. What motivates them? What remote work setting is most comfortable for them? Do they need to interact with you more often?

This information about your candidate or your employee is extremely valuable to matching roles, assigning work, and knowing how to best lead them. Again, DISC reminds you that your employees are diverse and will respond differently in their virtual interactions with you.

Final thoughts

Remember, your diverse team is likely to perform better because they offer a variety of viewpoints, complement each other's strengths, use different approaches, and see different opportunities. Everyone is trying to reach success; cascading from the individual, to the team, and ultimately to the organization.

So, what are you waiting for?

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