Spreading news via word of mouth helps to improve diversity

Having current employees personally recruit job seekers for open positions can help to improve workplace diversity, new research has found.

Despite a previous belief that word-of-mouth recruitment only acts to make job segregation worse, the research, recently published in the journal Organization Science, found otherwise.

Although employees do tend to refer job seekers for jobs who are their same gender and race, this alone does not cause segregation issues.

What is more important, the study found, are the referral rates, as there are some groups that recruit more heavily than others. The study found that immigrant groups sometimes go from being small minorities in a workplace to being big majorities because their members recruit more actively within their local community .

This type of referral, the study found, can be a huge tool for businesses trying to boost their diversity levels. Since most employers track how job seekers come to their organizations, they know how many are coming via word-of-mouth.

The study found  that having the systems in place to properly monitor which employees are referring others, who they are referring and how often they are actively recruiting potential employees, i s important. Gathering this type of data is what makes it possible to determine whether word-of-mouth recruitment is helping achieve diversity goals.