Diversity & Inclusion: A Strategic Avenue In The Era of The Great Resignation

The pandemic has brought massive changes in today’s way of work, like many parts of the economy. After millions of businesses shut down and many moved to working from home, a new phenomenon has emerged, the “great resignation”.

Statistics indicate that in the US alone, over 4 million workers have quit their jobs in the last year. According to the Labor Department, there were over 10.4m job openings in various sectors like health and logistics as of September.

The pandemic came along with a global movement for social and racial justice. Concurrently, more people have had time to reflect on their current working situations. Many workers are now seeking more benefits and inclusive workspaces.

Could the great resignation be a wake-up call for companies to prioritize diversity and inclusion measures?

DEI and the great resignation: What is the relationship?

With the high rates of quitting, employers are under more pressure to fill in talent gaps at their organizations. Simultaneously, there is increasing social and economic pressure to diversify the workplace.

As a result, companies and hiring managers now need to take a step back from their conventional hiring. They need to adopt new ways of hiring in a way that blends these two needs.

Top talent now has more options and are increasingly choosing to work in diverse and well-represented teams. So, to lure them from competition, there needs to be a proven and visible effort at balancing out your workforce.

What can hiring managers do?

  • Diversify hiring techniques

Hiring personnel need to change their hiring mindset and adopt a more inclusive strategy. Research show that many underrepresented groups often find exclusionary language in job postings.

For managers to encourage diverse applicants and hires, they must resist the urge to set up candidate profiles with high requirements.

Many underrepresented qualified individuals often posses the necessary skills, but don’t have conventional resume entries or Ivy league qualifications. If the process is not liberal, this could eliminate them from the process.

  • Account for multiple groups

Hiring managers often restrict their description of diverse to just a few groups, completely ignoring others. For instance, LGBTQ workers and people with disabilities are still grossly misrepresented in the workforce.

You should thus take initiative to identify missing links in your team and make efforts to fill the gaps in your hiring.

  • Adopt a long-term hiring strategy

In the wake of rapid resignations, many companies are under pressure to quicky fill their open positions. Yet, this is a dangerous approach for diversity since it often pushes managers to make quick gut decisions when hiring.

Historically, this has been proven to give way to unconscious bias, which is detrimental to your diverse hiring goals. So, HR managers need to think strategically about the impact of each potential hire on the company’s role vs diversity goals.

Training existing teams

It is much cheaper to train existing workers than to hire new ones. Hiring managers should thus consider promoting untapped talent of already existing minority groups in their companies.

Since many of these workers quit for “more deserving” opportunities, it is a great step to show commitment to their welfare and career growth.

What can corporate leadership do?

  • Accountability

Reports from the Harvard business review show that biased individuals tend to behave better when aware that their actions would be exposed. Based on experiments over the years, accountability is critical in ensuring diversity in teams.

Top leadership should therefore create transparent systems to ensure concerned lower management act in the interest of all individuals and out of bias.

  • Engagement

Stakeholder engagement rather than rule-based training and initiatives could work better in establishing truly diverse systems. Diversity training and feedback systems has become the norm. However, research shows that they do little to improve inclusivity, but are rather counter-productive.

Conclusion

Diversity and Inclusion programs in the workplace are growing increasingly popular across the US and the rest of the world. Millennial and Generation Z, who make up most of the workforce enjoy more freedoms regarding where they work, and thus preferring to work in diverse teams.

Furthermore, diversity and inclusion now influence brand equity, which means more companies have started to adopt inclusive hiring and recruitment strategies. Given the increasing rates of resignation, companies that seek to keep their existing talent and hire new skilled talent must embrace DEI programs.

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