In this day and age Diversity and Inclusion in the work force is key. It keeps us innovative, it allows us to thrive and grow. So many organizations have shown us what Diversity and Inclusion can really mean to the bottom line. Businessinsiders.com tells us the most diverse and culturally inclusive companies in the U.S. in 2017 ranged from companies like Clorox, to Cisco and Johnson & Johnson.
These companies made the list because according to researchers from Mckinsey & Company and MIT they were shown to be more productive and profitable. So obviously, diversity and inclusion can work. So let’s step back just a tad… I don’t want to assume that we all understand what we mean when we say Diversity and Inclusion. First, they are not the same thing. While Diversity is the recognition of equal representation, Inclusion speaks to allowing these different parties to participate in the workforce itself. In other words, “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” (Vernā Myers)
From people of color, to those with disabilities and the LGBT community. There are laws that were established to discourage and prevent a one-sided work force. And although there is no federal law outlawing discrimination against the LGBT community nationwide (outside of some attempts to utilize Title VII to support allegations of discrimination) companies have voluntarily and proactively implemented policies to become more LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) friendly.
However, Diversity & Inclusion is more…. It’s about recognizing that can all contribute to the rise and or fall of our country when it comes to the labor workforce (among other things). It means everyday we as recruiters tear down the walls that separate how we recruit and hire.
Women, people of color, those with disabilities and the LGBT community continue to struggle to obtain opportunities easily afforded to white men. According the U.S. Department of Labor women represent 47% of the U.S. workforce. However, there is still inequality. The gap between men and women in holding top ranking positions of powers is still wide. And there is more work to be done with racial Diversity and Inclusion in the work space whether we are recruiting, hiring or promoting. People of color represent less than 5% of management level positions and less than 9% of leadership positions while the majority of non tech, general labor positions (grunt work) are held by minorities. In tech it’s about 15% diverse which include those with disabilities.
Obviously there still remains a lot of inequality but we as recruiters can fight every day to turn the tables around and even the score when it comes to under representation. We can change our mindset and creatively fill our pipelines with not just viable candidates but strong candidates that meet your criteria and is the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle. Sure, it might mean a little bit more work on your part, but I assure you, your perfect qualified candidate is waiting for you and it doesn't necessarily have to be the traditional white male. With my current employer I am always proud to read our credo. Because it is one that focuses on the importance both Diversity and Inclusion. It states that “We embrace diversity and personal development not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s smart business.”
As we acknowledge Black History Month it’s important that we take everyone into account. Not just people from different social economic backgrounds but people who don’t always look like us, nor communicate like us, or are from places we know, understand and recognize but can still get the job done. Understand in the realm of recruiting there is something more than just finding a candidate. No longer can we use the traditional excuses. There hundreds of thousands of ideas rambling about waiting to be given a chance. There are innovations waiting to see the light, but they too need a chance.
We are in a powerful position to grant that opportunity. Do not squander it, or make light of it or even ignore it. And do not think that what you do does not matter because as corny as it sounds YOU can make a difference. The recruiter has always, as you may not have realized, been a part of history. There were those in the past who prevented progress. You and I are a part of the future. We are the gatekeepers. Don’t lock the gate.