2020 was a year that felt, in many ways, like a decade. Companies that were thinking about shifting the way they do business and how they engage with their workforce got catapulted forward by the pandemic. The trend toward a more flexible way of working demanded by top talent and changing demographics was well on its way for others. Now, all companies have been affronted with the dynamic shift at warp speed and with dependencies they didn’t see coming -- an economic downturn, lay-offs, child care and school closures, remote learning and working and more.
It became clear within weeks of the pandemic that women, especially mothers, were being disproportionately impacted, and many were forced to opt out of the labor market entirely to pick up the pieces at home (an estimated one in four women.) While the fragility of our social safety nets were being exposed, the strength of our social fabric was also being tested. Social unrest and protests over institutional racism abounded; meanwhile the diversity and inclusion efforts put in place to overcome legacy bias and level-up opportunities were put on hold by many companies.
This will impact organizations not only in the short term, but in the longer term as well.
Recently, a survey of more than 500 working professional women by The Mom Project’s research and analytics arm, WerkLabs, found that, among other benefits, survey respondents rated moms more favorably when it came to treating everyone on the team fairly. Additionally, it found that companies with moms in the workforce — and especially a mom as CEO — were more likely to promote diversity and inclusion.
Of course, there are still challenges to be faced during the pandemic but a new sense of hope is on the horizon with vaccination rollouts expected to accelerate through the spring. Leaders must be willing to abandon business-as-usual practices in their organization or risk finding themselves behind the competition -- both in talent attraction and retention as well as in critical initiatives like diversity and inclusion.
You can put concrete steps into place now, so you aren’t tied to talent management partners that offer limited accountability for the candidate experience, tactical, transactional relationships, little engagement and no clear plan for incorporating diversity into their (and your) culture.
We know what’s not working and what needs to be fixed, so how can companies implement a plan of action now to set them up for future success? Every company is in an understandably different place, but we’ve found these to be the most critical considerations to ensure diversity remains at the top of the priority list.
Research new talent strategies
Today’s talent isn't just sitting with staffing agencies and internal recruiters. Technological advances, global connectivity and a demand for flexibility have opened up many exciting channels to find and engage today’s talent. Public digital marketplaces, talent pool providers, direct sourcing and other emerging markets that serve underrepresented communities are popping up at a dizzying rate to help connect companies with underrepresented minorities.
As organizations continually redefine what’s important to them and require innovative technologies to get there, the need for partners that can upskill and reskill talent, provide mentoring and education opportunities and commit to providing talent with long-term career advancement is critical.
Tracking and analytics
Make sure you have a mechanism — be it through a partner or technology — that can track self-reported EEOC data throughout your workforce — however that talent is engaged (i.e., full-time, part-time, contract, SOW, independent contractor). You won’t know how far you’ve come if you don’t know where you started, so understanding where you sit as an organization and, more importantly, where you want to go is key.
This is especially true of your contingent workforce, given that by 2023, more than half (52%) of the US workforce will be gig economy workers. If you aren’t including them in your D&I strategy, you’re missing out on significant benefits.
Also, consider the analytics and measurements you have in place now when reviewing potential talent. Do you penalize or throw out resumes with employment gaps? Does your current process take extra steps to find out why these gaps exist? Inclusion comes in many forms, and understanding the biases that exist internally is critical to any transformation.
Horizontal alignment of talent strategies
If diversity and inclusion aren’t being used in everyday language at the executive level within your organization, make it so. There has to be a mindset change at the top, not only when discussing policies and creating company culture but also in creating diverse leadership. In 2020, for instance, only four Black CEOs were leading Fortune 500 firms, and as of 2019, fewer than 10% of the most senior P&L leaders in the Fortune 500 were Black. Be the change you are seeking.
Network, network, network
Seek out professionals and partners who understand the value of diversity and enable it in everything they do. Many diversity talent providers do nothing but outreach to various underrepresented groups — be it gender, race, ethnicity, age, disability, socio-economic class or something else — and have a solid pipeline of candidates available across many in-demand skill sets. Technology partners can integrate with these providers to help drive your brand and culture throughout their network and get diverse candidates excited about working with you.
At The Mom Project, we have a purpose-built diverse talent cloud that uses both AI and internal subject matter experts to speed up the hiring process, vet talent and communicate your company brand and culture, so when roles become available we have talent that’s ready to make an impact. Our Diverse Talent Cloud platform improves match reliability, reduces bias and helps the cloud grow more accurately and in real-time. This means companies access underrepresented minorities quicker and more reliably.
Within your organization itself how is communication happening? Are HR, Procurement, Strategic Sourcing, Marketing, Legal and other departments connected on your diversity and inclusion approach? How is this being disseminated to the management level? Do they have metrics in place to track these initiatives? Is variable compensation tied to the achievement of those metrics? Do you have coaching and leadership development available for new managers to ensure this is important to every team member?
The Mom Project is committed to keeping our community members connected. We have several groups that allow moms to discover, connect and network with others in our community to discuss interview tips, industry news, career resources and job leads. We also hold master classes with industry experts for more detailed discussions around varying topics such as overcoming career gaps, parental burnout and reentering the workforce.
Now is not the time to take your foot off the gas when it comes to diversity and inclusion. In fact, now more than ever, it is helping define the current and future state of an organization, as well as your company’s brand. If you want to create a space for all workers to perform at their best and be a company that draws top talent, the time is now.
To that end, this will be the first in a series on Diverse Talent Cloud to help shed light on their importance, ways to integrate them into your existing talent strategies, implementation best practices and how to best support these initiatives organizationally.
We look forward to sharing more with you soon! In the meantime, be sure to sign up for more information and to learn how we can help you unlock the power of moms:
Are you a company looking for an innovative digital staffing platform that promotes diversity, inclusion, and total talent management? Learn more about The Mom Project's Diverse Talent Cloud.