How Do Leaders Support Diversity & Inclusion?

Overcoming Biases in the Workplace

If you’ve been reading our series on "Diverse Talent Cloud - - the Future of Work" you know diversity is good for business. Not only is it critical to increasing company profitability, efficiency and innovation, it’s also a key component for attracting and retaining the talent of tomorrow. 

According to Gartner, the gig economy is growing three times faster than the overall U.S. workforce. It’s projected that by 2023, more than half (52%) of the U.S. workforce will be gig economy workers.

👉  By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be made up of millennials -- the most diverse group in American history, with 44.2% identifying as “non-white.” 

While companies are at different stages of their DE&I journey, once they’ve committed to correct and address biases and roadblocks that exist, implementing this messaging into a company’s brand and culture starts at the top. 

Leadership and beyond

It is incumbent on leaders to ensure diversity is being taken into consideration in every part of their organization -- from unbiased job descriptions and interviews to policies and procedures and throughout their culture -- to absorb new ideas, voices, concerns and opinions. This can only be accomplished when leaders are honest and transparent about where they sit as an organization today, pitfalls and all. These conversations aren’t easy. If they feel uncomfortable and challenge your long-held beliefs, that means you’re doing it right. 

While embracing DE&I starts at the top, it’s up to every worker to embrace it. If management doesn't create an environment where diversity is celebrated, team members -- be it full-time, part-time, contract or consultant -- won’t feel safe offering their opinions. They impact how employees and contingent labor experience an organization. 

Recent research from BCG revealed that over a quarter of employees at large companies responded to their survey, stating they don’t feel their direct manager is committed to diversity.

💡 “This is a major challenge as organizations seek to hire members of underrepresented groups—women, people of color and people with LGBTQ status, among others—and create a more inclusive workplace to support them,” researchers stated. “Even when the executive team is fully committed, employees working under a less-than-committed direct manager are far less likely to feel welcome and included—and far more likely to leave for a job elsewhere.”

How can leaders prepare their organizations to embrace diversity?

Diversity and inclusion teams need to be connected to Procurement and HR to ensure the alignment exists to promote diversity throughout the organization. Merging diversity strategies with total talent strategies allows for transparent conversations throughout the organization. 

Diversity and inclusion have, historically, not been given the level of commitment and specificity worthy of an enterprise-wide policy. While leaders inherently understand the need for diversity and believe in its importance, they may not know specific steps to implement it. Therefore, regular mentoring, training, and leadership development initiatives should take place within every department and at all job levels. 

Ensuring your company culture not only supports -- but celebrates -- diversity is critical to shaping workforce attitudes, investment, future referrals, and retention. How leaders engage is important. If they feel uncomfortable promoting this culture or are unsure of the benefits of a diverse workforce, it can have long-reaching impacts.

Many companies are actively hiring Chief Diversity Officers as executive-level positions to strategize on how an organization can best capitalize on diversity in the workplace. The shift in response to issues of diversity, inclusion, discrimination and harassment has brought this position to the forefront, and many companies are relying on them to, among other things, bring in new programs, partners and initiatives that can improve diversity within the organization.

Engage with partners who deliver on DE&I 

Many companies have partnered with MWBD-owned businesses for their contingent workforce programs to show their commitment to putting spend through a diverse-owned business. This is a solid first step. The problem is the talent coming through those providers isn’t necessarily diverse. 

For many organizations, finding diverse candidates has been challenging. 

👉  The Mom Project is the only technology and services organization on the market that connects companies with curated communities of pre-vetted and ready-to-work gender and ethnically diverse talent. Our bias-free, AI-enabled matching and data-driven recruitment expertise mean an easier, faster path to building and growing a more inclusive workforce. 

At The Mom Project, we believe that strong DE&I initiatives are the key to building better, more balanced workplaces. It’s our mission to cultivate inclusive work environments by providing businesses with progressive staffing solutions and support to reach their DE&I goals, while also creating opportunities for people with less-privileged identities.

Until diversity becomes something the entire workforce holds in high regard, the hope for a more inclusive workplace will be just that -- hope. Educating companies about all of the benefits of a diverse workforce is everyone’s job. Allyship is critical, and The Mom Project is committed to offering it. 

As a part of our commitment to this topic, this is the sixth in the series “Diverse Talent Cloud -- the Future of Work,” intended 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.


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