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Diversity recruitment programs have long been a means of promoting inclusion and tolerance, and upholding anti-discrimination regulations that began with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We’re all familiar with the standard equal opportunity employment statements and diversity goals that exist at many organizations. However, in today’s work environment, companies are beginning to look at how they can leverage fresh perspectives on diversity as a branding strategy to recruit and retain both full-time and contingent talent. These branding strategies are becoming increasingly important as we prepare to meet the generational challenges and needs of the 2020 workforce, which will contain Millennials, Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers.
Discussions around diversity used to primarily focus on the prevention of labor force discrimination. Employers are now expanding upon that to consider the value and impact that diversity of ideas can have on employee engagement, as well as company growth and performance. Recruiting and retaining talent with unique problem-solving approaches, varied skill sets and cultural backgrounds enables everyone on the team to gain insight and inspiration that encourage a more collaborative environment.
The role of diversity will be further challenged by Millennials who are projected to make up 50 percent of the 2020 workforce. This generational group is very focused on the authenticity and meaningfulness of initiatives, so they will potentially seek to reevaluate how diversity recruitment programs should be implemented in the years to come.
“Gone are the days of homogeneous work environments, where everyone basically has the same approach to an organization’s business operations,” says Anne Hayden, vice president of human resources for CDI Corporation. “Globalization is the future of commerce, and in order for organizations to remain competitive, they will need to attract and engage top candidates, from diverse backgrounds, who think differently and attack work differently, bringing fresh new ideas to the organization. Employers who are able to communicate their commitment to this modern version of diversity, as a key component of their branding strategy, will be the most successful at enticing the best candidates.”
For employers looking to revisit their diversity recruitment and branding efforts, Hayden advises starting with one initiative at a time. Here are some examples of potential initiatives:
Employee Development Committees – Open to all employees, these groups focus on providing networking, mentoring and career development opportunities to meet the specific needs of various members of staff, whether permanent or interim, including women, minorities, LGBT and veterans.
Heritage Events – Typically focused on nationally recognized months such as Black History Month (February), Women’s History Month (March), Hispanic Heritage Month (mid-September to mid-October), or National Disability Employment Awareness Month (October), your organization can use these events to celebrate the contributions of these groups to American society and culture. They also present a perfect opportunity to encourage interaction between your contingent workers and your regular staff in a way that promotes a sense of belonging.
Vendor Diversity Programs – Serving as a community outreach effort, the goal of these programs is to partner with small or disadvantaged groups like minority institutions, veteran associations or HUBZone businesses that are interested in working as a supplier for your company, and provide mentoring opportunities that increase the number of successful individuals within these organizations.
Once you determine your starting initiative, be sure to discuss it while interviewing and onboarding permanent and contract employees. Promote on the website in areas where you discuss the company culture, leverage in marketing materials, and via community or public relations initiatives. Internally promote via flyers, email, intranets and internal work-related networks such as Yammer.
For organizations that already have diversity programs, consider surveying your staff annually to gauge their level of satisfaction and determine if these initiatives are meeting their needs. Then look at these programs, one by one, to see how they can be better implemented to provide meaning and value to employees.
Ultimately, companies will have to determine how their diversity initiatives impact the organization’s culture, employee engagement and overall productivity. Hayden adds, “If we want to continue to attract and retain the best talent, it’s important to highlight the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusiveness, not just in the typical sense, but also in the broader sense of accepting different ideas and outside-the-box thinking.”
Recent CDI Analysis
“Globalization is the future of commerce, and in order for organizations to remain competitive, they will need to attract and engage top candidates, from diverse backgrounds, who think differently and attack work differently, bringing fresh new ideas to the organization.”Anne Hayden
Vice President of Human Resources
Employment Situation (U.S.)
The U.S. labor market experienced notable growth during June. According to the Employment Situation released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 223,000 jobs were added, causing the unemployment rate to drop to 5.3 percent. The most gains were seen in the professional and business services field, which added 64,000 jobs. Within this sector, the most significant area of growth were seen in temporary help services, architectural and engineering services, and computer systems design services.
Employment in mining fell by 4,000 while the government, wholesale trade, information, construction and manufacturing industries all remained stable.
According to The New York Times, the Federal Reserve has still not made any decisions concerning short-term interest rates, despite the tightening labor market. The source explained that the Fed is hesitant to act until it can see how the declining economic situation in Europe may affect global finances. Uncertainty on Wall Street is another major factor in the Fed’s choice to wait. Economists believe interest rates may go up in September, but it will likely occur later in the year.
The full Bureau of Labor Statistics report can be downloaded by
Employment Situation (Canada)
Canada’s labour situation experienced various adjustments throughout the month of June, yet the unemployment rate remained at 6.8 per cent. According to the most recent Labour Force Survey released by Statistics Canada, this is the fifth month in a row that Canada’s jobless rate has stood at this number. During the second quarter of this year 143,000 full-time jobs were added to the economy as 110,000 part-time jobs were eliminated. In June alone, 65,000 new full-time positions were created as 71,000 part-time jobs were dissolved. Between June 2014 and June 2015, 176,000 jobs were added.
The public administration sector added 9,500 positions in June, though the report explained that this industry was down 21,000 jobs compared to a year before. Business, building and support services lost 14,000 jobs, though the industry maintained 22,000 more positions than it did in June 2014.
Despite the significant amount of positions that disappeared from the Canadian economy last month, the labour report exceeded economists’ expectations. Reuters Canada reported that industry professionals had anticipated a cut of at least 10,000 positions in June.
While most economists would describe June’s survey as a mixed bag, it also revealed promising factors that could be signs of slow yet steady improvement. For example, the increase in full-time jobs compared to the decline of part-time positions indicated that the quality of Canada’s labour market appears to be getting better.
Canadian ES Report:
Labour Force Survey, June 2015