The just released July 2022 Jobs Report touts an impressive increase of 528,000 jobs added to the US economy, with the unemployment rate falling to 3.5% nationally.
While this is great news for the economy, it means that the competition to hire a talented workforce continues to increase. Businesses continue to assess and reassess both their internal and external practices to ensure they can be a place that top talent wants to work.
One of the top 10 identified trends in 2022 continues to be the desire of today’s workforce to see increased diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. To impact the level of recruitment in a tight labor market, many businesses are exploring what this means and how it fits into their business model.
Catelina Colman, HR Director at Built In, helps to provide some perspective, so let’s dig deeper.
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- The presence of differences within a given setting. In the workplace, that can mean differences in race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age and socioeconomic class.
Many tend to think of diversity as differences in visible physical differences such as age, race or gender, and all that is true, the notion is limited. From a business standpoint, it is really about increasing the diversity in thought and perspectives. Different perspectives influence your product or service—how it is made, functions and who it serves. More perspectives with varying life experiences makes for a better final product.
- The act of ensuring that processes and programs are impartial, fair and provide equal outcomes for every individual.
Equity considers that not everyone starts at the same level. Inequity can permeate throughout all policies and practices within an organization but can really show through in position descriptions. For example, instead of listing “5-7 years of experience” as a requirement, try identifying specific areas of desired experience such as “experience managing projects autonomously from idea to implementation.” This allows those who are earlier in their career, but just as competent, to highlight their skill set and not their age.
- The practice of ensuring that people feel a sense of belonging in the workplace. This means that every employee feels comfortable and supported by the organization when it comes to being their authentic selves.
While the workplace does require professionalism and etiquette (i.e., no profane language), an inclusive culture should not bar individuals from being themselves. “Employees should be able to walk through the door without feeling like something about them has to change. People want to belong, plain and simple,”
This topic is multilayered and complex for many business leaders. At times, it can bring about confusion and misunderstanding, and there is a level of discomfort with the way things used to be as we create pathways for how things are. If you would like more information about this topic, Workforce Connections, Inc. is sponsoring the “Pursuit of Diversity” as part of our celebration of September, Workforce Development Month.
The Pursuit of Diversity is a virtual event that will take place from 8 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, and is designed to continue the conversation with local businesses, human resources professionals and service providers on the expanded way of thinking intersectionally regarding diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.
Dr. Jodi Vandenberg-Daves will speak on “The Pathways to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Organization,” and Matt Glowacki will discuss The New Face of Disability. If you would like to purchase tickets for the unique event, please connect with us here. https://wcibreakfastforum.com/ or at www.workforceconnections.org.