We All Know There Is a Lack of Diversity in the Workplace. Who Is Responsible?
This column originally appeared in full at Entrepreneur.com on August 29, 2021.
By Madhu Chamarty, CEO, BeyondHQ
Study after study has shown that when it comes to increasing diversity in the workforce, companies are making little progress. After the death of George Floyd and the nationwide protests against racism and police brutality that followed, corporate America pledged to do its part in raising up people of color and making more opportunities available to minority workers. Many businesses are stepping up and showing they not only talk the talk but also walk the walk. Yet, the efforts made by the majority of companies pale in comparison to what’s possible if we all do our part and take a bigger-picture look at how we can address this problem.
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The main contributor to businesses not doing enough to diversify the workforce is a lack of incentive to make changes at a micro-level and little understanding of how and where to find minority talent. For example, prior to the pandemic, companies in Silicon Valley and other major cities tended to limit their search for potential candidates to the local job market. One of the positive outcomes of the recent acceleration of remote and hybrid work is the realization that companies can now hire workers anywhere, and the ability to hire talent in locations beyond where the office is located is very real. This flexibility opens up great possibilities for hiring more diverse talent.
This begs the question: How can companies source talent in markets around the country where they’re more likely to find a diverse pool of candidates rather than stick to existing hiring methods that exclude a broader swath of the population? Finding and hiring employees with diverse ethnic backgrounds who have the required education, experience, and skill set is entirely doable, as long as companies are willing to put in the effort across all levels of organizational structure.
There are several approaches companies can take, some of which I have described below as examples that businesses can replicate to increase diversity among their employees. There are many more examples of diversity equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives that are successful. These actions are not mutually exclusive; rather, some combination of all will be the most effective way for our companies and workforces to reflect the diversity that makes this country so great.