Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have become important topics in the business world, but it can be challenging for companies to implement effective DEI programs. In particular, the staffing industry faces unique challenges in implementing DEI initiatives. The panelists in a recent discussion on DEI in the staffing industry shared their thoughts on the subject and offered insights on how to overcome some of the obstacles.
Think beyond the quantitative measure
Kristina Bell highlights that it's a risk to eliminate DEI when economic times are tough because existing employees still need inclusion and sense of belonging. Companies should think about DEI like they think about their core values - a part of the culture that is not worth sacrificing.
Inaction is Speaking Volumes
Lauren Jones emphasized that inaction is an opinion and that it tells the rest of the world something about a company or a leader. Leslie Vickrey added that many leaders lead in fear, either because they believe they have already reached a state of diversity without knowing what it actually means, or because they are afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. Leslie pointed out that by doing nothing, a company or leader is actually saying something, and that it is important to have open conversations and dialogues with each other to learn and grow.
Lack of Excuses
Brian Vesce discussed the unique opportunity that the staffing industry has to implement strong DEI programs, not only for their firms but also for their customers. He mentioned that some staffing firms argue that they just need to fill jobs and don't have the time to focus on DEI initiatives. However, Brian believes that this is an excuse, and that there is an opportunity to implement effective DEI programs in the staffing industry.
Building a Diverse Network
DeLibra Wesley shared that the key to implementing DEI initiatives in the staffing industry is to find time to work on building a bench of diverse candidates. DeLibra mentioned that if a recruiter only has a small pool of candidates to choose from, it will limit the diversity of the candidate pool. To overcome this challenge, recruiters need to carve out time to be proactive and build a network of diverse candidates.
In conclusion, DEI initiatives in the staffing industry face several challenges, including inaction, lack of excuses, and limited candidate pools. However, by having open conversations and taking proactive steps to build a diverse network, the staffing industry can overcome these obstacles and implement effective DEI programs.