Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in the workplace has been an important issue for businesses for some time. But the conversation became more urgent last year as movements such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo led to public pressure boiling over. For employers, the need to have a diverse workforce is now driven by this wider demand, bolstered by the recognition that a more inclusive business is likely to be a more successful business.
A wealth of research has shown just how successful diverse companies can be. With the right culture and approach to inclusion, organisations can reap the rewards of a productive, motivated, highly-collaborative and creative workforce. This sentiment is expressed in boardrooms around the world, and has led to widespread initiatives to improve the representation of minority groups in permanent workforces.
The question now is, how can employers apply this DE&I focus to their supply chains?
Let’s take a look.
Translating DE&I efforts across the temporary workforce
While this corporate buy-in to the need for diversity is leading to changes across many permanent talent strategies, the challenge is far greater when it comes to DE&I in the temporary workforce.
In many instances, a firm won’t have complete oversight of its temporary workforce, which makes monitoring DE&I within this flexible segment of the workforce highly difficult. This in turn makes it hard to identify areas in need of improvement.
Although there are means of gaining visibility and transparency of your workforce, in order to really drive step-changes on this issue HR and procurement teams need the reassurance that their recruitment supply chain is diverse itself.
With multiple suppliers acting on behalf of your brand and engaging with or deploying the flexible workforce for your company, the need to ensure their approach to DE&I is in line with yours is key to delivering on corporate diversity promises. The challenge, however, stems from the word ‘multiple’.
The recruitment supply chain can be vast, and managing the key performance metrics of so many suppliers can become incredibly time consuming. If we add in additional diversity metrics of both the workforce supplied and managed by the supplier, and the internal DE&I viewpoints of the supplier itself, it’s clear that employers face a significant administration headache.
But the diversity of the recruitment supply chain is not a topic that can be ignored. So, what can HR and procurement teams do to address this?
Here are our top tips for driving and improving diversity in recruitment supply chains:
Choose suppliers that can really performHaving the right partnerships in place in the first instance will lay the foundations for success. In the US for example, working with a supplier that is diversity certified provides some confidence that they meet basic DE&I criteria. But it’s important to ensure that suppliers aren’t relying on this certification alone if you want to guarantee that diversity is truly being adopted across the recruitment supply chain.
Ask the supplier to demonstrate the tangible actions they’ve delivered and what diversity targets they are working towards. This will provide a clear picture of their commitment to delivering on any DE&I promises.
Look for suppliers with a diverse cultureYou can tell a lot about how a recruitment supplier will deliver diversity, equity and inclusion results for your firm by looking at its own employee DNA and company culture. Delve into the business itself and identify how inclusive it is before they become a preferred supplier.
Have measurement processes in placeIn order to really know that your recruitment supply chain is consistently delivering against any diversity and inclusion promises, there needs to be some performance metrics in place. While these will be different for each business, it really is important to commit to a review and evaluation of how things are going. Without this information, there could be gaps across the supply chain that are impeding your firm’s own diversity targets.
Speak to your MSP
Of course, the above does require a significant time investment from a business. However, a good Managed Services Provider (MSP) will be able to have these conversations and provide the right metrics for you. So, if you haven’t done so already, speak to your MSP to find out what more they can do to support you and the recruitment supply chain your firm needs.
Guidant Global’s INfluence programme
At Guidant, DE&I is built into everything we do. In fact, we run a diversity, equality and inclusion programme to support diversity improvements across our business, the suppliers we work with and, ultimately, the end client. The aim of everything we deliver through INfluence is to create equal and fair opportunities for all.
In the US, our INfluence program has a vital role to play in nurturing more diverse suppliers into our supply chain. Working in true partnership, we provide selected diversity suppliers with multiple tools to help them achieve greater success. Throughout the programme, our teams mentor suppliers and offer extensive guidance, performance reviews and a unique opportunity to build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with our leading clients - to help inform and support their diversity and inclusion goals.
In the UK, our commitment to building DE&I into the recruitment supply chain has led to us becoming the only recruitment provider to achieve the UK Government’s Disability Confident Employer Scheme, level 3 status as a Disability Confident Leader. We have also supported 13 of our suppliers to achieve level 2 status and continue to work with others to help them reach this goal as well. We also have Clear Assured status and are founding members of the Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI).
Adding value for the future of work
It’s becoming clear that the world will no longer tolerate the gaps in diversity and inclusion that we’ve historically witnessed. For organisations to be truly representative, DE&I needs to be nurtured across every element of the business, from the permanent workforce to the recruitment supply chain.