The why’s and how’s of contingent worker diversity
Arsenio Bell

3 minutes

The why’s and how’s of contingent worker diversity

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) agenda is no new topic for HR teams. There’s a general recognition that it’s beneficial to businesses, aiding productivity, creativity and supporting talent attraction in a skills short market. 

Aside from this, we’re also seeing the scale of demand for employers to be more diverse growing at speed. Consumers are demanding it and talent pools are voting with their feet and going elsewhere if they don’t experience it. 

More to the point, it’s simply the right thing to do. 

Focusing on the contingent market

But, DE&I is often considered as more of a value-add in the permanent workforce than contingent. However, as our own VP of Client Solutions, Arsenio Bell, stated in our recent whitepaper, Driving DE&I in the contingent workforce: 12 winning strategies; 

“Having a DE&I programme for the contingent workforce opens up possibilities, which opens up capabilities, which opens up new levels of progress growth and outcomes. There’s financial links between diversity and with the contingent workforce becoming so critical, having a diversity, equity and inclusion strategy for this segment of talent pools simply makes sense.”

Key steps to success

Achieving contingent workforce diversity isn’t an easy task. Results won’t be delivered overnight – but they are achievable. While it’s not a comprehensive list (and certainly doesn’t cover all 12 tips from our whitepaper), here’s a few key steps to take: 

- You need the foundations first: Before you implement any new tactics or change your approach, it’s important to focus first on the foundations. If diversity is lacking in your contingent workforce there’s a blocker that needs to be identified before any further action is taken. Take a step back and review – in an honest way – what your corporate visions and values look like today.

- Use diverse suppliers: The providers in your supply chain will be crucial to driving DE&I in your contingent workforce, after all, they are the ones supplying the workers and interacting with them regularly. Partnering with experts that not only align with your firm’s diversity values, but also have the experience in diverse hiring practices themselves will naturally bolster DE&I in flexible workforces.

- Take a new look at the flexible workforce: One of the barriers to inclusivity in flexible hiring is how this labour market is perceived. Too often it is viewed as just a temporary – and unfortunately sometimes even a disposable – resource. This needs to shift to see the strategic value of the contingent worker. These individuals can be redeployed time and again. Changing mindsets to create a better balance between the value of contingent workers and that of permanent resources is needed.

- Monitoring is crucial: Knowing what needs to change in your resourcing strategy is one step in the process. But being able to track what is and isn’t working is an absolute must. There needs to be complete transparency across the contingent workforce. What does the mix of the current workforce look like? Where are there specific demographic gaps? What are the KPIs and are they being met? Remember that this should never be a finger-pointing exercise. Instead, the ability to take action where improvements can be made should be the focus. Technology will certainly underpin how well results can be tracked and it is crucial to have a centralised hub before implementing any DE&I initiatives so you can monitor success. 

- Hone your focus: Diversity is a hugely broad topic. It isn’t about focusing on attracting more women, engaging with those from an ethnic background or improving hiring across disability groups. The mix is significantly varied, from LGBTQI+, to those with a criminal record and much more. Becoming an inclusive brand to all demographics in one move isn’t possible. When starting any action, you need to hone your focus into targeted programmes first and then expand from there. The goal should always be to create a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion that organically grows, rather than push values that don’t exist onto the workforce. 

Access your no-obligation guide

These are just a few of the steps that can help boost contingent worker diversity. If you want to delve into the topic deeper and access more tips to help your firm, download the report today.

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