What are you doing to ensure your contingent labor is as diverse as your employee base?

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Companies today know the importance of having a strong Diversity and Inclusion program. Having a diverse workforce is a key driver for success, innovation, retention, and attracting top talent. 

Most organizations are already well on their way to tracking diversity in their full-time population. If they don’t have a strategy for recruiting, managing, engaging, and tracking diverse talent within their contingent labor population, they’re missing out on big benefits. This is especially true when you consider that by 2023, more than half (52%) of the US workforce will be gig economy workers. 

Diverse contingent labor: The missing puzzle piece

The desire to bring diversity to contingent labor has been on the radar for some time. For over a decade, organizations have been partnering with diverse suppliers as a way to invest in diversity. Supplier diversity is important, but companies are missing a big piece of the puzzle if they don’t also extend this to the labor they provide. If diversity suppliers (or any supplier for that matter) don’t hire within the community they represent or actively recruit diverse talent, it does little to help organizations capitalize on the benefits of a diverse workforce.

MSP partnerships and incentive programs

If you’re a company at the beginning of this journey and have an MSP in place to manage your contingent labor, partner with them on communicating your D&I messaging to their supplier network. You can also create SLAs with your MSP partner around increasing diversity among the candidates they submit. Have them track and report on it quarterly.

Another option is implementing an incentive program for suppliers that pay bonuses or prioritize them on future requirements for successfully placing diverse talent.

Referrals are worth their weight in gold

Companies may be surprised by how easy it is to get more diverse talent through the door by just asking their employee base. For example, Intel employees can earn a $4,000 bonus if they refer a woman, underrepresented minority or veteran who is ultimately hired. The same goes for contingent labor. Work with hiring managers who utilize contractors and have them ask for referrals. 

It starts at the top

If a company’s leadership and executive team aren’t on board and committed to broadening diversity among all labor categories, it likely won’t happen. Ensuring your company culture supports (and actively celebrates) diversity is imperative to shaping attitudes, attracting diverse talent, and future retention. If leaders feel uncomfortable promoting a culture of diversity or aren’t committed to do what it takes to create training, education, and programs around diversity, it will impact future hiring within all parts of the organization. 

The future is diverse

In the 40 years between 1980 and 2020, the white working-age population has declined from 83% of the nation’s total to 63%, while the number of minority workers have doubled. If an organization isn’t seen in the market as a workplace that is inclusive or candidates don’t see themselves in its culture and brand, they may be missing out on a future workforce that will lead them through the next 40.


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