Beyond the well-known impact of COVID-19 on life and business, as economies build resilience, coming to the fore are the pockets and opportunities that lost significance in the year 2020. One such pocket is that of diversity and inclusion. And while calling it a pocket diminishes the volume of impact, the actual setback that this segment has suffered is one that may require years of concentrated, undeterred efforts.
So how can corporates play an instrumental role in fast-tracking these efforts and bring about a monumental change in the state of global diversity, inclusion, and thereby extend that to equity and belongingness? How can recruiters in particular scale the level and impact of organizational goals of becoming more inclusive, diverse and equitable?
Let’s find out!
Diversity and the future of recruiting
According to LinkedIn’s “The Future of Recruiting: How COVID-19 is transforming recruiting” survey, 73% of Asia-Pacific talent professionals say diversity will be very important to the future of recruiting. In recent times, several leaders have reiterated a popular belief - one should not waste a crisis. If one takes this advice, then the ongoing crisis presents organizations with an opportunity to reset priorities, rewire culture, and rewrite values.
The workforce today is more sensitive to public welfare issues than ever. It only makes sense that the same population would demand such equity at the workplace as well, calling for diversity and inclusion to become key priorities as organizations begin planning the way forward to switch from recovery to growth.
The Black Lives Matters Movement in the US, for instance was a significant movement that reinstilled the sentiment of a sense of community despite a parallel peaking crisis. Similarly in APAC, visible advocacy and policy changes towards narrowing gender pay gaps, laws encouraging LGBTQ+ inclusion, as well as increasing awareness around ethnicities triggered a response from corporates, much like from government establishments, to bring about long due workplace changes, fostering equity and acceptance.
As organizations move forward, a key avenue to bolster inclusion efforts while enabling the change to be both sustainable and scalable is making recruitment, the very first step towards building the workforce, more aware and inclusion focused.
Recruiting with a purpose
The outlook of organizations has so far been to build a diverse culture with a few diverse hire numbers, however, with the ongoing changes, there is an opportunity to shift this outlook to one that walks the talk by valuing and living inclusion through talent processes, and not a mere display of intent and belief.
In the video below, sharing how the crisis gave her an opportunity to pause, reflect and develop a purpose towards diversity, Claire, a recruiter from Palo Alto Networks, talks about receiving her diversity recruitment certification and the journey moving forward. “When recruitment came to a standstill, a lot of us decided to join forces with sales and other HR functions to discover new ways in which we could contribute. During this transformation, I found my inner drive for inclusion and diversity. So when I rejoined the hiring team, I felt it was the perfect time for me to make a positive impact,” said Claire.
By equipping recruiters with the necessary knowledge, skills and tools, employers can strengthen their inclusion strategies and work towards deeply ingraining diversity as a guideline and eventually value, building outlook and processes towards a day that does not allow breeding of discrimination on any grounds.
Making hiring managers accountable for diversity
The first step is empowerment and the next accountability. With human bias likely to reflect in workplace decisions, it becomes critical to follow strategy with accountability, and talent professionals agree, revealed LinkedIn’s survey. According to the survey, 54% of Asia-Pacific talent professionals say hiring managers are held accountable for interviewing a diverse slate of candidates.
As Claire rightly said, “Talent acquisition leaders today hold the key to build a better tomorrow by creating, learning and helping talent grow - within their teams as well - multiplying the overall impact of efforts.” What can accountability address? A level playing field and breaking down barriers! “Tech, especially cybersecurity, is often believed to be a field for men, despite the fact that there are many equally talented women out there.” This myth holds true for several fields of work restricting opportunity and progress to a select few, and the ongoing crisis has provided talent professionals with an opportunity to set the record straight by building diversity not as a culture, but a practice, through an inclusive approach to workforce building.
In Claire’s words, “No doubt this time has been challenging, but we all come out stronger, better prepared for what the future holds.” As the future of work unfolds before us, here’s an opportunity to lay the groundwork to adopt and accelerate diversity and inclusion for a new and better world of work.