Take a good look at your workforce. What do you see?

Is it a homogeneous population? Or is it rich and diverse with vibrant backgrounds, ages, genders and races?

In recent months, our country has witnessed events that have provided us with the opportunity to reflect on how we hire into our businesses, and how we can change our strategic efforts to increase diversity and inclusivity.

Juli Bacon, President and Founder of JB Consulting Systems shares why businesses that fail to make increasing diversity and inclusion a priority will struggle to keep up. “Diversity builds innovation, business growth and can potentially build new products and services. Diversity can be in race, sex, age not just in experience, skills and knowledge. Businesses failing to take action are missing out on key opportunities for growth.”

The increase in unemployment rates due to COVID-19 has hit minority groups at disproportionate numbers. As businesses begin to hire new employees, they have a unique opportunity to quickly diversify their workforce by tapping into this market.

Bacon states “While implementing non-discrimination policies and encouraging workplace training that focus on respect and inclusivity are a great start, they are not enough to create meaningful change to the demographics of the industry. To increase diversity and inclusion in the workplace, businesses must be intentional about their efforts and ensure that the effort is not only supported by management but a priority of the business.”

Bacon shares her step by step plan to increasing diversity and inclusion in the workplace:

  1. Get your House in Order: Companies will have difficulty in recruiting for diversity if their own house is not in order. If your business has complaints of harassing behavior, it is difficult to recruit more diverse employees if they feel they may be subjected to similar behavior. Regular training and a full company management effort and support of anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies is critical.
  2. Strategic Efforts: Businesses need to make diversity initiatives a part of the organization’s strategic plan with both short and long term goals.
  3. Recruitment and Selection: Review your recruitment and selection process from beginning to end to determine if your practices may be unintentionally biased. Review job descriptions and ads for gender specific terms or other wording that may discourage diverse applicants. Train your managers to screen resumes without bias and ask interview questions that lead to information on the ability of the employee to perform the job not information about their protected classes. Expand your recruiting sources to include those that target diverse populations.
  4. Digital Footprint: Review the company website, are your pictures showing the story you want of a diverse workplace or does it show the workplace that you have? Do you support causes that would attract a diverse workforce?  What are your social media posts telling others?
  5. Have Open and Honest discussions with Employees: Companies need to engage in discussion with their employees and ask for help in building a diverse workforce. Discussions around why we don’t attract diversity and what we can do to help can help bring the entire company around to pushing for diversity.
  6. Go All In: If you are looking to be diverse – be diverse in practice not just in theory – that means being open to all of the protected classes not just some.
  7. Take Action & Monitor: Don’t wait to take action until you have a perfectly outlined plan. Employees and candidates want to see that you are taking steps to get to where you want to be. Adjust the plan based on successes.

Juli hopes you take a moment to implement these steps just as she did. “While these step are not groundbreaking changes, my hope is that if all of us took deliberate steps to increase diversity and inclusivity in our businesses, we can quickly increase the representation of minority groups in our workplaces.”

Bacon is focusing her passion for increasing diversity in the workforce with her  own building company, Bacon Building and Maintenance.  She is currently creating a holistic curriculum for an apprentice program that focuses on recruiting, training and placing women, minorities and disadvantaged youth into the construction industry.

For more information visit www.jbconsultingsystems.com or contact Linda Robison at 800-317-1378 ext 14 or via email lrobison@jbconsultingsystems.com to learn more about how JB Consulting Systems can help create your diversity and recruitment plans.