How to Advance Diversity & Inclusion in Your Contingent Workforce — and Why It Matters

We’re experiencing a cultural shift in the workplace and the world. The pandemic has changed the way we work and shed light on systemic inequities. This has led to corporation after corporation releasing statements acknowledging the need for greater diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in the workplace.

We’re seeing an impact in the contingent workforce. In fact, 63% of leaders expect contingent DE&I to become a higher priority due to recent social upheaval, according to findings from the new The Future of Diversity & Inclusion in the Contingent Workforcereport, commissioned by HireTalent and Consciously Unbiased, in association with Staffing Industry Analysts.

The report uncovered some of the biggest barriers to moving forward with diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in the contingent workforce, such as concerns about co-employment risk, failure to have risk mitigation strategies in place, and poor manager training.

The report also offers ideas and strategies on how to overcome these barriers. Here is what the research shows that leaders in DE&I in the contingent workforce do to successfully advance belonging, taking their goals from an ideal to a reality.

Build the business case. Leaders who have well-established DE&I programs for their contingent workforce experience benefits from integrating their traditional and contingent workforce programs, such as having the competitive advantage of being better able to attract talent, greater access to highly-skilled talent, and receive a higher ROI for contingent labor.

Internal metrics matter. Leaders of DE&I in the contingent workforce were 17 times more likely to be satisfied with their diversity measurement efforts than laggards. They ensured most contingent workers are captured in systems to enable an understanding of all the ways and places we utilize contingent labor.

Leaders were more likely to measure the ratio of total spend with diversity suppliers, but take it further by also measuring the ratio of diverse candidates hired to total candidates hired, the presence of diverse candidates within total candidate pools, the percentage of diverse candidates converted to permanent, track employee satisfaction survey results among contingent workers, and measure a return on investment among diverse contingent hires.

Push for deeper supplier D&I data. Leaders also partner with suppliers who share their D&I values, including having a strategy to capture candidate diversity profile, supplier outreach to diverse candidate sources, and percentage of diverse candidates within their talent pool.

Executive sponsorship is key. It must come from the top down in order to be successful.

Sixty-nine percent of leaders have clear senior-level executive sponsorship of diversity and inclusion programs.

Create a culture code. Fifty-nine percent of leaders in this space have established a clear code of conduct regarding how contingent workers are treated. This clarity provides the entire workforce with an understanding of how contingent workers fit into the overall workforce to help maximize success.

Train managers on why DE&I matters. The same managers who hire full-time employees also hire contingent workers. Managers hold tremendous power in advancing inclusion in the workplace, and in the hiring and retention of diverse talent. Nearly 50% of leaders provide training and education around diversity and inclusion to managers responsible for hiring and coaching.

It’s time to meet the moment:  Belonging matters not just for some of your workforce, but for all. Focusing on diversity and inclusion should not stop with your employed workers; your contingent workforce is a large part of your company culture, and those workers hold a big opportunity for you to take a giant, positive step forward when it comes to advancing inclusion and a sense of belonging.

“The Future of Diversity & Inclusion in the Contingent Workforce” is available online.

Ashish Kaushal

Ashish Kaushal
Ashish Kaushal is founder and CEO of HireTalent. He can be reached at ashish (at) hiretalent (dot) com.

Ashish Kaushal

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