SEASON 2: EPISODE 14
Action Steps for Change: Diversity Is a Number, Inclusion Is a Culture
It’s no secret that our country, and therefore, our workforce is diversifying. By 2045, our country will have no racial majority according to the 2020 census.
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives are key for creating workplace cultures that celebrate differences, embrace commonalities and allow all voices to be heard. In order to be successful, DEI shouldn’t focus only on full-time employees, but your entire workforce. The contingent workforce includes contractors and freelancers and currently makes up 40% of today’s total workforce. Yet, the contingent workforce is often treated as second class, or an afterthought in the company’s position-hierarchy. With 62% of enterprises perceiving contingent labor as a vital component to their total workforce, there is no time like the present to focus DEI efforts on the contingent workforce.
In this episode of Breaking the Bias, Consciously Unbiased founder Ashish Kaushal (virtually) sits down with Brian Hoffmeyer and Elijah Bradshaw, two executives at Beeline, a tech platform that connects businesses to talent in the global extended workforce. They dive into how companies have the power to move the needle on equality, the impact of the pandemic on the gig economy, how companies can create safe spaces for inclusion for all employees—not just some, and why we’re in the middle of a workplace revolution as well as how to adapt.
Read below for some key takeaways.
TRACK DEI FOR ALL OF YOUR WORKERS TO ADVANCE EQUITY
“The contingent workforce is something that’s growing at all of our clients in terms of the number of workers they’re using and the importance of the contingent workforce in growing their businesses. One of the things we also know is that it’s often not measured well or captured in a system, and that applies to the diversity status of the contingent workforce. There’s such an opportunity for companies to make a difference in increasing the diversity of their organizations by focusing on their contingent workforce, allowing you to hit your diversity goals much more quickly.”
~Brian Hoffmeyer, SVP Market Strategies, Beeline
LEADERS MUST TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR CREATING A SAFE SPACE
“For me, living my truth is really about understanding the responsibility I have to put DEI at the forefront of how we operate as a business. There might be some people who feel uncertain or uncomfortable talking about it, so I try to create an environment where people feel safe, trusted, and comfortable. It takes courage to talk about this. That’s a big part of the reason why the element of safety and creating a safe environment is super important. Recently we’ve had a number of colleagues who have been encouraged to share incredibly personal things about their lives in this area and become a critical part of continuing to perpetuate the sense of comfort and transparency.”
~Elijah Bradshaw, VP, Human Resources, Beeline
ENCOURAGE RISK-TAKING FOR INNOVATION
People that feel safe are going to make better, more interesting, riskier decisions that can really impact the company in a good way. They’re going to put themselves out on a limb, and that’s what makes a company truly innovative.
MOVE TOWARDS WORK-LIFE INTEGRATION
“I think we’re in the middle of a revolution in the workplace. The balance of influence has shifted towards the employee. Pre-pandemic, if a colleague had to leave at three o’clock because of a personal responsibility there might be this feeling of guilt associated with leaving work early. That’s gone. I think that’s great, because something the pandemic has forced us to do is to feel more empowered to seek balance in our lives…companies need to harness that balance and support it.”
THE ROLE OF EMPATHY IN HELPING OTHERS LIVE THEIR TRUTH
“We always say: empathy is putting yourself in other people’s shoes, but that’s really not enough. It’s really about taking what they say, what they believe, their perspective, and their views, as their truth. It’s shifting from the Golden Rule of doing unto others as you’d have done unto yourself, to the Platinum Rule of treating people not how you want to be treated, but how THEY want to be treated. Often when we’re talking about [DEI], we get into people’s deeply-held beliefs that have been instilled in them throughout their childhood. It’s hard to shift those, but if you shift to seeing that what they’re saying is their experience, it makes it easier for people to truly be empathetic by that definition.”
Breaking the Bias Podcast: A DEI Leader on Why Belonging Matters For All Workers, Not Just Some