Special Report: Why Inclusion at Work Matters More Than Ever

Over the last few months, the world has changed, and with it there has been an even greater realization that diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts are important for all workers, not just some. To help companies achieve their diversity and inclusions goals across their entire workforce, both for full time employees and contingent workers, we’ve released a new report, “The Future of Diversity & Inclusion in the Contingent Workforce,” from HireTalent & Consciously Unbiased, powered by SIA.

In the survey, nearly two-thirds (64%) of HR, procurement and other workforce professionals surveyed believe D&I efforts for their employed workforce are a priority, while only a quarter (26%) believe so for contingent. Meanwhile, given the current cultural shift due to recent social unrest, 63% of respondents expect contingent D&I to become a higher priority in the future.

On this episode of “Break the Bias,” Ashish Kaushal, founder, Consciously Unbiased, have an unplugged conversation with the researchers behind the report, Terri Gallagher, President/CEO, Gallagher and Consultants, and John Schroeder, Principal, Nova Foresight, to hear their lessons learned during the research. Listen to the full conversation here, and read on for some important highlights.

**This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

ASHISH: I loved working with you on our new report. Can you share why this project was important to you personally and professionally?


TERRI: “As a women-owned business, I have sometimes experienced bias, such as being asked, “Is this your husband’s company?” I think a lot of progress has been made, but there’s an opportunity to do more. I was personally very affected by what happened in the George Floyd incident, and not just this one incident, but it really brought to light how we can make assumptions about someone because of their gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. that are not only incorrect, but in some cases dangerous. The other piece of this is that we’re a workforce solutions company focused on helping to integrate the alternative workforce. [It’s important to me] to see this workforce recognized as being just as vital as the traditional workforce.”


JOHN: “From my perspective, having worked on a lot of big Fortune 500 new product launches and worked with tech and so forth, all the work to me has been fascinating and I’ve loved it, but I haven’t fell on a lot of that work that I’ve had the opportunity to make a contribution. I believe this work has the opportunity to make a real and significant change in the workforce. To me, the exciting part is if we do this right, and if we did this study right, what we found is that we could have the opportunity to make a difference in a really critical moment in our nation’s history.”


ASHISH: What’s the most surprising thing you learned in the course of doing your research?


TERRI: “In the report, the leaders had very tangible bottom-line results as far as performance and attraction strategy. We proved it over and over and over.”


JOHN: “I entered this from outside the D&I world. I didn’t know what the answer would be in terms of is there a real, tangible impact for diversity and inclusion? Clearly there’s a moral imperative, given what’s happened in our country. For full-time employees, the business case is proven conclusively—there’s a McKinsey study, an HBR study, and literally hundreds of studies that look at the corporate outcomes. Whether you look at profitability or return on investment or team performance, virtually every single study shows that companies that are leaders in D&I have outsized performance.What we came on to do in this project was to understand whether this relationship held true in the contingent workforce [as this hadn’t yet been proven]. Of course that’s what we found in the course of the research.”


ASHISH: What is your biggest hope for the outcome of this report?


TERRI: “This was a labor of love for me personally. I think that it’s used to create a more inclusive environment to measurably drive diversity hires within the alternative workforce. Also, COVID, and the George Floyd incident has created an environment where the minorities are the hardest hit hands down. Minorities and women have taken it on the chin over the past six months. To me, employment is a very powerful antidote to that. If you’ve got a way to really reach out and employ diversity candidates and give them income, it’s vital to turning it around. When you have income, when you have a job, when you feel empowered, you can do things. The antidote to a lot of what’s happened in COVID is give people an income, give them a job, and you’ve got to be able to embrace that community and create a way to reach out to them and include them in your hiring processes.”


JOHN: “I hope we can accomplish three things in the report. One is to prove the business case conclusively. If you look to the report, it’s very clear that those who are leaders in diversity and inclusion are achieving superior outputs. So any question about that should be put to bed and, in turn, I hope we’ll get senior management on board. Then secondly, provide a clear roadmap. It’s not necessarily going to tell you how to get there, but at least it will show you what the landscape looks like. So people can start to take that first step.  In the report, we quote Peter Drucker who says, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” You can have these great ideas and great plans, but unless it’s built into the fabric of your culture and your organization, it’s just never going to be executed.

And then I think as a big part of that, we hope that the section on the co-employment risk will start to debunk some of those myths or, at a minimum, point people to the particular legal arguments or the case histories that they can look into more deeply as they face a particular issue.”



Report: “The Future of Diversity & Inclusion in the Contingent Workforce,” from HireTalent & Consciously Unbiased, powered by SIA

McKinsey & Co.: “Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters

HBR: “The Other Diversity Dividend

CBS News: Racism Has Cost U.S. $16 Trillion, CitiGroup Finds

LinkedIn: “Co-Employment is Complicated, Trying to Protect Yourself from Co-Employment Can Expose your Organization to Discrimination Lawsuits”

Gallagher and Consultants

Nova Foresight

Staffing Industry Analysts


Holly Corbett

As the Director of Content at Consciously Unbiased, Holly Corbett is fueling inclusion through storytelling to build a passionate community and creating experiences inside organizations to transform workplace culture.
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