7 Takeaways From Our Rix on Race Webinar, “Lessons From the Field: DEI in Practice”

On December 2nd,  we hosted the final session in our three-part “Rix on Race: DEI in Practice” series, Lessons from the Field: DEI Programs in Staffing. In this panel, featuring Jalie Cohen of Adecco, Ian Moses of Allegis Global Services, and Audra Jenkins of Randstad NA, we had a lively discussion on the practical steps that staffing and recruiting professionals can take to build DEI practices to serve their customers. 

Here are seven takeaways from this engaging panel moderated by Bullhorn CEO and Co-Founder, Art Papas.

1. Worker values have changed

According to Audra, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Randstad, the modern worker has changed. They want to work at companies that care about things that matter to them, including diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). If your organization is not actively creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce, it will impede you from getting new business. 

“How can we go out and get bigger business if we don’t have the basics of things that people think is important, including diversity, equity, and inclusion?” – Audra Jenkins

2. Clients are looking for partners to help with DEI efforts

Ian Moses, Head of Global Inclusion and Diversity at Allegis Global Solutions, shared that staffing clients want partners to help with their attraction efforts and provide measurable outcomes of their interviewing and DEI efforts. “Firms should be leading the way and sharing best practices, recommendations, and suggestions so that they can apply some of those to their internal hiring,” Ian said.

“[Clients] want assurance that their supplies have designed recruiting strategies to cast a wide net so that their job openings come to the attention of all qualified candidates, including women and racial minorities.” – Ian Moses

3. Clients want to see that staffing firms are supporting a diverse workforce

According to Jalie Cohen, SVP, Head of Human Resources – Americas at The Adecco Group, as staffing firms bid for business, clients want to see what they’re doing to promote diversity in their workforce. “How are we educating and training folks? How are we going about making sure that we are creating an inclusive process? How are we sourcing candidates? What are our screening questions? What are the upskilling questions? When we bring on talent, how are we making sure that they’re supporting an inclusive environment?” Jalie said. “It goes very deep, and it’s not just a one-trick pony,” Jalie said.

“You can talk all day about DEI, but if you’re not going to walk the talk, then you don’t need to be talking about it anymore because people are going to hold you accountable for that.” – Audra Jenkins

4. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t solve our DEI problem

Ian makes a compelling point: “This takes work, it takes intentionality, and it takes time. This isn’t something that was broken in 30 days, so it won’t be fixed in 30 days. It takes a commitment level from a time perspective, an investment perspective, and a financial investment as well to see progress over a long period.”

5. There is real revenue opportunity in DEI

DEI isn’t just an opportunity to do the right thing; it’s also a genuine opportunity to generate revenue for your business by fulfilling a real business need. “You can stand yourself apart from your competitors, and you can fulfill a business need for your customer who is in dire need of help,” Ian shares. “You’ve seen all of the commitments that have taken place over the past six months and an increase in a desire to hire and attract a more diverse workforce, and these firms play a part in these commitments and helping organizations get there.”

“There’s a huge value add when you can find the right mix of being able to not only deliver talent but also to deliver diverse talent.” – Ian Moses

6. Diversity expertise comes from experience, skill, and understanding

According to Ian, by focusing on core competencies versus a person’s body of work, you can see if a person possesses the skills to be in that position. For example, a woman who left the workforce to raise children may not have the same depth of experience, but it doesn’t mean she doesn’t have the competencies required for the role.

Furthermore, the panelists discouraged those looking for diverse talent from assuming that all diverse individuals are experts on DEI. “Please do not just look for diverse talent; look for that depth of knowledge and experience, as well,” Jalie shared.

7. Look outside of the staffing industry to improve diversity

According to Audra, to increase diversity in the staffing industry, look for individuals with the right skill set, rather than limiting your talent pool to those with experience in the staffing industry. Audra suggests that candidates with B2B consultative and sales experience, rather than exclusively staffing experience, are often a good fit for the industry. Further, there are nontraditional roles in the staffing industry, such as CHRO and CFOs, that provide an opportunity to grow the C-suite indirectly without that adjacent experience.

Watch the full recording here.