Why It's More Important Than Ever to Hire Equitably

From 2005 to 2017, remote work increased by 159 percent. Now in 2020, companies across the country have transitioned to remote workforces due to COVID-19, forcing more people to work from home than ever before. On top of that, the pandemic has also skyrocketed the unemployment rate in the U.S. In fact, according to Pew Research Center, 14 million people became unemployed between this past February and May alone.

With 66 percent of employees working from home and so many people looking for jobs, the working landscape has completely transformed over the last few months—especially when it comes to the hiring process. 

As companies begin to rebuild and hire again, they are no longer restricted by geography. Now that more positions are being offered as remote, talent can be recruited from anywhere. 

This increased availability of workers highlights the importance of hiring equitably—refraining from discrimination based on race, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, and more. Discriminating against applicants is not only illegal and unethical, but it can also prevent you from hiring valuable talent.

To help you recruit a diverse workforce, here are some ways you can ensure you’re hiring equitably:

Evolve Corporate Responsibility

From ongoing protests for racial justice in the face of police brutality to the COVID-19 pandemic, we live in a world torn by social issues. Therefore, the call for equitable and proactive company culture and leadership has never been more important. This means employers need to emphasize anti-discimination policies as part of their corporate responsibility—which helps make companies more diverse.

The value of diversity is clear. Not only does it bring a variety of voices and perspectives to a company, but it also has a significant ROI. A recent study by Mckinsey & Company found that ethnically diverse executive teams are 36 percent more likely to be profitable, while gender diverse teams are 28 percent more likely to outperform competitors. 

And with COVID-19’s sudden shift to remote work and millions seeking jobs, hiring equitably will enable you to hire top, diverse candidates—no matter where they’re located.

Maintain Anti-Discrimination Policies

In order to attract and retain a broad pool of talent, you need to pratice your anti-discrimination policies during the hiring process. This is especially crucial if your company is in an industry like STEM, where diverse representation is often far from proportional.

Here are a few ways you can ensure you’re maintaining anti-discriminatory hiring practices:

  • Educate yourself on how and where discrimination occurs. You may think that discrimination doesn’t happen in your workplace or field, but unfortunately, discrimination can occur anywhere. In order to successfully practice anti-discrimination policies and maintain a safe environment for your employees, you need to educate yourself.
    Establishing Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) at your company can also educate yourself and your employees. ERGs are employee-led interest groups that aim to raise awareness of issues facing people of a specific demographic, race, religion, or sexual identity. These groups advocate for a better, more inclusive workplace.
  • Combat sexism and racism in your workplace. The key to anti-discrimination policies is combatting problems as soon as they arise. If any kind of sexism or racism occurs at your company, you need to handle it immediately. As an HR professional, creating a safe and positive environment for all of your employees should be your top priority.
    For instance, the STEM industry not only faces a high gender gap, but also has the highest rate of sexual harassment of any field outside of the military. By proactively addressing and combatting sexism, STEM companies can not only work towards closing that gender gap, but can also protect its employees and prevent sexual harassment from occurring in the workplace.
  • Offer remote and accommodating work options. Even though offices across the country are starting to reopen, some employees may still prefer to work remotely going forward. Whether it’s because they don’t feel safe going into work or find themselves to be more productive working from home, you need to offer accommodating work options.  By offering remote positions, you can hire diverse employees from all over. 

By adhering to anti-discrimination policies, you can create a positive and safe workplace that enables you to to hire and retain top talent.

Undoubtedly, diversity strengthens companies. By recruiting a diverse workforce, companies have a higher chance of succeeding. But most importantly, hiring equitably and enforcing anti-discrimination policies ensures that all of your employees will feel safe at work. In a world faced by the COVID-19 pandemic and unrest, the need for strong, ethical leadership is more important now than ever before.

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