MetroWest Chamber: Why Inclusive Hiring is Important For Businesses

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By Towma Rasta


FRAMINGHAM – At the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce, we hear about the hiring struggles our businesses are facing every day. Often the question is: Where did all the employees go? Why are there no applicants? My question is: Are you recruiting and hiring through a DEI lens? If not, your business is likely to continue to struggle. Diversity hiring is not only a good thing for businesses to do, but also the right thing to do. It should be a best practice for businesses.

Did you know:
* By 2024, less than 60% of the U.S. labor force is expected to be defined as “white non-Hispanic.”
* Studies show businesses with robust diversity, equity, and inclusion practices perform better than their peers.
* Closing the racial equity gap could add as much as $8 trillion to the U.S. economy by2050.

Diversity, equity and inclusion efforts are more important than ever for today’s businesses to continue to thrive and be successful.

There have been some big shifts in the demographics of the U.S. over the last decade. Data from the latest census shows that the population is getting older as well as more racially and ethnically diverse. Diversity in America is increasing every year.

As the overall demographics of the country change, so will the makeup of our workforce. By 2024, employees over the age of 55 will make up 24.8% of the working population, as compared to 11.9% in 1994. Women are also expected to make up a larger portion of the overall U.S. workforce, rising from 46.8% of the workforce in 2014 to 47.2% in 2024. And, by 2024, less than 60% of the U.S. labor force is expected to be defined as “white non-Hispanic.”

Why is diversity important for a business?

Diversity plays a crucial role in growing our economy, as well as in the success of business. Increasing diversity in business is projected to have widespread benefits for the country.

Consider some of these statistics: 

* One report found that there are 9.1 million women-owned businesses that generate a total of $1.4 trillion in sales, according to the National Association of Women Business Owners.

* Another study found that the national GDP would add $25 billion if just 1% more disabled people were hired. 

* The American economy stands to gain $8 trillion by 2050 simply by closing the racial equity gap.

There have been many studies that show the benefit of diversity in the workplace for individual businesses. Statistically, merchants that increase diversity and inclusion in the workplace have 19% higher innovation revenues, a 35% performance advantage over their homogenous counterparts, and are 36% more profitable. 

Studies show diverse teams are better at problem-solving, decision-making and innovating. Companies with an inclusive culture are not only considered a great place to work by employees, but also highly regarded by consumers.

How to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace:

Diversity and inclusion go together. To attract diverse candidates, it helps to have an inclusive culture, and vice versa. Organizations that seek to focus first on diversity often start with hiring.

Those that focus first on inclusion start with diversity-and-inclusion training and other initiatives
to change office culture.

Diversity hiring relates to efforts to improve the diversity of your workforce. Diversity hiring practices can include posting job ads on sites targeting underrepresented populations, employing blind hiring techniques, or using a panel interview in your hiring process.

Remember that diversity can be based on different types of people and intersectionality within those types. Most often, gender and race are mentioned as defining diversity, but there are also generational, neurodiversity, ability, veteran status, and other factors to consider.

I think that it is imperative for businesses to review their hiring process, this will ultimately lead to a better understanding of where you are potentially excluding people. Even if you don’t have the capacity to overhaul your whole hiring process at once, you can start with implementing small changes and work your way toward more inclusive hiring at your organization. Investing time and making inclusivity a part of your business culture is worth the effort and the right thing to do.  

In closing, I’d like to borrow a poignant reminder from diversity advocate Verna Myers: “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”


Towma Rasta is he MetroWest Chamber of Commerce’s Deputy Director of Diversity and Member Retention. SOURCE and the MetroWest Chamber have formed a partnership. The Chamber’s column will run on Tuesdays on the digital news media outlet.


email: call or text at 508-315-7176

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