2017 Summer Series: Diversity and Inclusion in the Contingent Workforce {Part 4}

Let’s take a look a who is ultimately responsible for diversity and inclusion efforts in the contingent workforce: the “hosting” Client/Buyer of contingent talent or the staffing agency that recruits and payrolls contingent talent?

When we look at the supply chain continuum for the procurement of talent, there are many points of entry for diversity:

·       Selection of diversity certified staffing partners (MBE, WBE, etc.)

·       Candidate selection for a diverse and varied pool

·       Creation of an environment that encourages and captures diversity of thought

Client and staffing agencies participate in unique ways in the procurement of talent and as expected, each organization’s unique culture creates a different dynamic for engagement. Ultimately it is the client culture that drives the selection of the staffing partner thereby creating different candidate pools.

It is important to consider the rules under which candidate selection must operate to rightly prevent discrimination and exclusion practices.  It’s recognized that there are limitations to  the requests that clients can make of their staffing partners and the diversity metrics that staffing partners are able to capture and share with clients. Generally, diversity metrics are optional and self reported upon “hire” only. So, we are currently in a climate in which client focus is largely on the capture of spend through diversity certified staffing partners.

The good news is that most organizations are in the initial review and analysis stages of inclusion practices for their contingent workforces. As we discussed in Parts 1-3 of this series, the consensus is that there is little co-employment risk created through the inclusion of the contingent workforce in relationship with the FTE workforce. Cross-functional project teams and “think tanks” comprised of FTE and contingent workers representing diversity of age, gender, socioeconomic status, etc. create opportunity to capture diversity of thought in a robust and meaningful approach.

As with contingent workforce management in general, successful program management is not assured yet can be encouraged. Doing so will create an environment in which the client organization realizes the full benefits of inclusion, increases revenue and reputation through the development of products and services demanded by an increasingly diverse marketplace, and attracts the most in-demand talent.

Finally, here are some takeaways for creation of an inclusive supply chain and contingent workforce:

· Ensure sponsorship and communication of inclusion practices by executive and senior level leadership

· Roll out inclusion initiatives in alignment with business objectives, expectations and benefits clearly defined

· Socialize the defined culture and inclusion practices within the supplier community

· Review performance against targets and adjust strategy as needed on a regular basis