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Why DEI matters more than ever in a recession, and how you can continue to hire inclusively

Why DEI matters more than ever in a recession, and how you can continue to hire inclusively

We all know that DEI is an essential part of recruitment. It creates diverse, creative teams and a great workplace culture. It encourages problem-solving and innovation, boosts profits, and it helps us move toward a fairer, more just society.

What’s not to love?

When times are good, good companies invest in DEI. They’re ready to put in the extra time and money to help give diverse candidates a chance to showcase their abilities. As well, they’ll invest in ensuring their diverse teams feel welcome and included.

But what about during the hard times?

Some companies question whether they can afford to keep devoting resources to DEI if a recession is on the horizon. The real question is, “Can they afford not to?”

Let’s look at why you need to double down on your DEI commitments during a recession and how you can hire inclusively, even when times are tough.

Why DEI is so important during recessions

So, why should you still prioritize DEI during a recession?

Diverse communities tend to get hit hardest during recessions

Minority communities face greater struggles during economic downturns and recessions. 

  • Diverse workers are disproportionately represented in insecure roles without job security.
  • Outreach efforts are typically withdrawn during recessions. 
  • Competition for roles increases. 
  • Fewer opportunities are available as companies stop thinking about opening up their recruitment. 

This is obviously wrong, but it does mean that companies who do decide to continue their DEI efforts have a vast talent pool to tap into.

Having a diverse workforce can help you weather the storm

If you see a recession coming, you’ll want to do everything you can to put your company in a better position to succeed.

A diverse workforce fulfills that objective. Diversity in your workforce boosts employee engagement, which improves productivity, and ultimately lets your teams achieve more for less.

Having diverse teams is associated with greater innovation and makes your company more profitable. This doesn’t just help you survive a recession — it can help you thrive.

Diversity in your workforce boosts employee engagement, which improves productivity, and ultimately lets your teams achieve more for less.

You can maintain your employer brand

Your employer brand is your biggest asset for hiring, especially if you’re trying to attract younger workers and the best Gen Z talent. Your employer branding reflects your values, so what happens if you abandon those values in hard times?

Gen Z understands communication, marketing, and branding better than any previous generation. They’re experts at identifying when companies are paying lip service to a principle versus when they’re willing to stand behind their principles… and they don’t forget.

Companies who abandon their DEI commitments, pledges, and policies can expect to need help to recruit great staff when the recession has ended.

Retention is more important than ever

Having an inclusive culture creates an environment where all workers have the opportunity to contribute to their team’s success, feel psychologically safe, and know that they are valued for what they bring to their teams. This can have a dramatic effect on your retention rates.

Keeping your great staff is hugely important during a recession. Not only is hiring new employees expensive, but it also comes with a degree of risk. Until your exciting new hire has settled in, you don’t know exactly what you’re getting.

Even more importantly, losing a valued staff member means losing their unique insights, understanding, knowledge, and experience. Teams with high turnover can become disjointed and inefficient. Keeping existing employees happy is remarkably cost-effective.

How to keep focusing on DEI during a recession

Continuing your DEI efforts through a recession doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. If you’ve already been working hard to find and retain outstanding diverse candidates, you might not need to change much at all.

Create a diverse talent pool

If you want to have an outstanding diverse team, you first need to get outstanding, diverse candidates. Everything from your job advert to your application process needs to be attractive to candidates from various backgrounds.

Focus on career development

A recession can leave employees feeling nervous. Job options are limited, money is tight, and it can feel like they’re standing still in their careers. This is especially worrying for young talent concerned that they’ll never reach their potential.

Giving your outstanding team members a career development path can help diverse candidates feel respected and valued.

Ensure you have diversity at all levels of management

Diversity in your workforce isn’t just about raw numbers. It’s important to include diverse talent at all levels of your organization.

Diversity in management and senior management levels is essential if you want to get the full benefits of your DEI investment. Diversity in management is a tangible symbol that you understand the importance of hearing a wide range of voices.

This motivates team members and ensures that everyone has the confidence to speak up when they have suggestions or ideas.

Streamline your process

Diverse candidates are often less experienced at navigating the hurdles required to succeed in traditional recruitment. They may be less likely to know someone already in your industry, find it harder to complete internships, and may have less time to complete complex application forms.

Having a streamlined process can help remove any unnecessary barriers that make it harder for diverse candidates to apply.

Use smart technology

Finding great diverse talent doesn’t have to be difficult. Smart technology like Headstart’s Fairscreen lets you evaluate all candidates quickly and fairly, making it easy to spot great potential.

➡️ Get in touch for a demo and see how tools like Fairscreen can help you keep up your DEI efforts during tough economic times. 

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