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Diversity for the Win

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Here’s a jaw-dropping statistic for you: A recent survey predicted that by 2027, more than half the U.S. workforce will be made up of independent contractors. More than half. Already, 57.3 million people are freelancing, with 71 percent reporting that tech is enabling their work.

Clearly, demand for talent is at an all-time high, and more and more of those workers are independent contractors—whether by choice, necessity or a combination of both. And new research indicates that companies that wish to attract and retain these employees should take a hard look at their own workplaces.

According to a recent survey from talent firm Randstad Sourceright, a whopping 71 percent of contract workers find it important to work for companies that foster a diverse and inclusive workplace. And companies that invest in diverse workforces have shown to perform better than those that don’t: McKinsey found that companies in the top quartile for gender and ethnic diversity outperform their competitors by up to 35 percent.

Clearly, companies that wish to attract and retain the best and brightest employees to prioritize diversity and inclusion. A few key ways companies can do this:

  • Consider age diversity. The “gig economy” in general is a diverse group, and older workers are increasingly likely to take advantage of remote and temporary work, whether to supplement retirement savings or simply to stay involved in the workforce in a meaningful way. Bringing on senior “pretirees” can infuse your company with the helpful and varied perspectives of experienced professionals. Diverse teams, including those that include individuals of all ages, have also been shown to spur innovation.
  • Talk to your people. Engage with your staff members—whether through one-on-one conversations, surveys, polls or other formats—to ensure you’re addressing their primary concerns and suggestions. And when doing this, don’t forget your contract workers! Consider identifying an internal champion who can help you shape your diversity strategy.
  • Include others in special occasions. When considering holidays (and holiday parties), ensure that you including all your employees. Be sure to recognize the holidays of different cultures, and don’t forget your remote and contract workers when organizing celebrations. Make it easier for them to participate by setting up video links or including activities that allow them to engage from afar.

Do you have other tips for promoting a culture that prioritizes diversity and inclusion?

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