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Staffing Industry Analysts released its inaugural list of “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) Influencers,” with the stated goal of recognizing people “who are heading up the charge … to make real change in their organizations and the ecosystem.”

I want to congratulate these remarkable change-makers and salute SIA for honoring them. This recognition couldn’t be more timely. Events of the past year have made DE&I a major concern for virtually every business. While no one yet has all the answers, it’s time to recognize those individuals — and their organizations — for working to make a difference.

Well-designed DE&I programs tackle prejudices, increase employee satisfaction, diversify creativity and thought, and positively impact business culture. But they also strengthen employee and business performance. McKinsey’s latest diversity report describes how companies with increased gender, ethnic, and cultural diversity and inclusion outperform their less diverse, less inclusive competitors by 48%.

As companies increasingly recognize the value of workforce diversity, they are beginning to understand the impact that the extended workforce — the non-employee workforce comprising contingent staff and contractors — has on it. And considering the size of many companies’ extended workforce, the impact can be significant. According to a recent research, 20% of the average enterprise’s overall workforce was considered ‘contract,’ ‘contingent,’ or ‘non-employee’ a decade ago; “today, that percentage has more than doubled to 43%.”

Within just a few years, the extended workforce may represent more than half of the talent in most enterprises. This means that companies that are only tracking employees to measure diversity are missing about half of their actual workforce in their measurements.

PREMIUM CONTENT: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the Contingent Workforce

Companies need to have a DE&I strategy for their entire workforce, not just full-time employees. This comprehensive strategy needs to look at both employee and non-employee workers together, not in silos. Organizations need to first benchmark the current state, set goals, and establish reporting to show improvement. Only by implementing a comprehensive strategy can companies take advantage of the superior performance a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce can provide. Your technology partners can help in this endeavor.

Recently one of our clients wanted to go further than simply tracking supplier diversity. They wanted insight into the diversity of their contingent workforce that would match what they knew about their employee workforce. To give them the transparency they needed, we created fields within Beeline that allowed them to collect voluntarily disclosed diversity data at the onboarding stage, after hires had been finalized. This allows them to see clearly whether diverse candidates are being hired, and if diversity goals are not being met, the client is able to act quickly to remedy the situation.

With companies placing increased emphasis on DE&I, we’re delighted to see so many of our clients and partners honored as DE&I Influencers; we are grateful for the opportunity to work with these individuals and companies. We applaud all of the DE&I Influencers because we believe diversity, equity and inclusion belong at the forefront of today’s corporate agendas. By developing new programs to help their organizations become more diverse, more equitable, and more inclusive, these individuals will not only move their own companies forward, but also influence their industries and our society to progress in the right direction.

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