The Deprioritization of Diversity and Its Impact on Hiring

For decades, companies have enjoyed a talent marketplace where employees generally enjoyed the stability of their current job and a robust pipeline of talent every year. If your employee left to take a more lucrative position somewhere else, there were dozens, if not hundreds, of candidates, eager to take their place. 

But this dynamic has been shifting over time, as more people switched jobs more quickly, were less inclined to take a job they did not want, or were open to nontraditional opportunities like consulting, freelancing, or other gig work. In other words, the Great Resignation.

Covid was not the cause of the Great Resignation; it was the accelerant. It’s now a seller’s market where potential employees are interviewing with more companies, receiving more offers, and making decisions quicker. 

Indeed, GoodTime’s recent 2022 Hiring Insights Report reveals that talent leaders are now struggling to keep up with hiring demands. The normal supply of job candidates has dried up, and those looking to join companies have new motivations. Inducements like bonuses, gift packages, and other one-directional perks no longer work when candidates are more interested in a meaningful job and a greater sense of community.

Unfortunately, many companies are using an antiquated playbook. Specifically, a key reason why employers are struggling with talent acquisition and retention is their approach to diversity.

Deprioritizing Diversity

According to the report’s findings, the biggest talent challenge companies are facing is retaining their employees. Not only that, they expect that to continue as their biggest challenge over the coming year. While it’s true that external forces have made hiring more challenging (by virtue of fewer candidates for more open roles), companies that struggle may have a slight misalignment of priorities. 

Surveyed HR, talent, and recruiting leaders said the quality of hire was their most important metric (24%), while only 13% cited diversity of candidates. While this makes sense on a practical level, failing to prioritize diversity may hasten employee resignations, as well as make it more difficult to hire quality candidates going forward.

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Not Meeting New Candidate Demands

While 90% of respondents agreed that conveying company culture to candidates is important, only 53% said they actually did so during the hiring process. That’s a clear misalignment. 

Additionally, only 31% of companies have been making diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) a measurable priority in the past 12 months, while only 38% of companies plan to make it a measurable priority over the next 12 months. Organizations really should do better.

The Way Forward

Remember: Candidates are interviewing companies just as much as the reverse. Talent executives need to tap into the diversity of their workforce and empower employees to make the case for why their company’s culture and approach to DEIB make it a rewarding workplace to join.

Ultimately, companies should prioritize DEIB because it’s the right thing to do. But even beyond that, the data is clear: Potential and existing employees all say DEIB is a huge priority. And many companies that struggle to recruit employees may not realize their lack of communication on this pertinent issue is the cause. Thus, employers need to first address their DEIB initiatives and then communicate what steps they’ve taken. Otherwise they will continue to lose out on talent.

Ahryun Moon is the co-founder and head of company strategy at GoodTime. Her early career was in finance at Samsung and Freescale Semiconductor. In finance, she was disheartened by the lack of time she spent on strategic analysis due to the amount of non-value-add work required. She taught herself to code and built an enterprise-grade software that automated the most time-consuming part of her job. The software delivered a 35,000% productivity gain, and she found a new mission: automation that frees time from manual tasks and connects the right people at the right time to do brilliant things.

Ahryun graduated from McCombs Business School and earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2008.

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