Until early this year, it was a job-seeker’s market; companies would be competing for talent and job openings were plentiful. Then COVID-19 happened.
I recently wrote an IdeaXchange blog that addresses how enterprises should strive for diversity in the workplace. Developing a diverse and inclusive staff is something that most millennials want to see when they look for a job and my blog offers suggestions on precisely how to pursue this effort. But I then wondered how the pandemic might be affecting the way companies are hiring (and in other cases, laying off or furloughing) employees.
The value of diversity
An article in the May Quarterly from McKinsey & Company noted that “Inclusion and diversity are at risk in the crisis-but are critical for business recovery, resilience, and re-imagination.” The problem today is that many companies are just trying to hang on and the push for survival is, understandably, the number one concern. That can lead to a “last hired, first fired” situation and that is often a situation where minorities and women fare far worse than others. A recent Fast Company article noted that 55 percent of the 20.5 million people who lost their jobs in April were women.
Yet, according to McKinsey’s research, companies that have a diverse workforce out-earn their industry peers. It appears that companies that push for more diversity find they are able to develop “more adaptive and effective teams.” No one can argue that when we come out of this crisis, the ability to adapt to a “new normal” and be effective in the pursuit of doing so will be essential for a company to not just survive, but also to thrive.
Yet efforts at diversity and inclusion (D&I) are definitely lagging. This would be a bad move on the part of businesses. The McKinsey research finds that “Diverse teams are more innovative – stranger at anticipating shifts in consumer needs and consumption patterns that make new products and services possible, potentially generating a competitive edge.”
A shortage no more
I have written more times than I can count about the always concerning shortage of technicians and drivers that our industry experiences. That shortage is always at the top of the list for fleets, yet it is a problem that has often seemed beyond our ability to solve. Certainly as the competition shrinks or simply disappears due to COVID-19, their techs and drivers may be available, offering a short-term solution to the shortage. Notice I stated, short-term…that is because this crisis, as do all crises, will pass. Businesses will begin to grow again and competition for talent will increase. That’s why it is important for fleets to start planning ways to recruit and create more diverse technician and driver teams…now! When the tide turns, you will be in a much better position to attract the best and brightest.
Read my full IdeaXchange blog to find the best ways to pursue a more diverse team.