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Alongside our Diversity & Inclusion in the Staffing Industry Report, we’ve been talking to staffing executives on The Staffing Show about what their companies are doing to further their diversity and inclusion initiatives. 

Here are some of their insights.

Caitlyn Rhodes, Talent Acquisition Business Partner and DEI Program Manager, at Bullhorn, discussed Bullhorn’s goals in launching a larger education initiative. “I think the most important part of these efforts moving forward has been surrounding education. Putting out a statement and making it more normalized, to bring this to awareness, has been a really important part. So, in increasing internal educational opportunities, we launched a lecture series to engage with our partners as well, and have these discussions on a larger scale.”

Vinda Souza, VP of Global Communications at Bullhorn, addressed why some staffing executives may be hesitant to take action. “I think it’s important to consider that staffing agencies have two sets of stakeholders. They have their candidates, and they have their clients. It’s a really tough position to be in when you’re trying to please multiple masters at once. And sometimes you need to be very thoughtful in how you’re going to do that in a way that’s productive. And that’s easier said than done.”

Sejal Shah, CEO of TotalMed Staffing, talked about how tricky it can be to get conversations around diversity started. “It’s unfortunate right now I feel like it’s a very tough time to talk because there is this big movement towards suppression of speech. And a lot of people have questions, but they’re afraid to ask, because they’re afraid to be condemned. ‘How dare you ask that question?’”

But, Shah reflected on the importance of standing up for what he believes is right, “For every three people or four people that applaud you for that, there’s going to be one or two people who say, ‘This is wrong. You shouldn’t be doing it. It’s not your job to teach someone or this or that.’ And you know what? I don’t want to take that attitude. We have choices. And if I get condemned or slammed for it, so be it.” 

Mullady Voelker, President of Strategic Growth at GIFTED Healthcare, said that this year has been a call for soul searching at her company. “We had some really rich dialogue at the executive level and in our management around ‘How is Gifted going to show up at the table for not only our employees, but for the community and the country and humanity really?’”

And from these dialogues, a few initiatives have taken place. “Our CEO has diversity and inclusion round tables now where there is no real formal agenda,” said Voelker. “It’s just a space for people to come and have topics that they want to bring to the group, questions that they want to ask, a safe space for our colleagues to talk to one another about these difficult things.”

Once the conversations started, the real work began, of taking what they were learning in dialogue and weaving it into the tapestry of the organization. “The real work is then taking that groundwork and infusing it in every single conversation, process, procedure, policy, idea sharing that we have, so much so that it becomes such an integrated tapestry, woven throughout, and it isn’t viewed as something separate,” said Voelker. “Trying to infuse that level of consciousness in literally every decision we make is the real work.”

For more insights, read our Diversity & Inclusion in the Staffing Industry Report.