Improving diversity through the talent squeeze

With staff leaving their jobs left, right, and centre, everyone from recruiters to news outlets to CEOs are crying out about “The Great Resignation” and how it’s making everyone’s lives harder.  

But it doesn’t have to be seen this way. The Great Resignation presents a number of opportunities for business development and improvement. It’s time for executives and business owners to stop bemoaning this trend as the end-all-be-all of hiring and look at ways they can leverage it to bolster their company’s DEI. 

Many have claimed that attrition has resulted in their company being worse off in terms of DEI, but there are ways to flip this narrative on its head and instead use it to your advantage. Attrition will force business to look for candidates elsewhere, outside their traditional candidate pools. This means that they could actually end up with a more diverse workforce than they previously had, because they’ve found candidates from non-traditional backgrounds. This is an opportunity to expand your existing talent pool by looking at others and take the chance to build a workforce that is fit for the future.  

Flexibility is Key 

Even remote working can actually be a strategic advantage towards improving DEI rather than a potential setback. If your company is capable of working remotely, there are theoretically no limits to your candidate pool. Particularly as many companies begin to embrace the permanence of hybrid working or even fully remote models, this opens up avenues never seen before.  

Furthermore, if you are looking to scale up your remote workforce, technology allows us to implement more blind hiring practices to ensure that your hiring process is as free from bias as possible. There are various hiring tools available to help make this easier, from software that automatically anonymizes a CV to online assessment tools that you can ask people to use to streamline the selection process.  

If you are planning to hire, onboard, and work with remote staff, being sure that they are effectively set up to work productively whilst also being part of your company’s culture is paramount. Many companies are doing this correctly – a significant number of them companies that were fully remote even before COVID. Look at examples from companies like Invision, Treehouse, and Buffer, all of whom boast extremely good track records when maintaining strong company culture despite being fully remote.  

Find the Sleeping Giants 

Many companies limit themselves to only candidates who are actively seeking a new role, otherwise known as ‘active’ candidates. But the list of ‘passive’ candidates who could be the perfect fit for your company is inordinately bigger. Just because someone isn’t actively looking for a career move, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be open to discussing one at the very least. Utilise this information to generate a longer list of potential candidates for a role, potentially doubling the size of your search.  

Have the Difficult Conversations 

People leaving your business can get ugly – try as you might to not take resignations to heart, there are always some emotions surrounding a person’s decision to leave a company. Don’t shy away from exit interviews – they could prove to be an extremely powerful asset. Rather than terminating someone’s employment the minute notice lands on your desk, work to build an environment where they can leave with an ultimately positive memory of your company and use this to your advantage during the exit interview. Some extremely telling questions include: 

What does your new position offer that influenced you to leave? 

  • This question can be humbling, but helpful. There may be aspects of your company where you are falling short, but at the executive level, it’s easy to accidentally overlook these. Taking the time out to listen to what your leaver has to say can be an invaluable experience.  

What could we have done better? 

  • This is an important question especially if you’re looking to diversify your workforce. Taking into account answers from everyone who leaves your company to this question will allow you to pinpoint which demographics are having certain experiences different than others.  

Would you ever consider returning to our company?  

  • This question is a great way to close the loop – due to its specificity, you’ll find yourself with important insight on the steps you can take to increase retention and further hiring.  

Much of the above starts with mindset: rather than panicking over the resignations piling up, start thinking about how you can use it to your advantage. And remember that industries and companies all over the world are struggling with the same phenomenon right now – but you don’t have to view this as such a negative. Feel free to get in touch with me to discuss more about this trend and more. 

Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn to stay up-to-date with all the latest trends and developments taking place across the end-to-end supply chain. Proco Global remains available to discuss any of the ideas mentioned above and how we can help you implement your vision of the future. For more insights, visit 

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