Diversity, equity and inclusion is a journey; it cannot be undertaken alone, and it cannot be pursued for any singular benefit. Contingent workforce professionals must reach out to business and societal partners alike in this multilayered and ongoing work.

Staffing suppliers, VMS and MSP providers, hiring and solutions partners, legislative bodies, internal stakeholders, community organizations and contingent workers are all part of the conversations that need to happen in the transformation from labor market oppression and underrepresentation to a workforce ecosystem that is diverse, equitable and inclusive.

Staffing Partner Collaboration

Organizations are more demanding of outreach from their staffing partners to diverse candidates within existing talent pools and in the wider workforce. Almost 20% of organizations now require suppliers to provide details of the diversity mix of their talent pool. It is a trend we will likely see increase going forward, especially with legislative changes enforcing reporting requirements on organizations. Staffing partners who can deliver on this are well positioned in the competitive supplier landscape.

Even with the increase in pressure for staffing firms to provide their candidate diversity mix, staffing firms are still not leaders when it comes to DE&I in their own internal workforce. For SIA’s “North America Staffing Company Survey” report, we asked which current and forthcoming compliance issues staffing companies are concerned about. In the sample of 320 US firms, diversity and inclusion ranked fourth from the bottom with 26% of responses (see chart).

Despite the low ranking of diversity importance, there are some good examples of internal advancements. Many staffing providers are creating senior roles and allocating more resources to support and advise organizations as well as enforce internal procedures.

Organizations want to develop long-term partnerships with staffing partners of diverse talent because it will provide greater incentives to create and provide DE&I data in addition to increasing access to diverse talent. It also ensures their organization offers a DE&I-friendly recruiting and onboarding process, which reduces decision-making biases by providing appropriate training and support.

As a staffing partner, you will want to make sure you align with and represent your client’s values and DE&I goals. Ideally, you should have similar initiatives and metrics that demonstrate your material commitment to recruiting and hiring a diverse contingent workforce. Having this data will help the client determine whether you align with their objectives.

When reviewing their DE&I vision and strategy, organizations want the following when looking to partner with a staffing firm:

  • To foster partnerships with diverse staffing firms that can engage with diverse talent and offer unique, diverse talent pools and help their organization mitigate recruitment bias.
  • To ensure staffing firms align with their organizations’ DE&I commitments.
  • To understand staffing firms’ vision and mission, what they believe in and the value they are bringing to their contingent workforce.
  • To understand whether the staffing firms are providing training and support to ensure their workers feel valued and included.
  • To develop a deeper relationship with a narrower range of staffing firms in order to foster a long-term approach where both sides invest in the relationship. From the supplier’s perspective, this means having the ability to invest in recruitment that will produce a more diverse applicant pool. From the buyer’s point of view, this results in better and deeper diversity data provided as a result of the long-term relationship.

Find out where your staffing firm can be successful and then ask the client to give your organization 48 hours to source positions. This will enable you to learn the business and provide your client with a level of comfort and trust that your staffing firm knows how to help support them.

MSP Partner Collaboration

Contingent program stakeholders are looking to collaborate with MSP partners that can help them navigate the intricacies of implementing a DE&I program that leads to sustainable change and positively impacts workers’ lives instead of just contributing to organization spend. These program owners are looking for their MSP providers to help them improve the diversity of not only their supplier base but their contingent workforce as well.

MSP partners can assist organizations in adding value to diversity by:

  • Attracting and retaining diverse talent to build a culture of inclusion.
  • Determining the effectiveness of microdiversity within your company.
  • Acquiring a thorough understanding of your entire workforce and making use of underutilized talent.
  • Recognizing actual problems to let your contingent workforce feel more human.
  • Supporting broader DE&I goals and unlocking incremental ROI.

MSP investments include partnerships with industry experts to support the alignment of contingent workforce diversity programs with wider organizational goals. In fact, MSPs can act as a catalyst for organizations to manage their contingent workforce and staffing agencies through supplier selection, performance measurement, rate card management and diversity tracking at both the spend and candidate levels.

MSPs have recognized the growing interest in DE&I among their clients, and due to the business opportunity this represents in differentiating their services, DE&I in contingent labor programs is without doubt receiving more attention.

For more information on the MSP landscape in terms of DE&I, look to SIA’s “MSP Global Landscape and Differentiators 2022” report, which cites detailed examples of MSP provider developments and initiatives in the past year to support DE&I efforts.