Over the last few years, we’ve watched as the world of work has shifted and the ripple effects have played out across multiple industries, organizations and institutions. From the rise of remote work to an increased emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion, we’ve learned a fundamental truth: Change is hard, but it’s also good.

When it comes to DE&I initiatives, it’s important to note that there is no such thing as “good enough,” and change and adaptation are all but required. Remaining steadfast in the commitment to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive is important. But between layoffs, political upheaval and economic uncertainty, many businesses and leaders are struggling to maintain the focus. I get it.

It’s far too easy to let good intentions fall by the wayside, but it’s also critical to remember that intentions are only as good as the actions that follow.

Where We’re at Now

At Vaco, we are proud of the progress we’ve made when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion. In fact, we were recently recognized by Newsweek as one of America’s Greatest Workplaces for Diversity, but — while we’re honored by this achievement — we know that it’s just one step in our journey and we have a lot more to do.

As part of the staffing industry at large, we have collectively laid an important foundation. We have recognized the critical role that staffing providers play in supporting diversity in the workplace, but the industry is ripe for more. We still have obstacles on the horizon, such as:

  • Women’s workforce participation rates have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.
  • Layoffs are significantly disrupting DE&I efforts.
  • The current K-shaped recovery is widening the economic divide, highlighting systemic inequalities between various industries and demographics.

No matter how far we’ve come, we still have work to do.

The Journey Ahead

In looking at the road ahead of us, there are countless opportunities for continued growth. We are in a unique space — our actions influence not only individuals but also families, buyers and clients, candidates, consultants and more.

It’s important for intentionality to remain at the forefront, despite the challenging requirements we might face. On the micro level, this might mean changing how you look at potential versus past experience, the language used when clarifying the scope of a job, or even simply ethnicity- and gender-neutral job advertisements. At a broader view, it’s about considering factors such as:

  • How are you widening the talent pool?
  • How are you using data-driven recruiting processes to reduce bias?
  • How are you assessing candidates and capabilities?

Our approach to diversity, equity and inclusion is not a box to be checked but rather an ongoing conversation. Even internally, with our own open DE&I role, this is just table stakes for how we serve as business partners to our clients.

Making Room for What Matters

When it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion, we’ve all heard the statistics. Countless studies show that diverse teams experience greater creativity, productivity and profitability. Diverse and inclusive workplaces are also more innovative, better at making decisions and more likely to capture new markets.

Keeping diversity at the forefront of your business — even during challenging times such as these — is a necessity. Whether you’re hoping to attract and retain top talent, expand your business or simply survive the days ahead, DE&I is a core component to the long-term success of every individual, team and organization throughout our industry and beyond. As such, it’s not just the right thing to do. It’s also the right thing for business.