If employers are purposeful in creating, supporting and sustaining diversity in their workplace, the region could improve economically, be more culturally diverse and increase the public perception of the region being welcoming for all people.
There are many ways to support and sustain diversity in a workplace, and a good place to start is to evaluate your business plan and mission. Is it inclusive? Does it directly name diversity as a goal?
Part of an employer’s diversity plan and mission should be to diversify the pool of candidates they recruit, hire and promote. As part of this process, employers need to be deliberate in ensuring that employment postings are available on websites such as the Pure Michigan Talen Connect.
To broaden their search, share the job posting through media channels, newspapers — both community and city publications — and with local groups that may represent a wider audience of people they are trying to reach.
Another way we encourage inclusion is by clearly defining our discrimination policies and procedures for all employees, participants, service providers and on-the-job training providers during orientation.
If you’re a job seeker, know your rights and consider keeping your eye out for a few things as you apply for jobs and potentially interview. As you search, check to see if the employer is an equal opportunity employer, highlighting that language either in the job posting or on their website.
While it is illegal to discriminate against a job applicant because of race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation and pregnancy), age, national origin, or disability, an equal opportunity employer by definition is an employer who agrees not to discriminate against any employee or job applicant.
Further, an equal opportunity employer understands applicable laws, achieves diversity in the workplace and acknowledges that everyone is entitled to an equal chance for a position and/or career. These employers provide training to staff to ensure equal opportunity laws are adhered to and maintain their commitment to diversity in the workplace.
If you are in an interview — virtual or in person — any question that asks a candidate to reveal information on these topics without the question having a job-related basis would be in violation of various state and federal discrimination laws. If you believe you’ve been asked a question that is blatantly discriminatory, you have every right to either ignore the question or even conclude the interview. For employers looking to diversify their hiring process, a number of great partners in the region are focused on diversity, equity and inclusion work and provide training opportunities for individuals as well as employers. One such partner, the Michigan Diversity Education Center, is a Michigan-based nonprofit committed to serving as change agents by providing quality diversity education and training to ensure a business is more diverse and inclusive.
Additionally, Capital Area Michigan Works! And its Business Services Team can help link employers in our community to these opportunities as trainings are made available through our regional partners.
Businesses that listen to their employees and incorporate DE&I inclusion will attract a more diverse and committed workforce and, in turn, improve the workflow and environment for everyone.