Abstract illustration of how staffing agencies can support diversity, equity, and inclusion

Twenty years ago, diversity and inclusion work at most organizations was initiated out of necessity. A legal claim was made, and the company needed to respond to either limit liability or manage reputation. Few saw it as the strategic advantage it is. And equity? It wasn’t even on the radar.

Today, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has become an organizational priority for most companies. They realize that fostering diverse and inclusive workplaces that promote fairness, equality, and respect make businesses stronger. The challenge, for most, is doing it well.

Culture eats strategy for breakfast

You’ve probably heard this expression made famous by Peter Drucker. And there’s truth to it. Culture is how both internal and external stakeholders experience a business. You can have the best ideas, but unless you have the culture to nurture, develop, and execute those ideas, they will not be successful.

DEI is similarly connected to culture. Most approach it with good intentions, but unless you have the culture, you risk your efforts coming off as inauthentic or as virtue signaling.

This is where people come in. People set the culture. How they work, deliver, and interact bring mission and values to life—or not. So getting the people part right is critical, and that’s what staffing agencies specialize in.

Connecting employers with talent

At Garnet River, we’re believers in culture starting at the top. But we also believe that everyone in the organization is a culture carrier. You can’t be an inclusive organization if your people are not collaborative, capable, and respectful.

Here’s how staffing agencies can help.

  • Provide access to diverse talent pools. Through their extensive networks and proactive recruitment strategies, staffing agencies can reach individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. By tapping into these diverse talent pools, staffing agencies help organizations broaden their candidate pool, ensuring that a diverse array of candidates is considered for available positions. This access to diverse talent is a crucial first step toward building inclusive workplaces.
  • Mitigate bias and unconscious hiring practices. How companies have “always done things” and an established perception of who makes a good teammate can adversely affect the recruitment and hiring processes. Staffing agencies can implement standardized screening and assessment techniques that focus on the qualifications, skills, and potential of candidates. This helps reduce impact of bias based on factors such as gender, race, ethnicity, or other protected characteristics.
  • Cultural competence and sensitivity. Staffing agencies understand the unique challenges and perspectives of diverse candidates and can guide employers in creating an inclusive environment. These agencies can educate employers on the importance of cultural awareness and sensitivity during the recruitment and onboarding process.
  • Partner in diversity initiatives. Staffing agencies are up-to-date on the latest trends, best practices, and legal requirements related to diversity and inclusion. As such, they can serve as a valuable resources for employers by providing guidance on implementing diversity programs, setting measurable goals, and monitoring progress.
  • Offer leadership and talent development. Not only do staffing agencies identify and promote diverse candidates for leadership roles, but agencies also support employers in implementing initiatives such as mentorship programs, employee resource groups, and training programs that foster professional growth and development for underrepresented groups.

People set the culture

Diversity is about difference, and it can be defined broadly. Even people who look alike can be very diverse.

Inclusion is about creating an environment in which all people feel valued, respected, supported, and empowered to bring their unique skills, talents, and experiences to the table.

Equity recognizes that the distribution of resources and opportunities is not always equal. It is about leveling the playing field so that everyone has the same opportunity.

Through their experience, subject matter expertise, and core competency of building talent pipelines and placing workers, staffing agencies play a vital role in driving diversity, equity, and inclusion within the workforce. By partnering with an agency, your organization can access expertise and leverage an established, vetted network to attract, recruit, and develop diverse, qualified talent. After all, people set culture. Ensuring your organization has the right people will go a long way toward ensuring you create an environment where individuals from all backgrounds are empowered to thrive and diversity becomes a catalyst for innovation and success.

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