How much time does your company spend on compliance? At what cost? The Washington Post reported that regulatory compliance costs business 87 million hours of paperwork, or the equivalent of a year’s work for some 43,000 full-time employees. Wow! But what if we go beyond what was required? What if we forgot, for just a moment about compliance and implemented policies, plans and practices that simply supported the recruitment and retention of a highly qualified workforce, active engagement of our employees? Refreshing, eh? And what if that, in turn lead to corporate and economic growth and development, which in turn lead to the creation of more jobs to support the corporate growth? What a wonderful world it would be.
So where do we begin? The issues of employee engagement and inclusion have received increased focus over the years driving the issue of diversity to the proverbial back seat. So what if your workforce is diverse?! How are you using that diversity to drive your business operations? And what does inclusion look like? It may be driven in part by how we engage each and every employee, regardless of what he or she looks like. We engage them with flexible workplaces. Workflex is not a women’s issue or one just for parents. We all struggle at times to integrate work-life demands. Those demands touch on myriad needs related to a plethora of status including gender, age, religion, students, current military, veterans and those who support them, persons with disabilities and so many more.
Consider this. The Economist reports that research conducted by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) found that workforces that focus on diversity generate about a 6.5 percent bump in workforce outcomes. Better yet, those that also focus on inclusion, find employee performance improves by 12 percent. And are you ready for this? The latter also report their employees’ intent-to-stay increased by 20 percent!
Want some more information, tips and tools? SHRM, Cornell University and the U.S. Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) recently hosted a free webinar (and pre-approved for HRCI credit) to address this very topic. Why should employers engage in diversity and inclusion (D & I) initiatives and where can they go to find diverse and highly qualified employees? Lots of great resources are available. One of the newest (in addition to SHRM’s Workplace Flexibility Toolkit as well as ODEP’s Toolkit) is the Workforce Recruitment Program or WRP, which is now available for private sector employers. So before April showers bring May flowers, we invite you to March beyond compliance, reach out, engage, recruit and retain your most highly qualified workforce.