A big part of having a diverse workforce is simply retaining one, and the challenge may lie in how people of color and women see their future at a company once they’re there.

According to a study by Coqual, one in five Black professionals feel that someone of their race or ethnicity would never achieve a top job at their company. Two-thirds say they have to work harder than their colleagues to advance in their careers. The situation may be worse in our region. Denver is tied with Minneapolis for the highest percentage of Black residents who believe race negatively impacts their future job prospects.

So what can you do to retain a diverse workforce? Here are a few ideas:

1. Assess where you are.
    • Examine your retention rates. What positions experience frequent turnover? What are the demographics of who is leaving? Do you know why?
2. Change how you hire.
    • Evaluate job postings and remove the credential qualifications that are not truly required. Skillful is working with employers to hire based on skills, not just degrees. Check out their upcoming webinars.
    • Evaluate the language in job descriptions to ensure inclusivity. For instance, say “You will be responsible for …” instead of “He or she will be responsible for …” Also, avoid language that may not be well-known outside your industry to appeal to applicants who may be transferring skills from another industry.
3. Support your employees after you hire them.
    • Determine what skills and competencies your employees need to thrive in different positions in your company.
    • Help your employees identify a career path and provide opportunities for them to upskill into better-paying opportunities.
    • Be flexible. According to a study released just this week by Future Forum, a consortium launched by Slack Technologies, Inc., 93% of “knowledge workers” want a flexible schedule and 76% want flexibility where they work. Women in Colorado’s labor force dropped to its lowest rate in 20 years in 2020, in large part because women were taking on additional child care duties as schools went remote and families couldn’t afford child care. The Future Forum study also found that women with kids say that the #1 benefit of a flexible schedule is being able to take care of personal or family obligations during the day.
    • Create Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) around employees’ common interests and backgrounds and allow employees to lead them. Learn more about ERGs.

With many employers struggling to hire employees, retention is more important than ever, and our businesses and our region will be stronger when we build an economy that provides access to opportunities for everybody. Contact us for more information about what you can do.