Top 10 Focus of June: # 5 – Engage in Best Practices to Retain Diverse Teammates in Your Workplace

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.


Top 10 Focus of May: # 3 – Take Steps to Increase The Diversity of Your Applicant Pool

Since we released the Top 10 Things Employers can do earlier this year, we’ve heard from many of you that the most challenging Top 10 action item is diversifying your applicant pool. As difficult as it is, it’s one of the most important things employers can do.

In 2017, Black and Hispanic/Latinx people accounted for just over 25% of the metro region’s population, but only 12% of workers earning the regional average wage at the time of $63,080. We know that Colorado is getting more racially diverse, particularly among younger populations. To ensure a strong economy, we need to increase the diversity of our workforce to be reflective of our community and find ways to tap into the immense talent that many employers have yet to access.

As thousands of Coloradans enter the workforce upon graduation this month, Prosper CO wants to encourage employers to find ways to recruit diverse candidates and offer our support to your organization to successfully do just that. Here are a few strategies:

  • Change your process. Don’t go back to the same sources and job boards for candidates. Ask diverse members of your team where their network looks for jobs.
  • Mentor diverse talent to help them grow and advance in your organization or profession.
  • Partner with other organizations that can help you create internships or apprenticeships with the goal to hire, like Careerwise, universities and community colleges.
  • Consider roles within your company that might appeal to people who aren’t advancing in other industries, but who have relevant transferable skills and share those opportunities broadly.
  • Remove artificial barriers, like four-year degree requirements, that serve as a proxy for other skills to open up your candidate pool and focus on skill-based hiring instead.
  • Become a fair chance employer and expand your applicant pool by hiring people who may have had some contact with the justice system but have the skills to be successful working for you.
  • Help workers build their resumes by offering them the opportunity to work in short-term, paid positions.

Please keep sharing your ideas with us by email at lorena.zimmer@denverchamber.org or post them to your social networks and tag #ProsperCO and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. We’ll add your strategies to our next newsletter.