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Crowdstaffing featured as Rising Star and Premium Usability HR platform in 2019

Crowdstaffing has earned the prestigious 2019 Rising Star & Premium Usability Awards from FinancesOnline, a popular B2B software review platform. This recognition is given out annually to products[...]

May 13, 2019

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RIP David Bowie: Let’s Celebrate the Unique Qualities of Talent

Celebrating the Differences That Make Us Unique and Inspiring

On January 10, iconic performer and artist David Bowie passed away at the age of 69. Bowie wasn’t just a singer. He transcended music, art and fashion. With every record came an eclectic array of personas, outrageous makeup and costumes borrowed from the imagery of German Expressionism, Japanese art, commedia dell’arte and science fiction. Musically, his style traversed rock and roll, jazz, musical theater, cabaret and a genre he coined “plastic soul.” Yet his soul, with its message of embracing differences, was always genuinely present -- and it never ceased to shine through. As the New York Times recounted in its tribute: “Throughout Mr. Bowie’s metamorphoses, he was always recognizable. His voice was widely imitated but always his own; his message was that there was always empathy beyond difference.”

At the heart of David Bowie -- infusing his themes of feeling alien, existing outside the norm and transcending archetypes -- is the quest for acceptance and recognition, without the peril of sacrificing identity. It’s diversity itself. Bowie defined nearly every aspect of diversity as a single character. Not only was he accepted, he was embraced and emulated. He inspired people to be open-minded and inclusive. His legacy isn’t one of a freakish spectacle, it’s one of lasting successes, significant contributions and creating opportunities. Look at the composition of his many band incarnations. His bandmates represented different races, nationalities, religious beliefs, genders, sexual orientations and perspectives.

So today, as we mark the passing of Bowie and commemorate the tireless efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who envisioned a world where people are judged only by the content of their character, let’s celebrate the unique qualities of our talent and the ways we in the workforce solutions industry strive to make our world more diverse, inclusive and rewarding.

Cultural Fit, Not Conformity

According to recent research, more than 80 percent of organizations around the globe cite cultural fit as a primary employment priority. Ideally, enterprise hiring and retention initiatives can be strengthened when we choose workers whose skills, experience, personality and values mesh well with the organization’s strategy. When performed properly, employees feel a greater sense of attachment to their roles and teams, produce more and stay with companies longer. However, as Lauren Rivera observed in the New York Times a few months ago, “Cultural fit has morphed into a far more nebulous and potentially dangerous concept. It has shifted from systematic analysis of who will thrive in a given workplace to snap judgments by managers about who they’d rather hang out with.”

Although diversity stands as a significant driver of progress -- and has increased -- the momentum has been slower than expected. The internal diversity reports of major technology giants exemplify this. Although improvements have taken place, the number of diverse professionals at a lot of tech firms remains quite low. And when hiring selections are made on personal fits, rather than cultural fits, they stifle demographic, gender and cultural diversity.

In her analysis of companies across markets, Rivera saw that “bonding over rowing college crew, getting certified in scuba, sipping single-malt Scotches in the Highlands or dining at Michelin-starred restaurants was evidence of fit; sharing a love of teamwork or a passion for pleasing clients was not.”

These are perilous waters to tread, especially when all reliable data point to optimal output and profitability for business environments that welcome differences -- looking beyond appearances and similarities to focus on the strength of a person’s character and capabilities. Nearly all workforce studies demonstrate that robust business cultures are connected to soaring profits. Gallup, for example, showed that businesses with truly diverse talent witnessed a 46-percent increase in revenue, along with a 58-percent higher level of profit. For jobs involving complex decisions and creativity, diverse teams outperform less diverse ones. And business cultures should reflect those strategies instead of seeking individuals with similar biographies, backgrounds, personal beliefs and genders between managers and talent.

If You’re Looking for Your Next Superstar, Consider an MSP Your Best Talent Scout

Companies want the benefits of an on-demand, complementary talent team, yet managers are struggling to handle the volume and variety. MSPs hold greater sway in shouldering these responsibilities. As larger numbers of contingent talent infuse their clients’ existing groups, MSPs become instrumental in establishing and guiding diverse, inclusive business cultures. This is precisely where clients could find the rockstars they desperately seek.

  • MSPs are proven to make diversity a visible and strategic priority. They set inclusiveness goals, and hold managers accountable for diversity.
  • During implementation, MSPs establish executive sponsorship with their clients’ corporate leaders, allowing them to create inclusion advocates across all classes, reinforce diversity commitments, measure progress toward goals and establish formal review processes for identifying challenges.
  • MSPs develop, as part of their Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), merit-based hiring strategies that emphasize ideal cultural fits -- not friendship fits -- that align to the organization’s overarching strategies and objectives. These strategies focus on filling key positions with the best people across diversity groups, eliminating perceptions that people are placed to fill quotas.
  • They have teams of data analysts who review employment data from their internal systems, the client’s human resource platform, and business intelligence across other clients. These predictive analytics enable them to identify talent trends, traits, skills, values and goals to optimize the recruiting process. They can also uncover divisions with the poorest track records in diverse hiring and engagement.

MSPs Don’t Just Build Diverse Workforces, They Build Diverse Supplier Networks

MSPs actively seek out, recruit and mentor small, local, disadvantaged, veteran, minority and women-owned suppliers to assist clients in reaching their diversity goals. The nature of an MSP solution provides these staffing partners with an equal opportunity to participate in major contracts without having to invest in the resources or technology normally required for a relationship with large, decentralized companies. To capitalize and expand on their efforts, most MSPs also ally themselves with recognized councils, community outreach groups and others to identify diverse providers.

  • They create internal supplier diversity departments or advisory bodies to lead the efforts in recruiting minority, women-owned, disadvantaged and veteran business enterprises.
  • After sourcing and engagement, MSPs continue to manage supplier relationships and help them mature their diversity initiatives.
  • Many MSPs establish membership in official associations and groups that provide access to a wide array of diversity vendors, allowing them to approach and engage certified suppliers through those organizations.
  • MSPs frequently participate in diversity supplier functions, such as Business Expos, Trade Fairs, Opportunity Luncheons and others.
  • They build networks of qualified diversity suppliers and maintain a unique registration process for these staffing partners when they enter the program. This approach allows MSPs to pre-screen suppliers for diversity status. It also facilitates the tracking of performance and spend related to diversity objectives, often through the VMS.
  • MSPs engage client staff who have control over corporate purchasing, which helps improve the success rate when striving to achieve specific annual goals for acquiring labor from diversity-owned businesses.
  • MSPs collaborate with clients to promote visibility of the diversity initiative on the corporate website, including program details, contacts and a list of services needed (e.g., specific job categories of workers, etc.).

MSPs Turn Differences into Differentiators

In 1968, David Bowie was an undefinable oddity. He was an androgynous, ginger-haired musician with bad teeth and different colored eyes. He strolled through the working-class neighborhoods of South London wearing dresses, often enduring the intimidation of area toughs. Four years later, Bowie’s antics and attitude hadn’t changed; the difference was that everyone else wanted to be like him, too. Why? Because inside we’re all unique. It just takes someone to show us the strength of embracing those qualities. People like David Bowie also fight for diversity. Consider his 1983 appearance on a very young MTV, when Bowie, at the height of massive commercial success, shamed the network for its lack of diverse artists. The heated interview reshaped the course of MTV and paved the way for progress.

Like every champion of diversity and equality, Bowie understood that culture itself is diverse -- that when we when open the doors to people on “the outside” and invite them in, amazing accomplishments follow. It’s a value echoed by the best MSPs. Stagnation occurs when we give into fear and suppress the differences that make us special. As Bowie sang in one of his most anthemic songs: “You’re not alone...Gimme your hands, ‘cause you’re wonderful.” It’s a sentiment that’s missing in some business cultures, yet it’s always the hallmark of world-class MSP programs.

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