Why Hiring Diverse Candidates Isn’t Even On Retail Recruiters’ Radar
Hiring diverse retail leadership is a good thing. Companies with gender diverse executive teams are 21 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability, and those with ethnically and culturally diverse teams have a 33 percent likelihood of outperformance on earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) margin.
Focusing on diversity and inclusion in hiring frontline workers offers just as many benefits as hiring diverse leadership. According to a study published in the Journal of Management, retail locations that employ diverse staff are more likely to see better sales performance.
Unfortunately, most recruiting teams in the retail industry don’t have the bandwidth to focus on recruiting and hiring diverse hourly workers. Retail workers comprise a significant chunk of the nationwide workforce — 10 percent in fact. The high volume of workers combined with the industry’s 13 percent turnover rate means that recruiters are so busy keeping teams staffed that they have no time to prioritize diversity and inclusion hiring initiatives.
In 2019, retailers have to make time for this must-have initiative or risk falling out of sync with the marketplace. To free up time for prioritizing diversity and inclusion, retail recruiters need to make the hiring and onboarding process less burdensome by embracing automation capabilities.
The Burden of Retail Recruiting
Automation improves recruiters’ bandwidth and job satisfaction. When they’re not rushing to identify candidates to fill open positions, recruiters can take a big picture view of their work. This means they have more time for initiatives to recruit, retain and engage diverse candidates.
The need for these initiatives clearly exists among hourly staff from minority backgrounds. For example, according to research from FSG, African-American women are least likely to see their hourly positions as stepping stones to something bigger. When retail recruiters have more time, they can more deeply engage marginalized employees.
In addition to increased bandwidth, retail recruiters also experience higher job satisfaction. Having the time to build important programs means they’re no longer spending 40 hours a week funneling candidates through the hiring process. Increased engagement means they’re more likely to take a serious interest in infusing brand values into the organization’s hiring culture.
Automation is the key to improving diversity and inclusion in the hiring of hourly retail workers. Here are several ways automation can make a difference in your retail hiring practices:
- Vetting candidates: By incorporating automation into your hiring platform, you allow the system to make decisions for you, based on rules you set. If you’re seeking retail associates with five years experience in luxury apparel located in a specific city, you can set rules for the system to only allow applications with qualifying features to pass through to the next round. This feature has the added benefit of preventing human biases. It can’t judge any aspect of a candidate’s profile apart from the inputs defined by the recruiters.
- Engaging candidates: An automated system can independently engage candidates if something goes wrong during the application process. For example, if a resume uploads incorrectly, the system sends an email to the candidate asking him or her to fix it rather than alerting an administrator and expecting them to chase down the candidate. Without automation, recruiters usually don’t alert candidates about application errors because it’s not worth their time. Automation keeps the process moving smoothly with no time needed from the recruiter, and it ensures quality talent doesn’t get left behind due to application errors.
- Scheduling interviews: The benefits of automation don’t stop at candidate screening. Automation can handle scheduling and reminder duties with candidates who make it past the application screening phase. It provides them with time options for interviews and sends reminder emails with confirmation or cancellation options leading up to the interview date. The retail industry deals with too many no-show candidates as the hiring process progresses — automation manages the flow of candidates during the interview stage, with only minimal supervision from the recruiter.
Retailers need to build diverse teams, but many have yet to execute. Given the pressure many recruiters face to keep their operations fully staffed, the lack of attention to diversity and inclusion in hiring hourly staff is understandable. But with automation, you can eradicate the barriers in the retail recruiting process and create opportunities to invest the time and attention it takes to hire and engage a diverse workforce.
Keith Ryu is the CEO and co-founder of Fountain, a hiring platform built for speed and scale, that is backed by over $11 million in venture capital.
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Keith is the CEO and cofounder of Fountain, a hiring platform built for speed and scale, that is backed by over $11M in venture capital. Fountain is designed specifically to help address the challenges around high-volume, high-velocity and high-turnover recruiting within retail, delivery, food/beverage, manufacturing, hospitality, etc. The world's most forward-thinking companies, including Uber, Safeway, Deliveroo, John Lewis and Grubhub, rely on Fountain to power its large-scale employee hiring and contractor vetting operations. Since inception, teams across 50 countries have used Fountain to save millions of work-hours, communicate with more than 10MM+ applicants, and provide 700,000 real people with jobs.