NPR recently shared that Black and African American employees make up only 12% of support staff roles, and only 2% of executive level positions. And, while nearly half of U.S. organizations have publicly committed to racial or ethnic equity efforts, only 13% of these companies offer programs for women of color. So, how can we do better?

Rebecca Rogers-Tijerino, president of Spherion, recently sat down for an interview with Cheddar to discuss how to build a more diverse boardroom from the ground up.

“Expanding the opportunity to broaden the base of the recruitment sources is super important in developing a diverse board,” Rogers-Tijerino shares. “So, one of the things we can look at is potentially finding an external panel of interviewers who have scrubbed all of the interview questions and the prerequisites for bias, and that is what we call at Spherion ‘hiring blind.’ That helps us achieve a diverse board.”

She notes that traditionally, boards are populated by people recruiting from those that they know, leading them to similar candidates. She says companies should be “recruiting from sources that are unusual – we look for different demographics, different schools, and the opportunity – frankly – to get referrals from people that are outside the traditional company structures.”

Equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) matters. It matters in everything that we do here at Spherion. We believe every person brings something unique to the table. We understand that our unique upbringings, challenges, perspectives, religions and cultures fuel new ideas and make our organization what it is. From the job seekers and employers we work with to our colleagues and franchise owners, we’re heavily invested in taking action and fostering a collaborative, supportive and helpful environment that is conducive to building meaningful careers and elevating the workplace. 

Of course, as we celebrate equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, we strive to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard. We seek to dig into the difficult topics and understand what’s working and what’s not working. Read on to learn more from our franchise owner community about EDI in the workplace, and what advice they have for executives to authentically create more diversity:

Cheryl Williams: License Owner of Spherion Mobile, AL

“I really look for inclusivity. How are you including me in our growth and development? Have you heard or listened to what someone who looks like me has to say? When you look at your leadership team, is there someone who looks like me sitting around the table? These are the questions we need to be asking.”

Doris Lockhart: License Owner of Spherion Florence and Conway, SC

“To authentically create diversity within an organization, you have to have a desire to give people of color a chance to make an impact on the growth of the company. It’s not just about saying something one day – it has to transcend into action.”

Sabbath Ekene: License Owner of Spherion League City, TX

“As 2020 brought a lot of awareness to the importance of diversity, it’s helping to fight against discrimination. Diversity at its core is a reflection of America. We are a mixture of cultures and multiple differences. I’m hopeful that these workplace diversity initiatives will continue and survive past 2020. Let us all remember, we are all part of the human race because we were not given an opportunity to choose the shade of our skin color. This is the beauty of our unity worldwide.” 

There is always more work to do when it comes to EDI, and we’re channeling time and resources to ensure EDI best practices are woven into our policies and mindsets. These include:

  1. An EDI council that includes local office employees, owners, and corporate team members. 
  2. Regular meetings with local community partners to tackle tough issues and gain perspective on Spherion’s role in resolving issues and continuing conversations.
  3. Treating all candidates fairly and frequently evaluating feedback to see where there’s room for improvement.

“Without inclusion, diversity really can’t bloom within the culture of an organization,” says Rogers-Tijerino.

Learn more about how we foster EDI with job seekers, employers, franchise owners and colleagues. If you’re interested in how you can become a Spherion franchise owner, contact us today.