The pandemic and its economic fallout and the widespread protests of systemic racial injustice sparked by tragic events like the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police have had profound effects on our society. They have also changed the way companies do business – and how employees relate to their employers.
As TextNow’s Director of Talent, Elly Bradley spends her days helping candidates navigate the hiring process and find their dream jobs. One of the big lessons she’s taken away from the events of the past twelve months has been that having an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion strategy is no longer optional. She has written an in-depth article for our friends at ProspectFYI explaining why companies of all sizes need an EDI program if they hope to recruit top talent to their teams. We spoke with Elly about how the priorities of new recruits are changing.
How has the way that companies think about equity, diversity, and inclusion changed over the past year?
I don’t believe the way that companies think about EDI has changed, but it has made it a top priority. It’s been made clear that words are no longer enough – companies also need to take action. I think there is a growing sense that companies have the ability to make a difference, and employees, customers, and investors are expecting them to affect real change and create a positive impact.
Have you noticed changes in the way candidates approach the recruitment process?
I’ve been with TextNow for more than three years and in the recruitment industry for more than 20 years. I’m used to questions about compensation packages, our unlimited vacation time, and our employee stock option program.
Candidates still want to know about those things, but they are also increasingly interested in the culture of the company and our values-based offerings. What do we stand for? What is our culture like? How do we invest in employee learning and development? They want to know about the concrete steps we’re taking to make our workplace more diverse, equal, and inclusive. There is more of a balance between how the company can benefit them personally, but also how we’re helping in the broader societal push for equality and anti-racism.
What are the risks facing companies that don’t put enough of an emphasis on EDI?
First of all, companies should be thinking about how they promote EDI because it’s the right thing to do. It’s also going to make your organization stronger and your people more engaged.
But more and more, companies without a concrete EDI strategy are going to find that they are losing out on top talent. You risk alienating a group of talent, losing current employees, and damaging your reputation as an attractive place to work.
Increasingly employees are asking themselves whether the places they work are aligned with their values. They want to feel good about the work they’re doing and the contributions they’re making.
What are some of things TextNow has done to create a more diverse and equitable workplace?
We’ve definitely accelerated our EDI strategy over the past year. We created our first EDI committee to help us identify some of our blind spots and come up with concrete ways to try to mend them. We also engaged with an EDI consultant, Michelle Grocholsky of Empowered EDI, to help us take the next steps.
We also wanted to be transparent about where we are on our journey. We’ve been doing regular check-ins and surveys with our employees, and we’re putting all of the results in a Diversity Dashboard on our website to make sure that we’re holding ourselves accountable for our progress.
As we navigate 2021, the push for equality, diversity, and inclusiveness in the workplace is going to continue. Be sure to check out Elly’s article in ProspectFYI for more ways that companies and employees can ensure we’re building more just work environments.