Parr Instrument Company plans expansion in Moline



Diversity initiatives date back to the 1960s, but 2020 sparked a wave that led employers to make very vocal pledges to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion inside their organizations. Executives at Walmart, Citigroup, Bank of America, Nike, PwC, Comcast, Johnson & Johnson, and dozens of others took to cable news shows to espouse the business benefits of building more diverse workforces and pledged billions to organizations fighting racial injustice. 

Between 2019 and 2022, positions for chief diversity and inclusion officers rose almost 170%, according to a LinkedIn study. This growth has increased diversity tracking in hiring and recruitment.

Revelo identified the top business areas where employers track diversity, using data from a May 2021 report by the Society for Human Resource Management and the Harvard Business Review.

The report analyzed survey results gathered between April and May 2021 from over 1,100 organizational leaders in North America. Of those, 65% listed DEI as “a high strategic priority.”

Significant differences existed among the three categories of respondents: leaders (those who say their organization is successful in improving DEI), laggards (those who say their organization is unsuccessful), and followers (those who fall in the middle). Of the laggard respondents, 50% said a lack of committed leadership hindered their efforts to improve DEI, and 72% said senior-level lack of diversity holds them back from improving.

To effectively measure diversity in hiring and recruitment, it is crucial to establish a baseline regarding the company’s readiness and willingness to improve diversity. “If you don’t know where you started or where you are currently, how do you know if you’ve made any progress?” vice president of research for SHRM-SCP Trent Burner said.

Effective data is as specific as possible, acquiring figures that reflect more than just overall diversity. For example, a January 2023 article from the World Economic Forum states that in the U.S., 1 in 5 C-Suite leaders are white women, while just 4% are women of color.

One of the ways organizations are increasing diversity is through looking beyond their geographic region and hiring across states—and even countries. The rise in remote work has buoyed this practice.

Wharton School of the University of Virginia research found that jobs that changed from in-person to remote during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic led to 15% more female applicants and 33% more applicants from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. The researchers list three key reasons for the boost in diversity recruitment: time flexibility, location flexibility, and limiting face-to-face interaction. The latter element can shield these employees from microaggressions and outright discrimination from biased and racist coworkers.

Another method for increasing diversity in the workplace is through training managers in hiring processes that promote diversity. The Harvard Business Review report found that 68% of leaders provided DEI training for managers, while just 38% of laggards did so. The percentages were almost identical for DEI training for all employees.

In 2020, Fortune 500 companies, representing the largest corporations by revenue, reached record levels of representation of women among chief executives at 37 companies. In 2023, women and people from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups held 1 in 5 board seats governing Fortune 500 companies. A Bloomberg analysis found during the year following the Black Lives Matter protests that S&P 100 companies added 300,000 more jobs, and 94% of those roles went to people of color.

However, implementing DEI practices shouldn’t end once the hiring process is over, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.


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