Employers in the US should review their talent acquisition programs to ensure they focus on inclusive employment. With the signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the US economy is poised for higher growth and an expansion of jobs.
Tight Labor Market Issues Make Case for Inclusive Employment
Currently, the US economy appears to be close to full employment. However, there are millions of working age adults who are not participating in the workforce. Over 90 million Americans are of working age but not working. While some of these adults are in retirement, large numbers may not be working due to other factors, such as:
- Enrollment in school
- Participating in job training programs
- Providing home care for children or relatives
- Unable to work due to disability or illness
According to Pew Research, additional factors influencing participation in the labor market include:
- Lower numbers of teens participating in the workforce
- Higher numbers of workers age 55 and older working and looking for jobs
- Significant numbers of Americans are self-employed
US Economic Performance Requires Inclusive Employment
US economic performance is healthy with a forecast for continuing steady growth. Recent forecasts may not have taken into account the signing of the USMCA. This trade agreement may add significantly to the US economy’s future growth over the next several years. The United States International Trade Commission report, “U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement: Likely Impact on the U.S. Economy and on Specific Industry Sectors” indicates the following:
- S. real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will rise by $62.2 billion (0.35 %)
- S. employment will rise by 176,000 jobs (0.12 %)
- Positive impact on U.S. trade with USMCA partners and rest of the world
- Increases in wages, exports, employment, and output
- Several industry sectors including manufacturing and services will benefit
What is Inclusive Employment?
Inclusive employment is often thought of with respect to individuals with disabilities. However, as noted by Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, President and CEO of SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, an expansive definition of inclusion would cover many other individuals who may not have actual physical disabilities. A company that takes an expansive view of its workforce may dramatically increase the size of its prospective talent pool.
Individuals with Disabilities
The Professional Fellows Program on Inclusive Disability Employment notes that Inclusive Employment “…refers to individuals with disabilities working alongside their peers without disabilities in the competitive labor market (with access to the same benefits and career opportunities).”
- Inclusive employment for individuals with disabilities provides many benefits for them:
- Placement in a high-quality employment environment that may allow career advancement
- Opportunity to become financially independent
- Societal inclusion from an early age leads to acceptance and respect
- Expands their range of skills, friendships, and interactions with others to help promote independence
A joint study by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and DePaul University identifies several benefits of workers with disabilities, including:
- Participants with disabilities from the retail and hospitality sectors stayed on the job longer
- Across all sectors, participants with disabilities had fewer scheduled absences
- Retail participants with disabilities had fewer days of unscheduled absences
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services has developed several resources to assist employers in developing inclusive employment practices. A new video on recruiting, training and employing individuals with disabilities highlights the success of CVS Health and their inclusive employment initiative.
According to HRTechnologist, “When it comes to fostering diversity & inclusion (D&I) in the workplace, campaigns for hiring veterans are an absolute must-have.” Veterans often have many skills that are highly valuable to companies. As a result, an inclusive onboarding process for veterans and transitioning service members is a valuable resource for talent acquisition programs. Additionally, many veterans may also have service-connected disabilities. Many of these individuals share the same traits as able-bodied veterans, including:
- Job-ready skills
- Tested leadership abilities
- Mission-focused work ethic
The U.S. Department of Labor promotes the hiring of veterans and inclusive employment initiatives with their Veterans’ Employment & Training Service (VETS) program. VETS helps veterans and service members that are leaving active duty in several ways:
- Providing assistance to employers to find qualified transitioning service members and veterans
- Employer Toolkit designed to assist and educate employers in their recruitment and hiring initiatives
- HIRE Vets Medallion Program recognizes employers
- Providing employment policy and compliance information for veterans and service members
- Resources for Registered Apprenticeship programs to ensure those eligible can receive GI Bill benefits
Formerly Incarcerated Individuals
Individuals transitioning from incarceration to communities face challenges in finding employment. According to Prison Policy Initiative, the unemployment rate for formerly incarcerated people is nearly five times higher than the unemployment rate for the general United States population.
However, research also shows that companies with inclusive employment that promotes hiring of these individuals may benefit in several ways:
- Military enlistees with criminal records were promoted more quickly and to higher ranks than other enlistees
- Call center employees with criminal records had longer tenure and were less likely to quit
- “Ban the box” laws prevent employers from asking about criminal histories on initial job application forms and require they make hiring decisions based on merit and the relevance of prior convictions to particular jobs results in hired applicants with criminal records who exhibit a lower turnover rate than those with no records
Research shows that companies can make a significant amount of money through an employee’s longer tenure. Turnover among staff costs companies a significant amount of money, time, and resources. Ultimately, employers should choose the candidate that is best for the job whether they have a criminal record or not.
Employers and Managers Support Inclusive Employment of Formerly Incarcerated Individuals
A survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Charles Koch Institute (CKI) to better understand how people in the business community viewed hiring those with criminal records found:
- 74% of managers are willing or open to hiring individuals with a criminal record
- 84% of HR professionals are willing or open to hiring individuals with a criminal record
- Over 80% of all groups surveyed are willing and open to working with individuals with criminal records
- Only a small minority were unwilling to make the hire or work alongside these individuals
Companies such as Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, New York, have seen significant success with “Open Hiring®” and focusing on training and apprenticeship programs. The company has employed thousands of formerly incarcerated individuals.
Facility Programs Provide Valuable Skills to Support Inclusive Employment
Many individuals learn valuable job skills during their incarceration. For example, Unicor is the current name of the Federal Prison Industries program that was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934. Unicor prepares inmates with job training and practical work skills for their successful reentry to the workforce.
Unicor notes there are several incentives and benefits available to companies that hire former offenders:
- Service to the public by helping former offenders in their transition to become contributing members of society
- Access to skilled employees, many with highly valued technical experience
- Bonding Programs at no cost to the employer
- Work Opportunity Tax Credit: This federal tax credit is offered in many states to employers who hire ex-offenders
- Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act includes a Reentry Employment Opportunities (REO) program and grants to facilitate state and local level programs to improve workforce outcomes for formerly incarcerated adults
What Should Employers do About Inclusive Employment?
Employers should understand the value of inclusive employment. They should also consider examining their current corporate structures and employment situations as they relate to diversity and inclusion. Employers should determine how inclusive employment initiatives in talent acquisition and management may increase their ability to reach corporate objectives.
GMS’ team of domestic relocation experts has helped thousands of our clients develop hiring and recruiting programs to attract highly skilled job seekers through inclusive employment initiatives. As a result, our team can help your company by using industry best practices to design your relocation program. This will increase your company’s ability to attract and retain new employees with a focus on inclusive employment.
GMS was the first relocation company to register as a .com, created the first online interactive tools and calculators, and revolutionized the entire relocation industry. GMS continues to set the industry pace as the pioneer in innovation and technology solutions with its proprietary MyRelocation® technology platform.
Global Mobility Solutions is proud to be named and ranked #1 Overall, and #1 in Quality of Service by HRO Today’s 2019 Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction Survey.
Contact our experts online to learn how inclusive employment can benefit your company’s recruiting, hiring, and relocation program, or give us a call at 800.617.1904 or 480.922.0700 today.
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