Diverse Workforces are Growing – Now Let’s Focus on Keeping Them

Diverse workforce retention_OP_Blog_Jaz N

Happy New Year!

The start of a new year is a time for businesses to look back at the successes and lessons of the previous and to plan for the year ahead.

Unfortunately, businesses may also face high turnover rates, as January is one of the top months for people to change jobs. While this means that you may see a higher number of active applicants this month, you also need to think about your own retention efforts. That’s especially true when thinking about your diversity and inclusion efforts. 

More than ever, organizational leadership and their recruiting teams invest time and effort into building a diverse workforce. The same care needs to be taken when thinking about how to retain these employees – specifically in the IT space.

Diversity reports from Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google show that less than 7% of US IT workforces are composed of African Americans and Hispanics. In contrast, the US Census Bureau estimates the ethnic minority population will rise from 37% to 57% by 2060. This diversity is an important resource for cultivating market intelligence, enhancing language capabilities, and broadening professional networks. As more ethnic minorities join the workforce, organizations that fail to retain them will limit their pipeline of IT professionals.

Most employees that contribute to a company’s high turnover experience low organizational commitment, which is their attachment to, and interest and involvement in the organization.

In a 2014 study published by Information Systems Journal, Black IT professionals reported lower job discretion, career support, met expectations, and job satisfaction than their white counterparts. They received lower performance ratings from their managers, who were less likely to attribute their high performance to effort and skill, and more likely to attribute it to luck and low task difficulty.

So, what is the solution to all the exclusion felt by minority IT employees in the industry? 

The study found that leader-member exchange relationships (LMX) and career mentoring positively influenced organizational commitment, while psychosocial mentoring was directly linked to minority workers’ merit pay. 

LMX (leader-member exchange relationships) is defined as the quality of the relationship between the manager and employee. This quality can be displayed in how open communication is accepted between the manager and employee, and whether they feel listened to and respected.

Career mentoring involves coaching, sponsorship and protection on behalf of the protégé, which allows for career advancement and access to challenging assignments – exactly how new skills are learned!

Psychosocial mentoring involves serving as a role model, friend and counsellor, and providing positive regard and acceptance. When managers focused on providing this to their employees, it increased their merit pay, otherwise known as their chance of getting salary increases linked to performance evaluations.

In summary, two key takeaways for companies trying to keep their diversified top talent: 

  1. Pay attention to fostering positive leader-member relationships and promoting career mentoring. 
  2. Managers should focus on providing psychosocial mentoring and outlets where workers can seek out psychosocial support. 

This will likely lead to increased organizational support and less turnover, especially in the month of January!

Jaz N OP blog headshotAs a Research and Sourcing Specialist at Objective Paradigm, Jazmin grows her financial tech knowledge in the recruiting industry to attract top talent to their chosen career. At OP, she has the opportunity to apply industrial and organizational psychology principles for crafting job descriptions and training, as well as blogging about the latest trends in the recruitment and IO space. She is always looking to connect top talent to their chosen career path and share industry knowledge. Connect with Jazmin on LinkedIn.


Join the conversation!