Recruiting a diverse workforce isn’t just social responsibility: It’s a necessity, given the rapid increases in minority older worker and women candidates and the 70% jobless rate among disabled people. Doing so means talking social steps to recruit these people from these categories. Many employers, such as Eastman Kodak Co., include disability under their diversity initiative umbrellas. This reflects their recognition that disabled people represent a large, untapped pool of potential employees.
About two thirds of all single parents are in the workforce today this group is an important source of candidates.
Attracting single parents begins with understanding the problems they face is balancing work and family life. In on survey,
Many described falling into bed exhausted at midnight without even minimal time for themselves. They reported rushing through every activity and constantly feeling pressured to keep on going and do more. Vacations, which can be a time to rejuvenate, were often used for children’s appointments or to handle unexpected emergencies. They often needed personal sick time or excused days off to care for sick children. As one mother noted, she doesn’t have enough sick days to get sick.
The respondents viewed themselves as having less support less personal time, more stress, and greater difficulty balancing job and home life than other working parents. However, most were hesitant to dwell on their single-parent status at work; they feared that doing so would affect their jobs and careers adversely.
Given such concern, the first step in attracting and keeping single mothers is to make the workplace as user friendly for them as is practical. For example, many employers already give employees some schedule flexibility such as one hour windows at the beginning or end of the day. The problem is that for some single mothers, this flexibility can help but it may not be sufficient to really make a difference in their ability to juggle work and family schedules. In addition to flexibility employers can and should train supervisors to have an increased awareness of and sensitivity to the sorts of challenges single parents face. Very often a single mother’s relationship with her supervisors and co-workers is a significant factor influencing whether she perceives the work environment to be supportive. Ongoing support groups and other forums at which single parents can share their concerns can also help.
When it comes to hiring older workers employers may not have much choice. Over the next few years, the fastest growing labor force segment will be those from 45 to 64 years old. Those aged 25 to 34 will decline by almost three million, reflecting fewer births in the late 1960s and early 1970s. On the positive side, a survey by AARP and SHRM concluded that older workers tend to have lower absenteeism rates, more reliability and better work habits than younger workers.
It therefore makes a lot of sense for employers to encourage older workers to stay or to come to work at the company. How does one do this? Employers should revise policies that make it difficult for older workers to keep working such as pension plans that penalize work after a certain age. They should offer training and workshops to eliminate age-related bias, educate mangers about older workers’ values, and review all HR policies in recruiting, selection, training, appraisal, and compensation to make sure age bias plays no role. They should structure reward systems with older employees’ needs in mind. People’s occupational needs and preference change as they grow older. One survey found that getting a raise was the main motivator for 11% of those born in the 1960s and 1970s, but just 1% for those over 65. Flexibility was the main concern for 71% of baby boomers, with those who continues working preferring to do so part time. At Wrigley Company, workers over 65 can progressively shorten their work schedules; another company uses ‘mini shifts’ to accommodate those interested in working less than full time.