How to Use Outsourcing as a Lever for DE&I

Outsourcing is not just a cost-saving measure but also a strategic tool that can significantly amplify your DE&I initiatives.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) is a critical cornerstone for any organization aiming to create a sustainable, competitive, and innovative workplace. As a CEO deeply embedded in the outsourcing industry, I recognize the unique challenges that HR managers face in cultivating an inclusive and diverse work environment. In today’s business landscape, where rapid changes are the norm, outsourcing offers a novel pathway for organizations to enhance DE&I initiatives. In this article, I hope to guide HR leaders through the DE&I maze and offer practical guidance on leveraging outsourcing to build a rich tapestry of diverse talents and perspectives.

DE&I Challenges in Modern Organizations

Before we delve into solutions, let’s understand the challenges faced by HR managers:

  1. Pipeline Issues: Attracting a diverse pool of candidates can be a daunting task, especially in sectors that have historically been less diverse.
  2. Cultural Barriers: Organizational culture can sometimes unintentionally create an environment less welcoming to individuals from diverse backgrounds.
  3. Budget Constraints: DE&I programs require resources, something which many organizations, especially startups, may find scarce.

Outsourcing as a DE&I Catalyst

Outsourcing can be a powerful tool for HR managers seeking to diversify their teams. Here’s how:

A Broader Talent Pool

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies often have vast networks of pre-vetted talent from different geographies, cultural backgrounds, and skill sets. The wealth of diverse talent enables organizations to go beyond local or national boundaries, tapping into global perspectives.

Ideational Diversity

When a team comprises members from diverse cultures and backgrounds, it also brings together a multitude of ideas and perspectives. This blend enriches problem-solving, innovation, and enhances the company’s agility in navigating complex challenges.

Flexibility and Scalability

The beauty of outsourcing lies in its flexibility. As DE&I goals evolve, outsourcing contracts can be modified to align with these changes, ensuring that organizations can quickly adapt to new DE&I challenges and opportunities.

How-To: Best Practices for Outsourcing as a DE&I Solution

Navigating the complexities of DE&I is something I’ve grappled with firsthand as a CEO. Based on my experiences, I firmly believe that a thoughtful outsourcing strategy can be transformative. Below, I’ll dive into how harnessing outsourcing can lead to successful DE&I implementation.

Step 1: Assess Your DE&I Goals

  • Conduct Internal Audits: In my experience, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Before embarking on any DE&I initiative, it’s crucial to conduct a thorough internal audit of your current workforce demographics.
  • Set Specific Objectives: Goals should be specific, measurable, and aligned with your company’s broader mission. It’s a good idea to set both short-term and long-term DE&I targets to keep focused and accountable.
  • Engage Stakeholders: The most successful DE&I initiatives are those that involve input from team members across all departments, ensuring alignment with your company’s overall objectives.

Step 2: Engage with BPOs That Share Your DE&I Vision

  • Research Potential Partners: There’s a marked difference between BPOs that pay lip service to DE&I and those that make it a core part of their operation.
  • Ask the Right Questions: When selecting a BPO partner, I’d recommend asking pointed questions about their DE&I track record and initiatives, including case studies or metrics that substantiate their claims.
  • Check for Certifications: Although not a deal-breaker, DE&I certifications can provide an added layer of trust and assurance.

Step 3: Regular Feedback Loops

  • Initial Assessment: I’d recommend setting up an initial meeting to assess the early impact on DE&I metrics following an outsourcing engagement.
  • Scheduled Reviews: Then establish a regular cadence for reviews—be it monthly, quarterly, or annually—to ensure that your outsourcing initiatives are consistently aligned with your DE&I goals.
  • Involve Both Teams: Make it a point to involve both your in-house and outsourced teams in these discussions, as I believe in fostering a culture of inclusive dialogue.

Step 4: Measure and Refine

  • Data Tracking: I’m a firm advocate for data-driven decision-making. KPIs have been invaluable in measuring our success in DE&I.
  • Solicit Employee Feedback: Numbers alone don’t tell the whole story. That’s why I’d recommend collecting qualitative feedback from your diverse workforce to get a fuller picture.
  • Iterate: Based on this amalgam of quantitative and qualitative data, you can continually refine your DE&I objectives and the strategies employed to achieve them.

It’s a journey, but with the right approach, it’s one that enriches both your team and your bottom line.

Strategies for BPO Companies

BPOs have a dual role to play: aiding clients in achieving their DE&I goals and fostering an inclusive environment within their organization. A commitment to DE&I should be a core part of the value proposition that BPOs offer. Strategies may include:

  1. Skills Training: Training for soft skills like cultural sensitivity and communication is just as crucial as job-specific training.
  2. Diverse Hiring Panels: Ensure that the hiring panels themselves are diverse, mitigating unconscious biases.
  3. Transparency and Reporting: Offering comprehensive DE&I metrics can build trust with clients and drive further commitment towards achieving DE&I goals.

Final Thoughts

As we move towards a more globalized business landscape, HR leaders must grapple with evolving DE&I challenges. Outsourcing is not just a cost-saving measure but also a strategic tool that can significantly amplify your DE&I initiatives. Through deliberate planning, informed partner selection, and ongoing review, organizations can leverage outsourcing to turn their DE&I vision into a lived reality.

Remember, DE&I is not a ‘checkbox’ to tick off but a continuous journey. As we navigate this journey, may we discover that our differences are not barriers but bridges to a more enriched, inclusive, and successful business landscape.

Bryan DiGiorgio
Bryan DiGiorgio is a seasoned entrepreneur and corporate leader with a transformative vision for the future of work. As the Founder and CEO of 1840 & Company, Bryan is revolutionizing the way businesses approach staffing and talent management. His epiphany came after more than a decade in entrepreneurship and corporate leadership; he realized that traditional methods of hiring and resource allocation were not only outdated but also unsustainable in a rapidly evolving global landscape. This led him to establish 1840 & Company, a global business process outsourcing provider that offers vetted, remote talent to growing companies, thereby reducing traditional hiring costs. Before launching 1840 & Company, Bryan was the Founder and CEO of Workspace Communications, a pioneer in cloud-based Microsoft Unified Communication services. His extensive experience in senior leadership roles at companies like Sprint, Vonage, OnStar, and H&R Block has endowed him with a unique skill set in customer operations and global service delivery. Specializing in facilities management, distribution center operations, and customer service, Bryan has a proven track record of driving operational excellence. Bryan attended Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management, Emporia State University, and Webster University.