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Battling an Increasingly Tight Labor Market Through Inclusion

As I work with CEOs around the country, I benefit from their unique in-the-trenches insights on how their businesses are being impacted by seismic shifts such as the war for talent. One CEO told me, as I was working on my recently released book Inclusion: STILL the Competitive Business Advantage, that the unemployment rate—which is the lowest it's been in 17 years—is what's keeping most CEOs up at night these days. "It's so hard to replace good talent lost," he says. Companies must "stop the bleeding and retain their stars." But how? He says that companies need to create a culture where all voices are heard to compete most effectively. Reinvigorating the war for talent, he says, requires "being ahead of the game and planning for the next 5-10 years."

According to The Conference Board's "C-Suite Challenge 2018" report, the top concern of CEOs—and other members of the C-suite—is attracting and retaining talent. The second, closely related is creating new business models to address disruptive technologies. Those disruptive technologies are driving demand for new types of very specialized talent that is generally in short supply. Organizations today can't risk turning off job candidates or new hires—or long-term staff members.

The biggest barrier impacting organizations' quest to attract and retain top talent? Lack of inclusion.

It's clear that there are barriers that can negatively impact employers hoping to win the war for talent. A consistent theme among the organizations we've talked to is the importance of inclusion—and how often inclusion isn't occurring at key points in the hiring process, and the overall employee life cycle. Systems have been historically stacked against diverse candidates on a number of levels; by gaining insights into how your hiring, selection and promotion processes may cause candidates to opt out or be overlooked, you can help build a more diverse workforce, which, we know, leads to better employee engagement, retention, and productivity.

These are issues that we explored in our recently released book.


In Inclusion: STILL the Competitive Business Advantage, we continue our contributions to thought leadership on the importance of inclusion in an environment that has been roiled with new discussion—and new dissent—amid rapidly changing demographics, continually emerging technology and a global economy that is continually shifting to favor newly emerging market powerhouses. We're very gratified by the positive reviews already pouring in.

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