Sustainability & Risk

Hiring for Equity and Inclusion during a Pandemic

By Clinton Johnson

Bringing diversity into the hiring process

The Esri Brief

Trending insights from WhereNext and other leading publications

Despite monumental job losses and bankruptcies due to the coronavirus pandemic, some companies are quietly (or not-so-quietly) adding more jobs.

Two important questions face hiring executives: Where can they find job seekers; and, in a time of renewed focus on social justice and equitable hiring, how can they improve diversity and inclusion?

These decision-makers can use location intelligence to reveal answers—and position their companies for business continuity, equitable hiring, and growth.

Hiring to Fulfill Digital Sales

With the pandemic prompting local governments to close dine-in options in many areas and customers wary of social interaction, some restaurants have seen profits nosedive. For others, digital sales have surged. Brands like Chipotle and Panera Bread have experienced a rise in curbside pickups for customers who order online and take advantage of contactless systems to grab a meal.

To support that demand, Chipotle is planning to hire 10,000 workers. It’s developing streamlined “Chipotlanes” to facilitate mobile orders and drive-through pickups, and has dedicated separate kitchens to fulfill online orders.

Across the restaurant industry, leaders deciding where to add employees, drive-throughs, digital services, or store locations have enlisted location intelligence. They use location technology to see where sales and demand are rising and predict where they might surge next, based on trends near other stores that serve similar demographics.

Equitable Hiring During a Pandemic

Many executives looking to hire are mindful of the need to prioritize diversity and inclusion. Business leaders also realize that equitable hiring requires intentionality and targeted outreach. They can use location technology to reveal trends about workers in certain locations, while connecting with a more equitable workforce.

For instance, location intelligence generated by a geographic information system (GIS) can illuminate the demographics of a workforce and customers. That heightened awareness helps business leaders understand how to reduce burdens and create benefits for people of color in communities where the company operates and beyond.

With remote work becoming more mainstream, hiring managers may also find prospective employees outside traditional talent pools. Managers can use census data and partner with local advocacy groups to hire workers more equitably—whether locally or remotely.

HR leaders can partner with analysts to create smart maps showing local labor skills and the ethnic makeup of the area, creating a picture of how to prioritize outreach. Or, an HR manager could analyze worker preferences among different generations and locations to guide local hiring strategies.

The Importance of Digital Transformation

Chipotle and Panera are examples of brick-and-mortar companies that invested in digital services and mobile apps before the disruption of COVID-19. Digital transformation positioned them for success in recent months, as other companies scrambled to stand up digital systems and adjust to consumer needs.

Successful digital transformation often serves as a foundation for location intelligence, empowering companies to map and analyze data that fuels new insight. With everything from cleaning regulations to supply chains in flux due to COVID-19 uncertainty, digital dashboards provide executives the hyper-local awareness needed to make smart business decisions in each market, each day.

For instance, Bass Pro Shops has taken advantage of a location intelligence system to monitor operations and maintain business continuity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Other businesses are transforming operations as quickly as possible—implementing new location intelligence tools to gain insight on their businesses and the competition. With fewer customer dollars available, making the right decisions about which stores to open or close and where to find customers is crucial. The same technology facilitating those objectives can be applied to the complementary goal of building a more inclusive and diverse workforce.

In this time of global health risk and social change, business leaders are searching for every advantage, and many see digital transformation and location intelligence as key to unlocking new insight on business growth and hiring.



Photo courtesy of #WOCinTech Chat.

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