Ideal Outcomes

Retain Your Diverse Workforce with a Three-Pronged Approach

By Jason Richmond, CEO & Chief Culture Officer at Ideal Outcomes, Inc.

Look around you. The world has changed. Diversity no longer means having a few representative people who look different from the majority of your workforce. Diversity today is a key driver of organizational financial performance, and we need to consider diversity of markets, customers, ideas, and talent. These four mega-trends are creating a business context that is far less homogeneous and much more diverse than has historically been the case.

The need for organizations to act both strategically and with urgency has never been more important. Millennials are set to comprise 50 percent of the workforce next year. And despite all the attention placed on talent diversity, women hold just 12 percent of corporate board seats worldwide according to Deloitte’s 2015 study Women in the Boardroom: A Global Perspective.  

It’s true that many organizations have made a concerted effort to create a more diverse workforce through outreach programs, internships, and employee referral programs. But unfortunately, many of these same companies have not taken as seriously retention of the diverse employees they hired. This is problematic, especially in a strong economy where good talent can “call the shots,” because everyone else wants them too. 

It is time to develop a robust retention strategy not only for your diverse talent, but also for all your solid performers, although it’s important to note that the diverse talent you worked so hard to attract is probably more likely to leave. Let’s look at how to develop a retention strategy from three viewpoints: turnover data, mobility, and inclusion. 

Turnover Data

Why do people leave your organization? It might be the promise of more money, but in all likelihood, it is more complex than that. Executive leadership must get a clear picture of what is going on and deeply understand trends so they can build an effective retention strategy. Things you need to know include: 

  • When are the key turnover points for your workforce in general? Is it ninety days, six months, three years? Target employees well ahead of those anniversaries and do a pulse check on their engagement.
  • Do these turnover points vary by diversity factors? Do women, for example, leave sooner? At a certain age? Does such departure vary from manager to manager, geographic location, or business unit? 
  • Think creatively. What can you do to get people to stay? For example, if women in their early thirties are leaving to start a family would increased work flexibility cut this turnover? Would an on-site day care pay for itself?
  • What are the reasons employees leave? Segment this at a minimum by age, gender, tenure, and race.


Mobility refers to deployment of internal talent whether it be promotions, lateral moves, or job rotation. There are many potential organizational hurdles to being able to promote or even laterally move people from within. There might be a siloed Talent Acquisition function that is not integrated with Learning and Development, Talent Management, or the succession planning team, so TA does not know who internally is ready for a new role. 

Ironically, of the 1,189 respondents to a survey from talent acquisition solutions firm Future step, 87 percent said that having a strong internal mobility program—where employees are encouraged to apply for new roles within their organization—would definitely help with retention. However, only one-third reported that their company has such a program. Hiring managers and recruiters need to know their internal talent’s capabilities. Deloitte Insights has provided some great insights into how to build a comprehensive mobility strategy. 

Read Jason’s book and find out how companies are recognizing the key to continual success is empowering their most important asset…their people.


Although related, diversity and inclusion are not the same thing. The Society for Human Resources (SHRM) defines inclusion as “the achievement of a work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization’s success.” Not discriminating is essential, but in reality, inclusion goes beyond this. When you have an inclusive culture, you are recognizing and honoring differences at a whole new level. You are making a conscious effort to help people feel that they belong. Be aware that subtle messages, such as who gets plum assignments on the team, who gets invited to meetings, or how people are recognized are part of this messaging. 

An important place to begin is by defining what your organization means by inclusivity. What behaviors are acceptable and expected from all employees at all levels. From there, establishing policies and then training everyone on them is important. Finally, be sure there are multiple avenues for employees to safely communicate issues and offer suggestions. 

You can have solid diversity results and still have exclusion. A respectful, positive work environment needs diversity and inclusion to thrive.

Retain Your Workforce 

Are you looking to retain your employees heading into the new year? Contact us and see how Oracle HCM Cloud can drive diversity, foster inclusion, and reduce turnover.