How Inclusive Hiring Policies Address the Great Resignation

With the great resignation, not requiring a college degree removes a barrier of entry and broadens your talent pool.

Tarsha McCormick, VP of DEI, Culture & Engagement, WP Engine

May 30, 2022

4 Min Read
diverse group of people in a circle
Derek Meijer via Alamy

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 38 million people left their positions in 2021, which is over a fifth of the workforce. Hybrid work allows for companies to hire talent from across the country, however, everyone is now pulling from the same pool of candidates. Therefore, it has created challenges for finding talent.

With the lack of candidates, it’s important to increase your talent pool. A great way to do this is through considering candidates without a college degree. There are many programs out there outside of traditional 4-year universities that provide the necessary skills to remain successful in tech and other roles.

A great program we partner with is CodeToCollege. CodeToCollege provides underrepresented and low-income youth with the opportunity to learn the skills required for various technical roles, that typically might not be available outside of 4-year universities. This helps create a more diverse workforce in STEM spaces and increases the number of candidates for these roles.

It’s key to value performance and impact over educational background. When looking at your talent pool and current employees, it’s important to not limit growth opportunities to only those with degrees. Look at the value the person has brought to your company and don’t let the fact of their educational background get in the way.

Creating a Cohesive Workforce & Company Culture

Not only is increasing your talent pool important, but creating a cohesive workforce is also vital. According to a Gartner study, 35% of HR leaders say diversity, equity and inclusion are among their top five priorities for 2022. Because of this, it’s crucial that companies are investing in partnerships with organizations invested in diverse identities to promote inclusive hiring policies.

Another great way to create a cohesive workforce is through holding listening sessions with current employees to understand their values and interests. We have seen great success through implementing programs that increase leadership development opportunities for some of our underrepresented communities

We currently have 50 employees participating in an external learning development program designed to address unique experiences that many from underrepresented communities face. Through our Allyship Education program, we introduced a 10-day allyship challenge last year where we brought in an external trainer to lead a session with our managers on “Leading with Empathy and Allyship.”

While creating these programs is important for existing employees, it’s also important to make the onboarding process work better for hybrid workers. Through putting programs in place to promote connection and culture, companies are able to increase engagement with DEI efforts, even with employees working from home.

Create a Company Culture That Prioritizes Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

According to a Deloitte survey, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, and 74% of Millennials believe inclusion makes a company more innovative. DEI initiatives are crucial to creating a company culture that everybody would want to be a part of. Not only will it make your company more innovative, but it will also help you stand out to the current demographic searching for jobs.

However, talent and current employees can tell when DEI initiatives are more performative, than genuine in wanting to create change. Companies must walk the walk, not just talk the talk when it comes to prioritizing diversity within the company culture.

Prioritizing creating a company culture that aligns with employees’ values will not only attract talent, but also retain talent -- which in times of the great resignation, is more important than ever.

Looking Outside the Box and Hiring Top Talent

There isn’t a one size fits all pathway into tech. You can have a non-traditional educational background and be successful in the tech industry.

With an increase in conversations around college debt and the price of college, many young adults are looking into alternative ways to obtain skills for their desired jobs. By lessening the emphasis on college degrees when hiring talent, companies can tap into way more candidates that might not be being considered for other companies.

The world is changing and the way we’ve always hired talent no longer works the same. Companies need to be innovative and considerate of the values that are important to the incoming workforce, and future generations as well.

About the Author(s)

Tarsha McCormick

VP of DEI, Culture & Engagement, WP Engine

Tarsha McCormick is the VP of DEI, Culture & Engagement at WP Engine, a WordPress digital experience platform where over 30% of employees don’t have a college degree and over 95% of their roles do not require a college degree.

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