MIT Sloan Fellows MBA Program
The Workplace Is Changing for Good
“Employers must realize that COVID-19 and the racial reckoning in the U.S. have permanently transformed people’s perspectives on work and life,” says Monster CEO Scott Gutz, SF ’08. “From safety protocols and flex schedules to salary protections and diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA) initiatives, current and future generations of employees will have considerably higher expectations of the organizations they choose to join.”
The business opportunities of diversity
With pandemic lockdowns and the murder of George Floyd in 2020 as catalysts, Gutz has observed a seismic shift in DEIA approaches over the last 24 months. “Broader societal momentum has accelerated the move away from narrow, company-defined efforts toward more inclusive initiatives shaped by the diverse people enterprises must attract and retain to be competitive,” he says. “To keep pace, employers must be prepared to discuss DEIA openly as a top priority. Businesses that authentically demonstrate diversity will have a distinct edge in attracting top talent.”
Few companies pivoted seamlessly to 100 percent remote work in the early days of the pandemic, and many white-collar industries still resist long-term models of a substantially virtual staff. Monster, however, sees a significant DEIA upside for businesses that embrace the challenges of this difficult transition. Monster’s Fall 2021 Hiring Report notes that remote opportunities can bring diverse perspectives across all job levels, functions, and teams and help break down barriers as they relate to race, ethnicity, gender, disability, and sexual orientation.
Monster’s recent guide “How to Build a More Inclusive Hiring Program” reinforces this point from the perspective of Ruhal Dooley, advisor at the Society for Human Resource Management. He notes that “the best talent available is proven to be everywhere, not just in some historically reserved place where everyone is the same. If the best talent yields the best result, diversity is necessary to compete.”
That same Monster report includes data from the McKinsey & Company study “Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters” about the competitive gains associated with strong DEIA metrics. McKinsey’s 2019 analysis showed that organizations in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile. For ethnic and cultural diversity, top-quartile companies were 36 percent more profitable.
Monster’s own global research found that more than 86 percent of job applicants value diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in the workplace—and 62 percent say they would turn down an offer of employment if the company culture doesn’t support a diverse workforce. “Although our DEIA planning was well underway in 2019,” says Gutz, “those findings greatly accelerated our own internal efforts.”
Based on direct input from its existing 1,500-person workforce, Monster has devoted the last two years to building a robust DEIA infrastructure. Among its industry-leading initiatives:
- A Diversity Steering Committee comprising the highest-ranking people in the company from underrepresented groups.
- New employee resource groups—Abilities in Motion, BEST (BIPOC Employees Standing Together), Parents and Caregivers, Pride, Veterans and Military Families, and Women@Monster.
- Two mandatory, conscious-inclusion e-learning modules for all employees.
- Organization-wide surveys to identify gaps in the company’s makeup.
- Pledge lists from team leaders on how they will make their teams more equitable, diverse, and inclusive—including quarterly goals and check-ins.
- Revamped interviewing and hiring processes that result in more diverse slates of candidates help hiring managers understand their biases.
Metrics from the first half of 2021 indicate that Monster’s recent DEIA efforts are helping. “Diversity among candidates for our open management positions has improved significantly,” Gutz notes. “Nearly half of our interviewees were women and non-binary, and a majority identified as Black, indigenous, or people of color. In terms of existing employees, 93 percent have participated in company-wide conscious-inclusion training modules.”
Gutz is quick to stress that Monster isn’t resting on those metrics. “If we were at five percent two years ago, we’re only at 20 percent today,” he says. “That means we have 80 percent left to go, and we intend to get there with sustained, systematic internal initiatives. We’re also partnering with the Massachusetts High Technology Council and Bain Capital to strengthen pathways to STEM-related careers for seventh- through 12-graders. It’s no longer acceptable to shrug your shoulders and say there’s not enough talent out there.”
On the human, qualitative side, Gutz wants every Monster employee to be able to affirm three points related to personal belonging. “First, I can bring my whole self to work, and at work, I feel comfortable and am encouraged to voice my opinion in a group. Second, my team can have discussions on difficult or uncomfortable topics. And third, I can envision career progression for someone like me. We’re not there yet, but thanks to the insights we’ve gained from our employees and external collaborators, we’re headed in the right direction.”