The research is clear: companies with diverse and inclusive cultures have higher employee retention rates and less trouble recruiting new employees. So more than ever this is an area in which all industries need to get better.
"You really felt like you weren't valued," said Idris Davis of Philadelphia's Olney section.
Davis quit his job as a service technician.
"I feel disgusted with the workforce," said Courtney Taylor of Southwest Philadelphia.
Taylor left the restaurant industry.
Both Davis and Taylor resigned in part because of a lack of diversity.
"I haven't met a lot of women restaurant managers. And I haven't met a lot of women of color restaurant managers," she said.
"Dealing with the racism that I had to deal with," said Davis. "After a while it starts to bother you."
"People are reevaluating where they want to work," she said. "They're looking for employers that are committed to DEI."
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DEI stands for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and research shows DEI equals innovation and higher profits.
"You're getting new ideas and looking at different perspectives, being able to create new products and service lines that reflect a broader global audience," she said. "Thirty-five percent of companies are more likely to outperform their competitors when they have a more diverse and inclusive workforce."
Software engineer Eric Jefferson of Broomall, Delaware County, recently switched jobs and said finding a diverse environment was a priority for him, too.
"If you have a team of people who all look alike and have the same type of mindset, it's going to limit what that product outputs going to be," he said.
To help companies find diverse candidates, Aquent has developed a program called Diversity+, and the strategies it employs are ones that all businesses can use.
"Start to identify where there may be gaps, listen to your employees, hear what they have to say," said Bloom. "It's then making a home where people feel safe and successful."
"It's making sure that everybody has a voice and opportunity to grow within the organization," said Bloom.
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As Taylor, Davis and the Jeffersons now grow their own organizations, these are things they are keeping in mind.
"As we need to build a team, what does that look like?" said Julie Jefferson.
"We're all trying to accomplish the same goal," said Eric Jefferson.
Bloom also said companies need to be deliberate in how they're creating community and connections, especially while employees are still working remotely. She also said it's critical to incentivize leaders to meet specific DEI goals.