Q&A with Risha Grant
Website matches diverse talent with jobs at Oklahoma companies
Q: I understand you've launched a new website that connects Oklahoma businesses with diverse talent. What led you to create this site?
A: DiversityConneX.com was created as a platform to connect diverse talent who are unemployed, employed but looking, or interested in a board position with Oklahoma organizations striving for workplace diversity. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to meet with quite a few business leaders to discuss diversity and inclusion and the common theme has been that they want and need to hire diverse people but don’t know where to find the talent. We also chose to focus specifically on diverse talent because we were alarmed by the significant employment disparities that exist between diverse individuals and the mainstream community. Oklahoma boasts a 4.6 (percent) unemployment rate, which is one of the lowest in the nation, but statistics show that diverse individuals are almost twice as likely to be unemployed or underemployed versus their counterparts. With DiversityConneX.com we aim to address both of these issues by building the largest database of diverse talent in the state.
Q: Why is it important for a business to diversify their workforce?
A: The demographics of our state are changing and it greatly affects the ways companies will have to operate to sustain themselves in business. Not only does the change in demographics affect the talent pools companies recruit from, but also it impacts the customer base they want and need to attract. By striving to build a diverse workforce and create an inclusive culture, companies are proactively addressing the changing demographics and opening themselves up to receiving the best ideas, creating innovative products and connecting with a more extensive consumer base. In 2013, Oklahoma’s minority buying power was estimated to be $30.9 million and is projected to reach $43.2 million by 2018, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth’s The Multicultural Economy report. Just think of what 1 percent of this revenue could do for a company’s bottom line.