Diversity in the workplace is a hot topic, and with good reason: Diverse hiring benefits both companies and communities. However, a truly inclusive hiring approach requires dedication, hard work and creative thinking to reach a broad pool of candidates.

Strategic partnerships with other organizations are one great way to make hiring more diverse. In 2019, Indeed announced a collaboration with Goodwill Industries International to help one million job seekers find employment by the year 2024. This collaboration opens new doors by connecting employers with job seekers they might not otherwise meet. 

Since the program’s launch, JPMorgan Chase & Co. has been a key ally, bringing their Indeed Hiring Events into Goodwill locations across the country as a way to connect with job seekers who are using Goodwill’s training and supportive services to overcome challenges they may face in finding employment. We spoke with Managing Director and Head of Consumer and Community Bank Recruiting at JPMorgan Chase, Connie Geiger, to learn how this partnership has expanded the boundaries of recruiting.

The case for inclusive hiring

Hiring diverse candidates isn’t only the right thing to do — it’s also good for business. For JPMorgan Chase, prioritizing diversity in the workplace aligns closely with the company’s mission and goals.

“We know that attracting people with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives aligns with our mission to provide the best service to our customers,” explains Geiger. “The more we’ve got variety in those experiences and backgrounds, the more we can really relate to the customers and build products that … meet their needs.” 

Employers need to be intentional about reaching these candidates, she adds, since “diversity comes in all different shapes and sizes.” That’s where the Indeed-Goodwill collaboration comes in. Working together, these organizations partner with other employers, such as JPMorgan Chase, to host hiring events for need-to-fill roles. This program builds on Indeed Hiring Events’ success at hosting events across the U.S. to help companies fill high-volume positions, but with a twist — the partnership with local Goodwills and their communities.

Indeed Hiring Events that are hosted at Goodwill locations draw job seekers who have nontraditional backgrounds or face challenges finding a job. This includes people from marginalized areas, those with disabilities, those who have minor criminal records and those who have fallen on hard times.

Goodwill Industries International President and CEO Steven C. Preston is particularly excited about the impact of this partnership: “Job seekers with nontraditional backgrounds or life challenges need access to opportunities to interview with high quality employers like JPMorgan Chase. These hiring events provide a unique platform for them to demonstrate to hiring managers their skill sets, their full potential and their desire to be impactful and loyal employees.”

JPMorgan Chase has diversity programs aimed at a variety of additional talent pools, including veterans and neurodiverse candidates. What’s more, the firm recently staffed its first American Sign Language branch, serving the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. 

“The economy’s really strong right now, but not everyone is benefiting from it equally. We want to unlock economic opportunity for people in underserved communities,” Geiger says. “We have a moral obligation to make sure all stakeholders, including our employees and the communities we serve, are getting value out of the work that we do.” 

Strategic partnerships support diversity in the workplace

Even with great intentions, diversity hiring initiatives can fail for a number of reasons. For example, job postings might list over-the-top skills and education requirements, lack inclusive messaging, have a laborious application process or simply fail to reach their target audience. 

Partnerships such as the one between Indeed and Goodwill help employers find and connect with the talent they need while ensuring that the application process is accessible for everyone. These events give every attendee the chance to speak with their potential employer, share their story and learn more about the role — eliminating the daunting waiting period involved in the traditional application process. 

This benefits employers, too, since “these face-to-face meetings allow us to really get to know the potential candidate, and do it quickly,” Geiger says. This helps hiring managers assess qualities such as cultural fit and communication, as “sometimes there are skills and experiences the candidate can bring to the table that aren’t necessarily reflected on a resume.”

For people with less conventional backgrounds, employment histories might not properly convey their potential. For example, applicants without a college degree or with a minor criminal background could be disqualified for certain roles or by some employers — even if it wouldn’t impact their work. 

Geiger believes this is a mistake, asking, “Would someone with a minor criminal background really be a risk to the organization in that particular role? Or could you be part of a solution to give people a second chance to get back on their feet?” She believes in-person encounters can “help shift the paradigm” for employers in terms of job requirements or ideal candidates.

“Having the hiring managers get direct exposure to this talent can help them start thinking a little bit differently,” Geiger adds. “We really want to tap into the aptitude and the attitude and the core competencies that may not be translating on a resume in terms of a specific job.” 

Diversity and inclusion benefit employers, candidates and communities

For JPMorgan Chase, this approach offers a great workaround to help recruiters think beyond the resume. And they help candidates, too: Those who might be passed over in a traditional screening get a chance to show employers they’re just as capable as anyone else.

“We’re always pushing ourselves to ensure that we’re not leaving any talent pool untapped. We really want to make sure we’ve got access to the best talent available, regardless of shape, size, background or experience,” Geiger says.

Not only that, but greater diversity in the workplace can also help employers increase their bottom line.