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It’s time to debunk the ‘pipeline problem’ once and for all

Over the next several months, ‘The New Way We Work’ podcast will focus on how all of us can build a more inclusive workplace. We’ll start by addressing the persistent notion that there just aren’t enough qualified candidates of color.

It’s time to debunk the ‘pipeline problem’ once and for all
[Source image: iland19/iStock]
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One of the most interesting trends that I’ve helped document for Fast Company in the last half decade has been the painfully slow progress of companies awakening to the inequalities in all of our workplaces.

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Building a more equitable workplace isn’t just an issue of what should be done. It’s a matter of what must be done. Companies with more diverse workforces have been proven to be more profitable. And company cultures that are more inclusive have been proven to be more productive, and happier places to work.

These aren’t issues that impact only a few people. Women, people of color, people with disabilities, and those in the LGBTQ community together make up the majority of the workforce. And building a more just workplace impacts those outside of those groups as well. A rising tide truly does lifts all boats. It’s past time for us to debate “if” and move into the work of “how.” This is a journey that will impact every working person.

Which is why after five seasons, the Secrets of the Most Productive People podcast is getting a new name (The New Way We Work) and a new focus. We will focus over the next several months on how we all can help build a more inclusive workplace. This mission is so big, and so layered that we may only be scratching the surface, but we hope to start (or continue) these crucial conversations.

For the first episode of the series I spoke with Porter Braswell, CEO and cofounder of Jopwell, an HR tech platform that helps diverse students and professionals unlock opportunities for career advancement. Braswell broke down why the myth of the “pipeline problem”—the enduring notion that the reason why there are so few people of color at many of the biggest companies is that there just aren’t enough qualified candidates—persists.

He also laid out how companies can build more equitable hiring practices in every step of the process and why single efforts like the “double Rooney Rule” (the promise to interview at least two candidates from underrepresented groups for any position) alone fall short of building a company that can retain a more creative and diverse workforce.

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Finally, he outlined some advice for candidates in leaning into what sets them apart.

Listen to the full episode here:

You can listen and subscribe to The New Way We Work on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, RadioPublic, or wherever you get your podcasts.

About the author

Kathleen Davis is Deputy Editor at FastCompany.com. Previously, she has worked as an editor at Entrepreneur.com, WomansDay.com and Popular Photography magazine.

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