Inside Retail Services News

Hiring for intentional diversity is crucial to retailers

Left to right: DECA state officer LeKiera Foley, from Eastlake High School, Rose Gundersen, WR VP of Operations & Retail Services, and DECA state officer Kartik Arora from Skyline High School.


Promoting hiring practices that advance Washington Retail’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) principles is integral to September’s Careers in Retail Month. Simple changes in how retailers define “fit” in their hiring practice could facilitate building a work team that reflects the community it serves.

Thanks to the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) for partnering with up-and-coming business leaders to share hiring insights. On September 23, Rose Gundersen, WR’s VP of Operations and Retail, met with DECA’s Student Officers to discuss hiring scenarios to further the JEDI principles. These insights will help in the process of designing mock interviews for their November Leadership Conference in Bellevue.

“Fit” is a common criterion used to make the final hiring decision, especially when two candidates have virtually equal job qualifications. Fit, however, could eventually become exclusive if the definition is confined to similarities instead of complementarities.

The common practice of considering “fit” includes values, communication style, personality, and other factors. When a business focuses too much on hiring for similarities, the work team may become homogenous without benefitting from diverse skills, different personalities, and culturally informed team members.

Hiring for complementary requires intentional descriptions of “fit” for every business to develop a team that reflects the diverse customer they serve. This strategy is especially essential for retailers because creating a diverse team is part of customers’ expectations.

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