Ramsey County Inclusive Workplaces Cohort - Session 2 Recap

Posted by Kurt Rakos on 11/18/21 10:22 AM
Kurt Rakos
Find me on:

SkyWater Diversity & Inclusion

Earlier this year, SkyWater Search Partners was invited to join the Ramsey County Inclusive Workplaces Cohort. The group had its second monthly meeting in November 2021. We would love to share what we have learned and continue the discussion.

November Discussion and Take-Aways

Attracting Talent

The group spoke about the current labor shortage, and what it means at each level, from entry-level jobs and manual labor to management roles. We discussed first how each employer is attracting talent to their organization. Three elements stand out, regardless of industry, years of experience, or the level of the role:

  • Money - employers must offer a competitive salary.
  • Flexibility - everything is up for negotiation, from on-site/off-site to flexible hours & work schedules.
  • Fringe benefits - companies are finding unique and creative ways to stand out as a great employer.

Employee Retention

The conversation quickly segued to retaining employees. Once we've got talent in the door, how do we keep them? How do we keep long-serving employees after so much has changed in the labor market?

The same three principles apply:

  • Money - So you just offered a new hire a very competitive salary who happens to have 10 years less experience than his or her colleague who has been at your company for more than 5 years. Let's examine how to reform the compensation package of your long-trusted employee.
  • Flexibility - Offer the same amount of flexibility in work schedules for all employees, not just the new hires you were lucky enough to attract.
  • Fringe benefits - You offered a $500 signing bonus to your new hire. Is there anything similar you should be exploring for existing employees?

inherently discriminating hiring policies

The team at the Center for Economic Inclusion shared some statistics with us.

A 2021 study published by Forbes Advisor showed that less than 50% of homes of non-white communities are owned*. In contrast, the ownership rate of non-Hispanic white households is 75%.

In 2021, 6% of white households do not own a car, while 18% of black households do not own a car. See a detailed breakdown of car ownership from the National Equity Atlas.

The Center for Economic Inclusion itself conducts research to further examine the wealth gap in our region. How does this translate to long-standing hiring traditions?

If historically, your company has always required employees to be on-site, has this inadvertently shrunk your candidate pool for those who do not have access to a car? This is very possible, especially if your headquarters is not easily reached via public transportation. It could be time to examine if the role you need to be filled needs to be on-site. 

If historically, your company has always required a resume & cover letter for each role, has this inadvertently shrunken your candidate pool for those who have never created such documents, or have only created them in their primary non-English language?

Varied Solutions

There is no single solution to creating a diverse and inclusive workspace. This week was all about getting the conversation going and discussing topics openly. The issue of competitive compensation, flexibility, and benefits has always been around. But it's being examined in this decade like never before.

A Timely Broadcast

MPR's Angela Davis recently had Tawanna Black (CEO of the Center for Economic Inclusion) and others on her radio program to discuss equitable economic recovery benefits in Minnesota. This is right in line with the discussion the Cohort had during our last meeting. Here is a link to the broadcast: 



What is the Inclusive Workplaces Cohort?

The goal of the cohort is to accelerate employers’ ability to advance racial equity and inclusion within their organizations and to support businesses that aim to leverage and sustain a more inclusive and sustainable workforce. Approximately 20 employers were be selected to participate and influence their organization’s hiring strategies and efforts. The Center for Economic Inclusion leads each discussion by creating a learning environment that fosters the discussion and sharing of ideas while encouraging accountability through safe and brave spaces for confidentiality. 

Upcoming Session Topics

We're very excited for our next meeting on December 9, where the topic is "examining where you are and determining where you want to be." We'll be posting a blog after each Cohort session so please subscribe to this blog and join the conversation.

Here is the posted schedule through August 2022:



*Another study showed that 24% of black homes are owned, however, we had some trouble finding a link to the source of that statistic. In either case, the racial wealth gap is prevalent in homeownership statistics.


(952) 767-9000



More From The SkyWater Blog

Topics: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion