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Companies at Work: Kelly

As companies continue to figure out how to implement strategies that combat racial and economic equity, Kelly, a recruiting firm that places talent at 90% of the Fortune 100 companies and long-time Detroit Regional Chamber partner, recently launched an initiative called Equity@Work. It is a corporate commitment to work to reduce or eliminate some of the unjust barriers in the workplace that limit access to meaningful work.

The recruiting process has disproportionality affected many underserved and vulnerable populations. Kelly President and CEO Peter Quigley announced these efforts with Business Insider.

“Equity@Work sets the course for changes to Kelly’s own hiring practices such as removing salary and criminal history from our internal employment applications,” said Quigley. “As part of this initiative, we are also calling on like-minded leaders and organizations to join forces in addressing workforce barriers. When we stand together against inequities, we can help people reach their full potential.”

Kelly plans to break down barriers that create cycles of poverty, unfair employment practices, and systems that prevent workers from starting or advancing in their careers. Those barriers include finding work for people with criminal convictions, revisiting job qualifications that discriminate against people of color (e.g., requiring a four-year degree when it’s not necessary), eliminating salary history questions — which disproportionately restrict income growth for women and outdated requirements involving drug screenings, among others.

Continuing to pave the way forward is important to creating an inclusive environment. Kelly is also involved in other incentives such as the SHRM Foundation, The Detroit Regional Talent Compact, Pathway to Teaching, and Lumina Foundation. All of these initiatives strive to create more equitable spaces for all people professionally, socially, and through education. Quigley himself is a member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors and Talent Services Chairman.

“Kelly is uniquely positioned to play a pivotal role as a catalyst for change by removing unjust barriers to work,” said Quigley. “Our company operates in a space of influence at the very center of supply and demand in our labor market. We identify and recruit talented people, and we connect them to employers with workforce needs. We work on both sides of the equation and that puts us in a unique position to understand, collaborate, and act upon the outdated policies and regulatory injustices holding far too many people back.”

Kelly has also joined CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace. Learn more about Equity@Work here.