Like so many other companies, 2020 was a year of change for Fender sparked by the national conversation around race and racial injustice in our country. Fender’s employees, in partnership with Human Resources, held meetings to discuss current events and how to create diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives to ensure that all employees felt supported, and that Fender’s activities reflected these values. As a part of that effort, Fender identified strategies to advance the recruitment, hiring, and retention of a diverse workforce. One of these strategies is a supplier diversity program.
While Fender is engaged in multiple recruitment efforts that will have positive impact on veterans, the supplier diversity program is of note due to its innovative approach and its disruption of traditional supplier procurement strategies in the instrument manufacturing industry. The purpose of Fender’s supplier diversity program is to create a robust and diverse supply chain by ensuring that companies owned by traditionally underrepresented or underserved populations, including communities of color, women, and veterans, are considered for procurement contracts. This increased level of supplier diversity is an important way to signal to diverse job seekers, including veterans, that the company recognizes and shares their values. Furthermore, it provides Fender with new and expanded talent pools of diverse individuals who are connected to these businesses.
- Supplier diversity programs are a unique strategy that businesses can employ to enhance their diversity recruitment efforts. The diversification of a company’s supply chain can be a differentiator when marketing and recruiting to veteran jobseekers because it clearly communicates the values and principles of the company in a tangible and meaningful way.
- Robust talent pipelines of qualified veteran jobseekers with the skills and competencies necessary to succeed on the job do not simply appear overnight. Companies interested in connecting with diverse talent pools must be connected to those communities and have deep, authentic relationships in place. Supplier diversity strategies offer networks of new contacts and an ability to support and grow opportunities in those communities.
- The recruitment, hiring, and retention of veterans is a complex and multifaceted process. A supply chain diversity program is just one small piece of the overall jigsaw puzzle of activities that Fender is implementing to attract veterans to their workforce.