Companies are always looking for ways to improve how well their business runs, and ultimately their bottom line. Over the years, many people have touted the positive impact diversity can have on a company. Now, Gap Inc. is doubling down on their efforts to build through diversity.
Gap's "This Way Ahead" program was previously a summer internship that sought to recruit workers from low-income neighborhoods. Now, the company is looking to expand that program in a major way. Gap is making the program year-round and pushing it from 15 cities to 53 globally.
Beyond this, Gap is also looking to focus on the potential of the program's new hires, as opposed to their current resume. In doing so, the hope appears to be to find candidates that could grow with the company, with individuals who would be completely overlooked by Gap and other companies otherwise.
While Gap talks up the benefits to their labor force of tapping into communities to find people they otherwise would not have, they also mentioned some slightly unexpected potential benefits. The company spoke of the concern most employers face in hiring and training individuals, which is losing them to other employers, possibly even a competitor.
However, Gap appears to have a different approach, feeling that by building up talented individuals through their program, even if the individual leaves the company, they'll have formed a relationship that will create brand loyalty in them in the future. Perhaps unsaid is also the hope that the program will provide the company with a boost to their image in a time when many consumers are looking for signs of a strong moral compass from the places they shop.
If nothing else, Gap's program lays out a roadmap for employers to try to build on or develop diversity programs and to do so with an eye toward the future. It isn't just beneficial to have entry-level employees from diverse backgrounds. Instead, it benefits everyone to go further and give room for those employees to rise in the company, while also building a relationship with those employees and their communities in order for everyone to fully reap the benefits of any such programs.