A PLEA TO CHICAGO BUSINESSES: EMBRACE INCLUSION AND SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS IN YOUR WORKPLACE
CHICAGO — The Bazaar, Inc. has announced a pledge to hire more people with disabilities, second chance and formerly incarcerated individuals, those who have experienced homelessness, and veterans to expand the company inclusion program from its already 30 percent of the approximately 150-person employee headcount to account for half of its workforce by 2025. Its President Brad Nardick has issued a challenge to Chicago businesses, calling on local leaders to embrace inclusive hiring.
"We challenge businesses to ‘Open The Door' and embrace inclusion by putting an end to the disqualifying of people based on their characteristics of diversity or disability, and instead nurture them to enhance a vibrant work culture, deliver stronger business results, and drive necessary societal change," said Nardick.
The challenge comes after Nardick delivered a TED Talk from Chicago's Wrigley Field to inspire greater social consciousness in the workplace, sharing experiences and stories of how inclusion programs create a virtuous cycle for companies, the people involved in them, and the communities they touch. In the speech, he recounts the vocational journey of multiple employees - including a previously incarcerated individual who found life-changing purpose through the opportunity to work, the positive impact working has had on the social development of an employee who is on the autism spectrum, and other members of Bazaar's Inclusion Program - and points to the systemic issues created by discrimination in hiring practices.
"Abstaining from diversity and inclusiveness cuts valuable talent out of the workforce, it puts a strain on our economy and financial system and preserves stigma that is harmful to our communities," said Nardick. "We strive to change the perception of inclusive hiring and disability in the workplace as proven industry leaders, and our initiative aims to help in diving greater purpose across a better working world."
The Bazaar is anchoring its call to action and hiring pledge around what it calls the Open The Door Initiative. Through education, dialogue and inspiration, the effort aims to spur action among organizations at all levels, to adopt alternative hiring practices and create career opportunities for valuable employees who are largely overlooked.
Organizations who participate in the challenge are encouraged to interact online by visiting Bazaar's Inclusion page on its website ( https://TheBazaarInc.com/Inclusion/). In addition to tracking progress towards the company's 50 percent inclusive hiring goal, resources materials and articles that share key strategies for creating resilient and inclusive workforces will be available online, as well as a direct contact option to connect with an inclusion expert from its team.
To aid in organizations' talent search, Bazaar is also offering to communicate directly and introduce any interested potential employer or employee to leaders at nearly 150 community and support organizations. Its network of partners and established relationships include hiring partners, career coaches and nonprofit organizations that help individuals who are disabled, veterans, previously incarcerated or homeless, and other eligible workforce leaders to identify, secure and sustain employment.
"Our priority is not only to be successful business leaders but to contribute to the communities in which we do business," Nardick added. "If you've been thinking about implementing a purposeful inclusion program - whether you believe it's a smart business decision or because it's something you're passionate about - we are here to help you along the way."
As the Initiative evolves with greater participation, the company will be facilitating more opportunities to elevate open conversation on social media and continuing education engagements, such as its Inclusive Workplace Webinar series launching later in the year. Streaming content will feature conversations with human resource experts, diversity and inclusion professionals, and members of The Bazaar's Inclusion Program who will address a range of topics, share insights and recount their diversity, equity and inclusion experiences.
For more information, please visit TheBazaarInc.com/Inclusion/.
About The Bazaar, Inc.
The Bazaar is the leader in buying and distributing brand name wholesale merchandise closeouts. We buy, sell and ship millions of pieces of merchandise every year, as the preferred liquidation partner to the worlds most recognized household names. Since 1960, big-box retailers and major multinational brands have trusted us to acquire their overstock and returns, turning excess or out-of-date inventory and cancelled orders into cash flow. This allows us to provide our independent retail and ecommerce clients with name brand consumer goods at below market cost, helping them differentiate themselves in competitive retail environments. The Bazaar is a third-generation family business that embraces a ‘People-First' mentality to create meaningful connections with our team members, clients, and customers that drives value beyond the transaction. Its Inclusion Program is a celebrated pillar of the company culture, earning numerous awards and recognition - including Most Innovative Business for Inclusive Hiring in 2021 by the Illinois Department of Human Services - for contributions in supporting people with disabilities.