Employment and Jobs

Helping Employers Understand the Inequities in Their Own Talent Systems

August 11, 2022  • Economic Opportunities Program & Kimberly Shin

Photo of Kim Shin

Kimberly Shin, Managing Director of Talent Rewire

“Talent Rewire advances job quality and economic mobility for frontline employees through helping employers understand the ‘why’ of adopting and scaling job quality practices within their companies, as well as the ‘how,’” says Kimberly Shin, Managing Director of Talent Rewire, an initiative of FSG. Talent Rewire pursues this work through three primary strategies that include employer capacity building, research, and tool development.

In collaboration with its parent organization FSG, Talent Rewire has published a wide range of research including Advancing Frontline Employees of Color and Advancing Frontline Women. The reports reflect a cornerstone of Talent Rewire’s approach – embedding the voice and lived experience of frontline employees into all aspects of the work. Kimberly states, “While our interactions are largely with employers and workforce organizations, our primary stakeholders are frontline employees.” She adds, “We have organically assembled a cohort of current and former frontline employees who act as advisors to employers.”

Talent Rewire’s research efforts inform the design of tools such as the Opportunity Navigator described below, as well as the workshops and training the initiative provides to employers. Talent Rewire’s programs give employers the opportunity to learn from and with their peers in a company cohort model. These learning experiences are designed to help employers to “understand the inequities within their own talent systems, as well as design and implement a practice change pilot,” according to Kimberly. “We seek to help employers understand the history of structural racism in the US, and how their talent systems are perpetuating those inequities. On a tactical level, we have employers disaggregate their frontline employee data by race and gender, and compare that with the makeup of their frontline supervisors and leadership,” Kimberly remarks.

Opportunity Navigator: An Assessment of Job Quality for Employers

The Opportunity Navigator, designed by Talent Rewire in partnership with Grads of Life, is an online assessment tool for employers wanting to diagnose their job quality strengths and areas for improvement. The tool is centered around Opportunity Employment, a set of principles and practices Talent Rewire has identified that support equity, inclusion, opportunity, and mobility in the workplace while also generating value for the business.

The tool is “both a framework and assessment to help employers understand how they are doing with job quality practices, opportunities for growth, and actionable next steps they can take,” according to Kimberly. The assessment includes diagnostic questions to evaluate recruitment and hiring practices, wages and benefits, scheduling practices, retention and advancement supports, and practices that support diversity, equity and inclusion such as training and professional development. The tool provides employers with individual results and connections to resources to support change in areas that need improvement.

Talent Rewire’s work with employers connects systems change with shifting mindsets, says Kimberly. Helping employers see how raising the floor can also meet their bottom line is a critical part of this transformation. Talent Rewire has developed an intentional approach to engaging employers in this respect with values that promote curiosity, systems thinking, collaboration, measuring return on investment, and internal awareness.

Kimberly’s previous experience in education has helped shape Talent Rewire’s approach and collaborations in various ways. Prior to joining FSG, Kimberly was the interim executive director of Teach for America (TFA) in Washington where she also helped create partnerships between TFA and school districts. And before that, she created a career services department at a start-up college in New York.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is vital to the organization’s work with employers externally, and is also a key focus of the organization’s internal development. “Our commitment to DEI influences who we hire, how we measure performance, who we partner with, and how we make decisions. It also influences how we do work and how we model equitable norms and practices for our employer partners,” Kimberly states. She continues, “We firmly believe we cannot ask employers to adopt practices and norms that we ourselves are not modeling and living into.”


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Helping Employers Understand the Inequities in Their Own Talent Systems: A Profile of #JobQuality Fellow Kimberly Shin, Managing Director of @TalentRewire

As managing director of @TalentRewire, #JobQuality Fellow Kimberly Shin works to connect systems change with shifting mindsets, helping employers see how raising the floor can meet their bottom line.

Opportunity Navigator, designed by @TalentRewire and @gradsoflife, helps employers diagnose their #jobquality strengths and areas for improvement. Learn more in this profile of @AspenJobQuality Fellow Kimberly Shin.

“@TalentRewire advances #jobquality and economic mobility for frontline employees through helping employers understand the ‘why’ [and ‘how’] of adopting and scaling job quality practices within their companies.” @AspenJobQuality Fellow Kimberly Shin

“We seek to help employers understand the history of structural racism in the US, and how their talent systems are perpetuating those inequities.” #JobQuality Fellow Kimberly Shin @TalentRewire


Learn more

Kimberly Shin is a member of the Aspen Institute’s Job Quality Fellowship, Class of 2022-23. The Job Quality Fellowship is convened by the Economic Opportunities Program.

The Economic Opportunities Program advances strategies, policies, and ideas to help low- and moderate-income people thrive in a changing economy. Follow us on social media and join our mailing list to stay up-to-date on publications, blog posts, events, and other announcements.