HR at the Table Recap: Inclusive Hiring with Rapti Mitra-Khurana

November 24, 2021 by Verified First

NFL Q&A Blog Image

Today’s hiring market is more than competitive. With high demand for quality talent and little supply, organizations across the globe are faced with talent shortages, challenging the traditional definition of the employee lifecycle.

In November’s HR at the Table webinar episode, we spoke with the National Football League’s (NFL) Head of Talent Engagement & Development, Rapti Mitra-Khurana, about investing in structured and inclusive hiring and engagement.

In her interview, Rapti answered four key questions that explore not only how to improve employee engagement, but also how to build long-lasting, mutually beneficial experiences. 

  • Why does reimagining the employee lifecycle matter?
  • What does investing in structured and inclusive hiring mean?
  • How does learning and development impact employee engagement?
  • How have social contracts changed in the workplace?

Why does reimagining the employee lifecycle matter?

The employee lifecycle follows an employee’s experience from the moment they apply until they exit the company, encompassing all of the milestones and interactions an employee has while at the company such as promotions, annual reviews, and job-specific projects. Organizations who pay attention to the patterns of the lifecycle experience a range of benefits including cost savings and empowered employees.

In this episode of HR at the Table, Rapti broke the lifecycle down into five important steps:

Recruiting → Onboarding → Growth & Development → Retention → Exiting

She further elaborated that as the workplace changes, the employee lifecycle must change as well. For example, Rapti remarked that while there isn’t a problem in attracting a large candidate pool at the NFL, the organization is still experiencing the ramifications of the great resignation through a spike in attrition rates. That’s where the employee lifecycle experience comes into play.

In order to combat these rising numbers, the NFL is increasing its focus on checkpoints to strengthen the onboarding process and off-set the “leaky bucket syndrome.” It also means leveraging the use of Gallup CliftonStrengths assessments to identify opportunities for employees that align with their goals.

What does investing in structured and inclusive hiring mean?

In the talent acquisition (TA) space, diversity is often the focus. It is crucial to remember that inclusivity needs to be practiced during the interview process as well. In our discussion, Rapti explained that investing in structured and inclusive hiring means gaining top talent and seeing them thrive within the company. She recommends the following four methods to achieve a TA and retention strategy:

  • Be aware of your own biases - Bias awareness should be practiced throughout every touchpoint that an employee has with the company. During the interview, prioritize the candidate experience and the effectiveness of the interview by helping your interview team become certified interviewers.
  • Be curious - Mindfulness goes beyond thinking whether you should ask a question or not. Check in with yourself to determine if you are asking the right questions to foster an inclusive space during the interview and in the office. The best questions are ones that enable you to understand the candidate better and signal your company’s values at the same time.
  • Let the employee drive - Invest in your organization in a way that lets the employee establish how they want to be treated. An example of this can be seen by showing support toward informal employee-driven mentor/mentee relationships.
  • Keep the heat on - There is always going to be pressure, but that isn’t a bad thing. Utilize key metrics to stay on-track with your goals, which should also include diversity initiatives. It can be easy to push off diversity goals until things “calm down,” but growing organizations that wait for the storm to pass may be waiting for a long time. Focus now on the organization you want to become tomorrow.

How does learning and development impact employee engagement?

Learning and development can be such a huge benefit to your organization if you know how to use it. For instance, Rapti stressed the importance of completing the feedback loop. Make sure when you ask for feedback from your employees that they know they were heard, and more importantly, that you are planning on taking action. Show them that you have a game plan moving forward. 

When learning and development is prioritized at an organization, the employees often become empowered to grow in their current position, learn new skills, and push the company to new levels of success. When implemented strategically, engagement is directly impacted in the following ways:

  • Employees are developed in a way that allows them to take ownership of key initiatives.
  • The leadership pipeline is fostered and strengthened.

Employee engagement should also be prioritized throughout your organization. Whether you are managing 50 employees or 5,000, having robust employee data is always helpful. 

How have social contracts changed in the workplace?

As Rapti mentioned earlier in our interview, social contracts have continued to change alongside changing workplace expectations. Employers should no longer expect an employee to be with the same company for the duration of the employee’s career. Currently, the most important aspect for employers is generating a great employee experience from onboarding to exit interviews. Otherwise time, energy, and resources will be wasted. 

Additionally, Rapti discussed how the definition of “social contract” has shifted over time.

Old Social Contract: Employers are expected to provide a livable wage and ensure that employees can have a stable life.

New Social Contact: Employers are expected to provide a livable wage, ensure that employees can have a stable work-life balance, and  give employees a high-quality experience at every major touchpoint with the organization.


For more insight from the NFL’s Head of Talent Engagement and Development, Rapti Mitra-Khurana, watch the entirety of this HR at the Table episode! To be a part of our next discussion with an HR and TA professional, register for an upcoming HR at the Table. In December, we’ll host Anuradha Rao, Senior HR and Corporate Recruiter at EPS Corporation, for a chat on keeping up with candidate demands and the new challenges that recruiters are faced with. 

About Verified First
Verified First is known for delivering streamlined background screening backed by the best client support, and for developing the easiest, fastest HR system integrations, for free. Our client support team is U.S.-based, answers calls in seconds, resulting in hundreds of positive testimonials and a 96% customer satisfaction. Verified First's patent-pending, award-winning integrations include over 100 applicant tracking systems, and provide clients a turn-key experience.

Share This Post