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  • Rachel Doyle

How to improve diversity in your recruitment.

Equality and diversity have to exist in its truest form

In 2022, businesses need to be promoting equal places to work and a lot of effort needs to go into to removing any bias that exists and stops organisations from hiring talented candidates on the basis of their gender, background, age, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Similarly, candidates should not be excluded unnecessarily on the basis of a disability or neurodiverse condition. This doesn't mean recruiting to tick boxes and your business has to be an example of diversity and inclusion throughout, otherwise it's just a case of platitudes.

Diversity matters

The more diverse the skillset and the culture of your business, the more effective your teams will be and the better performance your business can achieve. We have written about this here. There are plenty of studies and reports and statistics that show this, but really it should just be happening anyway. According to glass door, 67% of job seekers say diversity is an important factor when considering a company.

What does it look like in your business

Walk the floors of your organisation, see what diversity looks like in your business - not all diversity can be seen of course but it will give you a general idea. Remember that this is what your candidates and clients are seeing when they come to your business premises and they will take notice. Policies around a business that focus on inclusion and the equality of all go some way to removing barriers but you need to identify how successful your recruitment strategy has been by working with HR to understand the full make up of your organisation. This isn’t always just about gender or race, there are social stigmas to consider too.

Be candid about where you are and what you plan to do about it

Once you have identified what your business looks like and what the percentages are based on the above sections, be candid about it. If you don’t already share the statistics, then perhaps it is time to. If you have a problem, then be open about it. People accept that businesses have been slow to identify they have hiring problems - what they want to know is that something is actively being done to encourage and train people to hire inclusively and to recruit in a manner that is free from bias.

Identify where the gaps exist in your business, or where the obvious gaps are and identify what it is that you need to do to remain attractive to this section. If you collect data in the recruitment process can you see that you have had applicants from a particular cohort and have they not progressed through the process or are they removing themselves from the recruitment experience? These are all flags that indicate there are issues within the business.

How do you show your inclusivity?

Remember that when you are promoting your business to clients or to candidates, share how inclusive your business is and the steps you have taken to improve this. We don’t mean cherry picking employees for photo opportunities because they are an employee that ticks a box. We mean genuine sharing or how you are inclusive. Invite your employees to share their experiences. Happy employees will recommend your business as a welcoming inclusive organisation to work for. That will make inroads into building up your employer brand and becoming the employer of choice.

Anonymise your process

Look at whether your business could recruit effectively with anonymous applications. The removal of any location data may remove social mobility challenges. This is even more relevant when a role is fully remote and it doesn’t matter where a candidate is based.

Job adverts are the first things your candidates see

If you aren’t attracting applications from certain diverse backgrounds, then it might be that you are rejecting them from within your job descriptions. Check to make sure that you don’t have anything within the description that might be stopping an ideal candidate from applying to your business.

If you are looking to hire a certain type of diverse candidate

Find them where they hangout. Much like when you are looking to attract candidates you identify the best job boards to advertise your roles on. You might want to think about whether there are some online communities or events and bodies that you can connect with to promote your role to the cohort you are trying to attract into your business.

Reach out through your own workforce

You might wish to encourage current employees to recommend or share job adverts with their connections; this might identify new candidates from diverse backgrounds that you weren’t reaching before. Even better if you have a happy employee recommending a business to someone that they know.

Partner up

Working with an external recruitment partner can help remove bias from the initial screening process. They are removed from your business and any preconceptions that might exist. They should have their own processes of reviewing their recruitment processes to ensure that they remain free from bias. They can help you find the best candidates for the role and ensure that you are meeting your inclusivity criteria as well.

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