How to Boost Diversity and Inclusion In Your Organisation
What is Workplace Diversity?
Workplace diversity has intersectional dimensions, which, in the UK legislation covers age, disability status, race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation (and then some). Employing individuals with a variety of characteristics will not only help to create an inclusive workplace culture, but it will also offer your organisation a variety of perspectives when it comes to decision making, higher employee engagement and better company representation.
In recent months, the Pride and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movements have shone a spotlight on the challenges and injustices that many from marginalised/underrepresented groups have to face, not only in their private lives but in their professional lives also. Though social media has been invaluable in raising awareness and sharing educational content, when it comes to improving workplace diversity, I believe that the real change must come from the hiring managers and decision-makers. Now is the time to take action, but where do you start? I have a few suggestions.
Self-assessment and accountability
Look at the representation in your own company, where is there room for improvement, and how can you take positive action? Here are some questions you should be asking:
- How diverse is your recruitment team/interview panel?
- Can you provide additional training and guidance internally?
- Do you provide diversity and inclusion training for your managers and recruitment team?
Self-assessment is key to recognising any weaknesses in your working practices so that you may deploy strategies to address and improve them. Set yourself some achievable goals, and outline timelines for when to reassess – what has been working, what hasn’t, why not and how do we change this moving forward? An effective diversity and inclusion strategy will go above and beyond the minimum standard of hiring a handful of diverse candidates; it should be an ever-evolving process of self-assessment and improvement.
How and where are you looking for talent? If you’re looking for talent in the same places, the same candidates are going to crop up. There are dozens of niche job boards out there that specialise in attracting diverse candidates from underrepresented groups (or you could acquire the help of an experienced recruitment consultant to do the legwork for you, ahem).
Is location an issue? If there’s one thing that lockdown has taught many organisations it’s that, given the right tools and a decent Wi-Fi connection, most employees can be as productive as usual, whilst working completely remotely. If remote working is something that your business can offer, then you can cast your recruitment net much wider than previously thought.
Lead from the front
You must invest time, money and (potentially) sponsorship. Taking on diverse candidates in entry-level roles is the easy part, but what does your board look like? And their successors? If your self-assessment highlights a lack of diversity in your board, start a pipeline. For example, here at Gleeson Recruitment Group, we saw that we were lacking gender diversity across our senior management teams and board members, so we ran a management training course that targeted employees from the under-represented group. That’s not to say that they were treated any more favourably or chosen at the expense of other candidates - we believe in meritocracy wholeheartedly. Our aim was simply to ensure that they had the confidence, knowledge and training to put themselves forward for the next managerial position and be considered as an equal amongst other applicants. As a result, female representation at management level all the way up to board has increased by 60%.
How inclusive is your company culture?
When it comes to building a diverse workforce, I think that is important that we challenge our company culture from time to time. After all, there’s little point in hiring a diverse team if they don’t feel welcome enough to stay. I believe that the success of a placement shouldn’t be measured on the candidate’s ability to fit in but on the team's ability to adapt, welcome and evolve accordingly.
Diversity and inclusion training is invaluable – not just for hiring managers or new starters – for everyone. Senior members of staff should be trained in team management, diversity and inclusion to ensure that they can provide an open platform of communication; where any potential issues can be discussed, acknowledged and addressed in an approachable and professional manner.
Workplace diversity adds value to any organisation, encouraging employee wellbeing and engagement. We all aim to create and maintain an inclusive environment, where our employees are accepted as individuals and they feel that their contributions are valued. As a recruitment company, we recognise that it is not only important that we ensure equality and diversity in our own recruitment process, but also in the service we provide to our clients because we are consistently recruiting on a large scale. And if recruiting a diverse workforce is something that you could use some assistance in, feel free to get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org.