Why you should prioritise diversity in recruitment

Prioritising diversity in recruitment

 14 Oct 2021

It may seem that diversity and inclusion have only recently come to the forefront of companies’ recruitment policies. Still, in truth, most companies have been aware of the need for increased diversity and inclusion for some time. There are research papers and strong business cases available online showing why diversity and inclusion in the workplace have many business benefits for both the employer and the workforce. As a result, in today’s world, it should be a priority when recruiting. So, what are these benefits, and how can you achieve them? 
 
Why is it important? 
 
Diversity and inclusion are important for employees as it makes individuals feel valued. If diversity in the workplace reflects the local community, it shows the employer to have ethical values. People want to work for companies that show respect, have fair practices and inclusive cultures. Not only is it illegal for employers to knowingly discriminate against age, gender, race and disability, but it shortens the talent pool. Working with colleagues who have a wide range of unique skills can build motivation among team members and encourage friendly competition. 
 
Companies with a diverse and inclusive culture have been found to outperform those without. Being an inclusive employer ensures you hire the very best and most skilled person for the role. With a workforce from a wide range of backgrounds, employers gain access to different views, perspectives, strategies and solutions. This combination of a productive and talented team has been shown to impact the bottom line positively. 
 
An inclusive workforce also creates a safe environment for employees to talk to management. As a result, they feel confident enough to raise issues, speak out about different ideas, and suggest working methods without fear of being rebuked.  
 
How do you attract a diverse range of employees? 
 
Even though most companies can see the benefits of having a diverse workforce, less than half have a strategy in place. So whose responsibility should it be to enforce this policy? Human resources, along with their recruitment consultants or senior management? The answer is both. Management is responsible for creating the strategy and communicating it to the business. HR can then make sure the recruitment process is fair and training is set up for current employees.  
 
Advertising roles in more than one place or with more than one agency can help widen the search. Constantly advertising roles in the same place may mean you only attract people from similar backgrounds. Think about the language used in job adverts. Does it imply you are looking for someone from a specific background? Job adverts are the perfect place to advertise and promote your company’s inclusivity, making it known all can apply.  
 
Job fairs are often a great place for recruitment. However, too often, companies only show at graduate job fairs. This may mean missing out on skilled candidates who have taken another path. 
 
Offer training to all your staff, managers and employees alike. This will allow everyone to get on board with your strategy at the same time. Coach your managers who are involved in recruitment on how to avoid unconscious bias. Training your employees on the policy will ensure they are aware of your inclusivity, and this can make them less likely to leave. If they are happy in their role and proud of their company, they are more likely to recommend contacts for recruitment, again widening the talent pool further. Offering incentives to staff to recommend contacts is a great way to encourage this. 
 
Unconscious bias 
 
One of the biggest challenges is preventing unconscious bias when hiring. Try removing information from CVs that may sway the interviewer. Such as names, gender and schools. This will allow your recruiting team to focus solely on qualifications and experience. 
 
Allowing employees at the same level as the vacancy to read over applications and sit in on interviews can help managers be more objective. 
 
Lead the way 
 
And finally, lead by example. Knowing and following your strategy will encourage the rest of the organisation to have a more inclusive attitude. Building a positive image of your organisation can help to retain both employees and customers. 

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