Diversity & Inclusion in the workplace is highly beneficial to an organisation in many ways. When you put together people who see the same thing in different ways, you are more likely to get a melting pot of fresh, new ideas, thus improving the creativity and productivity of your workforce. It leads to higher employee engagement, and consequently lower turnover rates, and because a strong Diversity & Inclusion message boosts a company’s employer brand it helps to attract top talent.
But how do manage your recruitment process to ensure diversity and inclusion is at its heart?
YOUR JOB DESCRIPTION
- Make sure the job description and person specification are not discriminatory in terms of gender identity, marital status, sexual orientation, race, colour, nationality, religion, age, disability, caring responsibilities, political beliefs – or any other grounds.
- When you are describing the person you are looking for, make sure that the only requirements set out are absolutely necessary to perform the job successfully.
- Educational requirements and levels of technical ability should only be included where they are essential (eg law or finance qualifications). Experience and skills can be just as valuable as a degree.
- Always consider flexible/dynamic working (eg: part-time or job share; casual or temporary; flexible work patterns or home working; term-time working).
- Do highlight activities/benefits that might be of interest to different types of candidates. For example: enhanced maternity/paternity leave, internal Inclusion Networks, and similar.
- Consider whether reasonable adjustments can be made to accommodate someone with disabilities.
And a reminder: where essential requirements for a particular job may be discriminatory, you need to properly document these reasons, and be comfortable explaining these reasons to anyone who enquires.
ADVERTISING, SEARCHING FOR AND ATTRACTING A DIVERSE CANDIDATE POOL
- When you compose a job advertisement, you should make sure that the wording is free of any discriminatory bias.
- It’s a good idea to highlight the fact that you are looking to attract a diverse pool of candidates through a diversity statement. Eg: “We welcome applications regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic background, religion and/or belief.”
- Be mindful of the language used in job adverts, which could constitute indirect discrimination. Words such as ‘energetic’ or ‘vibrant’ can imply the desire for a younger worker and can often discourage older jobseekers from applying. Specifying years of experience can mean missing out on younger, but exceptionally competent applicants.
- Consideration should be given to bringing jobs specifically to the attention of disabled persons and BAME groups (for example by using press/websites targeting BAME candidates or contacting a Disabled employment adviser). Eg: (Black Young Professionals/BAME Recruitment websites/ Film London’s Equal Access Network/Evenbreak).
- Information about jobs should be available on-line, in large print or via audible means if requested and Candidates should be able to submit their CVs in either digital or physical format if necessary.
- When shortlisting, your judgements should be made only on non-discriminatory criteria outlined in the person specification.
- Be aware of unconscious bias – a non-traditional British name, their age, physical appearance or address should play no part in the shortlisting process. Some companies are now reviewing candidate cvs “blind” with defining characteristics such as these removed.
- Applicants of non-UK nationality who do not require a work permit to take up employment should be considered on the same basis as UK nationals.
ASSESSMENT AND SELECTION
- When setting up interviews, consider the practical arrangements. Ask candidates if they have any particular needs, and whether any reasonable adjustments are required in order for them to attend.
- It goes without saying that when you interview, your questions should specifically relate to the job description and person specification. They should not, in any way relate to gender identity, marital status, sexual orientation, race, colour, nationality, religion, age, disability, caring responsibilities or political beliefs.
- It’s likely that you will spend time discussing the candidate’s CV, and matching their experience with the job in question. However, do ensure that part of the interview is made up of the same competency based questions so you can compare answers fairly.
At the end of the day, successful recruiting is all about hiring the best person, regardless of their background. However, by keeping diversity and inclusion at the centre of every recruitment strategy, you will fill your business with different, engaged, high-performing people who are proud to work for your brand.