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Diversity in the Workplace: Diversify Your Recruitment Strategy

Diversity in the Workplace

Companies are increasingly appreciating the importance of a diverse workforce and the copious benefits it brings to businesses. In a recent study, 85% of UK employers said that increasing diversity in the workplace is a priority. By hiring candidates from a wide range of backgrounds you can gain access to a variety of skills, viewpoints and perspectives - opening up new opportunities for the business. The proof of the benefits of workplace diversity is in the stats;

  • Teams that are geographically, gender and age-diverse make better business decisions 87% of the time.
  • Businesses with a healthy balance of men and women are 15% more likely to outperform their competitors.
  • Companies with employees from a mix of ethnic backgrounds are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors.
  • Utilising the full potential of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) individuals can contribute £24 billion to the UK economy after a year – this represents 1.3% GDP.
  • Diverse teams are also shown to make decisions 60% faster than non-diverse teams.
  • Having a diverse workforce can increase job acceptances – in a 2017 survey by PwC, 61% of women and 48% of men said that they assessed the diversity of the company’s leadership team when deciding to accept a job offer.

How can you build your recruitment process to encourage workplace diversity?

First, you must consider how you define diversity. There are visible forms of diversity such as gender, race, age and ethnicity. However, other forms of diversity need to be considered as well, such as educational background, family status, disability, sexual preference, gender identity, political inclination, religious affiliation, and so on. Having a diverse team in all of these aspects will help bring in different skill sets, talents, views and opinions and drive company success. Once you have assessed this first step, consider some of these ways to encourage diversity through your recruitment process.

Take care when writing a job spec

It may not be something you have considered during the hiring process, but certain language can be exclusionary to specific groups of people -so the way you write a job spec can actually deter worthy candidates. For example, words such as ‘dominant’ and ‘competitive’ can typically be seen as positive behaviours for men, but as negative attributes for women; so, a job spec with this type of language might deter some candidates from applying. It is also important that job specs are comprehensible to all types of people, so it’s best to keep the language simple and to the point. Keeping your writing balanced with appealing language to all groups of people can encourage a wider response to your vacancy and help you find the perfect person for the role.

Look for talent in unusual or unlikely places

Only posting job adverts through traditional avenues can exclude a variety of people. For example, posting job adverts online through social media or job boards can exclude those who do not have social media, access to the internet, or even those who are visually impaired. It cannot be assumed that everyone uses the same platforms to look for jobs, so make sure to advertise through many avenues to encourage a more diverse pool of responses; these can include referrals, recruitment events, press advertising and so on. Video content sees excellent engagement online - you could even make videos for job adverts if you have the resources. A good example of using unlikely tools for a job ad is Amazon advertising a job for engineers on Tinder back in 2015; whether this was effective or not, kudos to Amazon for reaching out and trying new avenues for recruitment – we could all take a page out of their book!

Utilise assessment centres

Assessment centres are a great way to diversify the recruitment process and give all candidates a fair and transparent opportunity to demonstrate their skills to the employer. Sometimes, face-to-face interviews aren’t enough to know if the candidate is right for the role - assessment centres can help employers discover candidates’ skillsets such as presentation or leadership skills, teamwork capabilities and so on. Assessment centres also assess people on their personality, motivations and skills, rather than simply their educational background or work history, which can avoid prejudice towards such information. For more information about assessment centres, their benefits and what’s typically involved, read our blog here.

Make your physical environment accessible to everyone

It’s important that a workspace is a safe and inclusive place for everyone. Most employees spend most of their lives in the workplace, so the physical environment matters greatly. Having a highly accessible workspace will instantly increase your inclusivity as it will be a physically attractive, and feasible, place to work for all varieties of people. For example, if your office space has multiple floors,  it may be necessary to install a lift for those who might not be able to use stairs. Likewise, the building itself needs to be accessible, so a ramp or any other form of wheelchair access at the entrance is imperative so that wheelchair users can access the building. Take a look around your workspace and ask yourself if it is accessible for people with different impairments; if not, a renovation might be in order.

Changing the psychology of a workplace can also make it more inclusive and a more attractive proposition for the best candidates. From the internal layout to the colour scheme to socialisation – all these factors can help to encourage diversity and inclusivity. You can read our blog about the psychology of the workplace here.

Having an accessible office doesn’t just consider the physical environment - it also comes from your policies and employees. Staff training is essential to making an accessible workplace. For example, everyone in the business could undertake a course in disability awareness to understand when to offer assistance and what sort of language to use. Simple training courses for your staff can instantly make the workplace more inclusive and a happier environment for everyone. In terms of working conditions, introductions to flexible working can be accommodating to your employees’ lifestyles; for example, those with children might find flexible working convenient to fit their family’s schedule and so on. It is important to understand that in a modern workforce it’s highly unlikely everyone can work to the traditional 9-5 schedule anymore; so introducing flexible working can attract candidates with varying lifestyles to your business. Click here to read our blog for more benefits of flexible working.

Having a diverse workforce in an inclusive workspace is a common goal for most businesses, but diversity and inclusion starts at the recruitment process. It’s important to make the workplace inclusive for any potential employees of the business as well as the existing ones. Having a diverse recruitment process can attract a larger and more varied pool of job responses and allow for a more dynamic and stronger workforce. To help with your diverse recruitment process, get in touch with one of our experts today.

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