D&I is a hot topic right now and rightly so. Here at MJA we are embracing the ongoing change and finding ways to enhance our offering in this respect. With this in mind, I have been doing some research and am finding the act of putting thoughts on paper helpful in keeping an active D&I mindset so hope it may be useful to others also.
How do we define diversity in the workplace?
Diversity in the workplace refers to an organisation that intentionally employs a workforce comprised of individuals of varying gender, religion, race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, education, and other attributes.
What is an inclusive workplace?
An inclusive workplace is one that values individual differences in the workforce, and makes them feel welcome and accepted. Inclusivity and diversity are moral and legal responsibilities and employers are working hard to give diverse voices a platform.
Having a diverse workplace means differences exist, and inclusion takes it forward to ask how everyone, from team members to end-users, can feel valued. People want to feel valued, whether in teams, organisations, or when interacting with a product or service.
Why is it important?
Diversity and inclusion (D&I) is more than policies, programs, or headcounts. Equitable employers outpace their competitors by respecting the unique needs, perspectives and potential of all their team members. As a result, diverse and inclusive workplaces earn deeper trust and more commitment from their employees.
Recruiting in modern times means actively incorporating D&I into our mindset and applying at all times. Historically, agency recruitment has been a case of finding and attracting the best possible candidate for a vacancy – not an easy task itself in most cases! Has D&I changed this…essentially no. So what has changed?
We need to actively work to remove bias both conscious and unconscious, not only our own but that of our colleagues and clients alike. It has been shown that the most successful organisations in the world are made up of the most diverse teams.
But where to start and how do we monitor progress?:
Understanding This has to be the beginning and awareness training for all concerned in the hiring process and broader than that, to all members of the organisation to ensure inclusivity thereafter.
Job descriptions There are many online tools available in order to ‘rework’ job descriptions which after all are the first indication of a company’s culture. It is certainly worth exploring these to find more gender neutral wording options which may increase the application both in general and from more diverse or ‘hidden’ candidate pools.
Blind CV/application A much tried and tested option involving the removal of names and qualifications of applicants to focus on the skills and experience of the candidate while removing gender bias amongst other biases.
Setting diversity targets A controversial method perhaps and one to approach with care as some believe this may undermine the qualities and skills of the more ‘traditional’ hire group, however it is certainly worthwhile collecting diversity data and analysing to keep diversity and equality at the forefront of minds.
Communication This has to be the big one. Possibly aligned with Understanding but worth a second mention I think. The following is not in my own words but sums my thinking up perfectly: “To give each individual and diverse group a voice and sense of belonging within their organisation. To inform, educate, and support all employees to adopt inclusive attitudes in every aspect of their working lives.”
In conclusion and as the title suggests, D&I is a work in progress as much outside recruitment as within the industry and the more we openly and honestly communicate on the subject, the nearer we will come to a truly diverse and inclusive culture.