Diversity Recruitment - Is Your Business Getting It Right?

Diversity Recruitment - Is Your Business Getting It Right?

20 March 2017

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Workplace diversity is becoming an increasingly prevalent news topic – from gender to race, sexuality to disability and religion – companies are now being encouraged to source their employees from all walks of life.

Gone are the days where workplaces are full of white males in shirts and ties. Modern businesses have realised the benefits of not only introducing a flexible working schedule to suit those with additional needs or working parents, they now see the advantages of encouraging candidates from all backgrounds to contribute to their existing workforce.

You only have to look at the changing landscapes of our televisions screens, armed forces, Olympic teams and government to see that diversity is now very much on the agenda.

In 2010, David Cameron’s Conservative government brought in the Equality Act, which legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society. It replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act, making the law easier to understand and offering better protection to individuals.

But regardless of all of this, many companies are still failing to hit the mark when it comes to diversity recruitment. Largely because they are used to traditional hiring methods or ideals, which don’t necessarily reach out and appeal to people from a broader spectrum of society.

Some companies, unwittingly, deter certain candidates by asking particular questions at interview or adopting an interview style that can seem quite alienating for certain communities (for instance, online psychometric or personality testing).

Some online recruitment processes can make it difficult for people with learning difficulties to complete the application process. Companies that operate out of older buildings or sites may not have the right level of access for those with additional physical needs to even attend an interview, never mind get to work every day.

On a more basic level, interviewer bias can affect workplace diversity. It’s not a purposeful case of stereotyping or prejudice, it’s just perhaps someone who is used to jobs being done in a particular way by a certain candidate.

The recruitment process is now so much more open, so there is a real onus on employers to find out why candidates from specific backgrounds are dropping out of the process, or simply not applying in the first place. Perhaps a new marketing drive is in order.

Diversity recruitment starts at the very beginning – it’s all about widening the pool of talent you would normally draw.

Some keys ways of doing this include developing a hiring strategy to make your workforce reflect the community you operate in, talking to community groups to help find candidates and to provide diversity training in your workplace.  

There are so many organisations now that are willing to step in to help businesses understand diversity and promote equality and understanding within the workplace.

The bottom line is this – businesses are made up of people, and the more diverse a range of people your employ, the bigger the chances for creative ideas or new approaches to tasks. If you’re currently experiencing a skills shortage, it could be time to look out with the typical candidate you usually attract.

Involve your Human Resources department and be willing to embrace change. Your newly diversified workforce will thank you for it. 




Written By Shona Preston


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