We’re increasingly hearing words like ‘Diversity’ and ‘Inclusion’ banded across recruitment and in the workplace. What does this really mean? Are they just buzzwords? Do businesses really understand how to be diverse and inclusive in practice, rather than just on paper? Are we, Greybridge, acting as diverse and inclusive as possible within our recruitment process?
We wanted to make sure that the team fully understood what these words mean, to ensure that every day we live up to our Diversity and Inclusion promise.
In order to do this, we spent some invaluable Zoom time with Christina Brooks and Joseph Williams from Ruebik.
“Inclusion is not a matter of political correctness. It is the key to evolution and growth”.
The first thing that struck us is just how knowledgeable and passionate they both are. Secondly, that the Greybridge Team probably come up against something on a daily basis, that might challenge their Diversity and Inclusion integrity. We needed to make sure they were prepared and equipped with the right tools and confidence to handle this.
What is Diversity & Inclusion Within The Workplace?
DIVERSITY – within HR/employment, it is referring to the diversity of identities. For example: gender, race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation or disability. What’s really important to understand is that an individual isn’t diverse per se. A specific candidate might bring diversity to your team or business. For example, they are female, a person of colour or they sit in a wheelchair, but they themselves are not diverse.
“Diversity is about a collective or group and only exists in relationship to others. A candidate is not diverse – they’re a unique, individual unit.”
INCLUSIVITY – is about everyone, regardless of identity, being made to feel welcome and valued within a team, workplace or even industry. You can have a diverse team of talent but is everyone made to feel equally welcomed? Are they given the same opportunities to grow, be promoted, reach the board and so forth?
“Inclusion is not a natural consequence of diversity”.
To complicate matters even further, we have the word equality being banded around as well. Is this the same or different to diversity?
EQUALITY – is about ensuring everybody has an equal opportunity, and is not treated differently or discriminated against because of their characteristics/identities.
Under equity, everyone has access to the same opportunities.
“Equity recognises that advantages and barriers exist, and that, as a result, we don’t all start from the same place. Equity is a process that begins by acknowledging that unequal starting place and makes a commitment to correct and address the imbalance.”
Diversity and Inclusion Issues Within The Recruitment Process:
1) Request from Clients to provide a female only shortlist:
Hard to believe this is still happening in 2020 but it does. However, for the Recruitment Consultant, this can be a tricky one to handle.
This behaviour screams of an organisation trying to tick that ‘diversity’ box and in reality, this type of hire is set to fail. The ‘successful’ candidate will always be ‘that diverse hire’. They will never be recognised as the right person for the job but the ‘woman’ who got the job. Alarmingly, over 60% of diverse leaders leave after just 18 months in the role.
As a responsible recruitment consultancy, it is our job to always question this type of mandate and push back to the client. They need to explain why they require a female-only shortlist. Is there a valid reason for this request or is it just an attempt to create some diversity?
2) How to encourage candidates to put themselves forward for roles they feel they will not be considered for?
Think about a job advertisement for a minute. You might believe the language used is neutral but is it? Is your job specification really non-bias? It’s easy to unwittingly use language that will attract perhaps more men to a role for example. Could the language you are using make someone with a disability, over a certain age or from an ethic minority feel they will not be considered.
Textio is one tool that has been recommended to us to use, allowing you to check job advertisements and descriptions are truly non-bias, to avoid any discrimination.
For example, say speaking a specific language is an important part of the role. Rather than state candidates need to be from a particular country, say that someone must be able to converse in the language, so ‘French speaking’ rather than French.
Be aware and rephrase where necessary.
3) Name Discrimination within Recruitment
We all have a name and from someone’s name you can often deduce what their gender is, possibly what their race or religion might be and even someone’s approximate age.
Consciously or otherwise, name discrimination frequently comes into play within the hiring process.
Research carried out by the University of Toronto in 2017, revealed that people with Chinese, Indian or Pakistani-sounding names were 28% less likely to be invited for an interview compared with candidates with English-sounding names, although their qualifications were the same.
Name discrimination is often an unconscious bias. One could argue that this means the hiring manager, or recruitment consultant, can’t help it. It also makes it virtually impossible for the unsuccessful candidate to prove that this is why they weren’t invited for an interview.
However, there are ways to tackle this issue. These include raising awareness about unconscious bias within the workplace. You also need to involve more than one person in the decision-making.
Another option is to remove all unnecessary information about the candidate at the initial selection stages – known as ‘blind hiring’. It has been famously reported that when blind hiring was carried out in the musical world, the number of women recruited into orchestras dramatically increased.
Hire someone because of his or her core competencies:
To move forward and remove as many biases as we can from the workplace, we need to hire candidates based purely on core competencies.
The only way to strive towards being that diverse and inclusive organisation, is to identify what value the candidate will bring to the company and team. Hiring (or not hiring) someone because of gender, race, sexual orientation or disability cannot continue.
Building a diverse talent pool ultimately allows you to see different perspectives. Responsible organisations are now aiming to change perceptions by promoting the benefits that hiring people with different ways of thinking can bring. Previously, candidates with autism may have been overlooked. Now, some technology companies are running autism hiring programmes as they recognise that neurodiversity at work benefits everyone.
Look beyond the obvious and simply ask ‘can they do the job?’. Ultimately, we need to focus on hiring the best person for the job. Get to know the individual and understand the value they can bring, rather than whether they tick the diversity box.