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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Equal opportunities

Deborah Gray identifies the pitfalls to avoid and the steps that should be taken to encourage diversity and inclusion in business recruitment

The business case for diversity is strong. Yet, more than half of UK workers feel their company isn’t doing enough to overcome underrepresentation in today’s workforce, according to Glassdoor.

With 76 percent considering diversity an important factor when evaluating a company or job offer, championing inclusion is morally right and vitally important to recruitment success. Following these tips, professional service firms can design a recruitment strategy that attracts a wide breadth of talented individuals.

Make your ads inclusive to all

According to LinkedIn, 52 percent of UK women have been discouraged by words such as, ‘aggressive’ and ‘born leader’, compared to 32 percent of men. While 40 percent of hiring managers say they don’t consider gender when advertising a position, companies must take care to understand how their ads might be viewed by all demographics.

Phrases such as ‘digital native’ may deter older candidates, while ‘strong English-language skills may discourage non-native speakers that are capable of filling the role.

Only include skills that are immediately crucial, make clear your commitment to improving diversity, and constantly monitor applicant demographics to ensure ads aren’t discouraging applicants.

Don’t let biases go unchecked

Some 20 percent of female jobseekers from BAME backgrounds have altered their name on applications due to fears rejections were due to bias. Unfortunately, almost all reported higher levels of call-backs, according to Nottx.

Thanks to the pandemic, businesses have been forced to address employees need to balance work and family commitments better, and with this, they should make sure that they have progressive, flexible working policies to match. On a deeper level, firms can also make sure they tackle bias against women wherever it appears.

Gender disparity simply does not make good business sense. As noted by McKinsey, organisations in the top quartile for gender diversity have been shown to be 15 percent more likely to achieve above average financial returns. Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are also 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their industry average.

According to BrightTALK 79 percent of HR professionals admit that unconscious biases often impact hiring decisions. Techniques such as blind recruitment – where identifying information including names and gender are removed prior to screening – can help ensure worthy candidates aren’t unfairly overlooked.

Offering a fair interview process

However, blind recruitment alone won’t create equal opportunities; bias can still creep in later in the process.

Asking candidates about their interests and work style may offer useful insight, but cultural fit based interviews can also foster bias. Some 82 percent of managers say fit is important, yet only half have a clear idea of what their organisation’s culture is. Therefore, interviews often end up testing similarity between candidates and current employees. In workplaces that lack diversity, such processes can be problematic.

Businesses should instead use techniques such as psychometric testing, where candidates are asked the same questions and scored consistently to measure their cognitive abilities, personality type, knowledge, and role-specific skills, providing an objective measure of suitability. With bias removed, each candidate can showcase the talent, personality, and potential that makes them perfect for the position.

At Totum, we have committed to recruitment practices that seek, encourage and recommend candidates from a broad variety of backgrounds and demographics. Studies show that diverse teams enhance performance, achieving up to 36 percent greater profitability. However, first and foremost, inclusion is simply the right thing to do. And those that fail to adapt will find themselves missing out on top talent.

Deborah Gray, Director, Totum Partners

Deborah supports firms at a senior strategic level to develop highly effective and integrated business services teams. She focuses on the recruitment of senior management professionals, including CEOs, COOs, NEDs and other leadership positions.

 

 

Deborah Gray
Deborah Gray
Deborah supports firms at a senior strategic level to develop highly effective and integrated business services teams. She focuses on the recruitment of senior management professionals, including CEOs, COOs, NEDs and other leadership positions.

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