5 Reasons Why Your Claim to be Diverse & Inclusive is Unconvincing

The evidence is there. If you have a more diverse and inclusive business, it will perform better.

It means many companies have started taking the matter seriously. But, having undertaken training recently, continuing to read and educate myself on the matter, I can tell you it's a complex subject that requires continuous learning.

And, if your business is long-established, like mine, you'll find you're creating a list of things to do to make relevant amendments that will take a great deal of time and effort.

Even the experts don't profess to know everything. But becoming more aware and, dare I say it, enlightened on the subject, is a great start. Work through your 'to do' list over time and you'll get there eventually.

If you're committed to attracting, processing and hiring a more diverse workforce, you'll tap into talent that your competitors won't, all during a time in history when skilled workers are hard to 'find'. But you'll need to get that recruitment process right from the outset, rather than deciding it's a work in progress.

So here are five things that scream 'we're not committed to/ready to embrace Diversity, Equity & Inclusion'.

Avoid them.

Your job adverts have a footer that claims you're an equal opportunities employer, yet the preceding advert is full of language that is contradictory

The advert should be gender-neutral, for starters and a list of endless role responsibilities will put a broad range of people off - including women, who are far less likely to apply unless they can do everything listed. Keep it only to the essential skills required and bear in mind you can train and develop the right person.

Ensure there is salary clarity (underpaid people continue to be underpaid) and talk about the culture of your organisation in a way that conveys your commitment to diversity. It might be that you acknowledge that for this particular vacancy it's more important to have the practical capability than a university education, to appeal to people from different socio-economic backgrounds.

A common trap is to use language like 'must have seven years experience'. It reads as 'mature' and if your advert were challenged might be illegal. Why seven years and not three?

Just like 'graduate' needs to be used carefully since that can be construed as 'young'. As does mentioning big company social events away from home and free drinks in the pub every Friday. In fact, big company social events are not only unattractive to lots of people but their idea of a nightmare! We've all moved on from dragging people out to events or making them compulsory, haven't we? So don't sell them as a benefit to joining your organisation.

The application process is cumbersome

Getting this wrong will lose you quality applications very easily.

EVERYBODY wants a simple application process. But some individuals will find your hurdles impossible and if you still think that 'the right people' will be happy with your long-winded process and be grateful for a job at your organisation, then you need to accept that this is not the truth.

Just like burglars who will find another house if there's a security system installed in yours, job-seekers will scroll past and look elsewhere. Somewhere that understands mutual respect, relevance, that it's 2022 and not all about you.

Consider whether your website is easy to navigate and the text is easy to read, for those with partial sight. Asking for the duplication of information already contained within a CV, pages of information that are inappropriate or unnecessary might be a turn-off or cause anxiety, as will the request to upload lots of documents upfront that might not be held on the mobile device being used (I've had an example where a parent needed to be involved to produce a passport copy).

And consider interview locations and times. Your schedule might not suit everyone and there will be those with building access issues.

In fact, when was the last time you tried to apply for a job at your own organisation and reviewed the process for relevance and ease? Try it.

You fail to adapt your interview style

Some applicants will find the 'normal' recruitment process more challenging than others.

I know first-hand that I was able to hire large numbers of people for one client, including several with autism, dyslexia and ADHD because the process was simplified and explained fully through the entire process.

That doesn't mean the process was any less successful at hiring the RIGHT people. But it was efficient, fast even. Just that applicants were helped along the process in small steps, with explanations about what was going to happen next.

Your process should not be looking to catch people out, but take them by the hand, through your process, allowing time to prepare.

Your benefits package doesn't accommodate a broad range of people

As potential job applicants skim the job advert they're considering applying for, they'll be thinking 'what's in this for me'?

Is your rewards package inclusive?

Same-sex couples might be attracted by your adoption or surrogacy leave. People who are socially aware or keen to promote understanding of a disability or minority group might like that there are opportunities to have days where the business allows them time to do charity work. And working parents (or even grandparents) will appreciate a flexible working week or the chance to work part-time.

The interview panel is not diverse

If your company wants to demonstrate that it's created an environment where people of all races, genders, sexuality, religions, socio-economic backgrounds (and everything in between) can thrive and realistically see themselves as leaders, then consider your interview panel.

Clearly, it's not appropriate to draft in a person of colour from the warehouse to interview a new Financial Controller as some kind of token, so think about what's appropriate and respectful.

But a panel of white, middle-aged, university-educated, straight, men, does not support your claims.

Contact us now for a free, no-obligation chat. Contact Clare here.

Clare Wight is the founder and Managing Director of Clarity Appointments, an independent recruitment specialist. She served as a Regional Director for The Employment Agents Movement, supporting other independent recruiters.

She remains an active member of Recconnect (formerly Members Only), a recruitment leadership network promoting high ethical standards, collaboration, diversity, equity and inclusion.

She believes business owners are more fulfilled and higher-performing when they provide emotional and professional business support to other business owners, even those they deem to be competitors. She does this actively, whilst challenging and updating her skills and knowledge of the recruitment sector, enabling her to offer the best advice to firms looking to make their next hire.