Good recruitment is inclusive recruitment

Facebook dismally announced last week they hired 7 black people in the last year and the share of women workers rose by 1%, while the total headcount rose by 40%,

In the UK, The National Audit Office (NAO) issued a report revealing issues with under-representation, particularly at senior levels, along with the culture being reportedly “exclusive”. The NAO study found that “good progress” had been made over time but had “plateaued”.

This leads me to ask, “Do organisations actually have appropriate sustainable solutions in place?” and, “To what degree do they really understand the root cause of the problem they are trying to solve with their diversity initiatives?”
I mentioned in my post last week that appointing stand alone diversity managers who implement isolated initiatives doesn’t work. Unfortunately this is where most organisations are at.

How am I defining stand-alone managers? It’s really to do with remit, resources and authority, but sorry, that’s not really what I want to talk about today.

Back on point, my advice would be, “Invest in developing a talent strategy with equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of it.
“Talent is more important than ever but most organisations do not have a clear plan in place for leveraging it effectively”. Building Competitive Advantage with Talent,  A report from Bersin by Deloitte, April 2015. 

Put in place a coherent end to end strategy, with short, mid and long term goals. Attach KPI’s, ensure it is monitored and reported against, and that it delivers an inclusive experience at each stage of the talent journey. In my forthcoming book “Diversity isn’t a dirty word”; I break down each stage of the talent journey and give insight into what inclusiveness potentially looks like. For example, I examine, “How inclusive is your brand? What are the criteria and practises that help create an inclusive employer brand and employee value proposition?

Today I want to briefly touch on the recruitment stage of the talent journey. Inclusive recruitment has increasingly become synonymous with the management of unconscious bias. This is a critical element of it, but it’s equally critical not to lose sight of your systems and processes and how they can become barriers to attracting and appointing diverse talent. That’s the focus for today!

Now, if millennial’s are looking for “an experience” from work, (not to say that we’re just recruiting millennial’s), and the world of work is being shaped by their aspirations; then, I challenge recruiters to create a recruitment experience which reflects this. Is it possible to use imagination to make the recruitment process, “an experience” which is engaging, informative and fun, as well as inclusive?

Sometimes I think recruiters’ imagination has a stranglehold on it because of the do’s and don’ts of; a) client expectations b) legislation. But, forward-thinking companies are moving away from just doing a skills-based selection process. Now, when they recruit, they want to evaluate much more, such as;
innovative thinking, ability to manage change, problem-solving skills, values and attitude, collaboration, etc.  Developing a recruitment process which assesses a wider range of criteria, could potentially lead to organisations attracting and appointing more diverse talent. More so than requiring candidates to meet prescriptive qualifications and experience criteria which is currently the norm; partially as it makes it easier for the algorithm or the junior HR administrator to word match CV’s at the initial sifting out stage.

Leaving imagination aside for now, how can organisations diversify and widen talent pools using existing systems and process, working within the context of formal CV’s and interviews?

I’d like to share a few top tips as a starter for ten, then I’d like to invite you all to share some of the things that you may have tried in your organisations to make recruitment more inclusive. They could be tips regarding the on-line experience, the assessment criteria or interviews, or anything you’d like to share.

So from me;

  • Focus job descriptions and person specifications on the skills required to be successful in the job, rather than the work experience they have, (e.g. 10 years experience in professional services), as this will extend the pool of possible candidates?
  • Consider to what extent to focus the job description and person specification on transferable skills, as this can be of benefit to your organisation as a whole rather than just a specific role?
  • Assess the ‘essential criteria’ for relevance to the role in terms of delivery and remove unnecessary qualifications and other potential barriers that would narrow the candidate pool?
  • Take a manageable risk when recruiting people who may bring wider relevant experience to the job, but may not be drawn from traditional pools?
  • Consider how you might make positions accessible to job-sharers and part-time workers? For example, advertising all posts as open to part-time/job share/flexible working unless there is a robust business reason why this is impossible.
  • Consider how, and if a role could be reshaped to attract more diverse candidates, without biasing the documentation in favour of particular individuals? Consider how you might make the job attractive to a disabled person?

That’s it for now; however, I’m really keen to hear your views so let’s get the conversation going!


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