Implementing inclusive recruitment

Inclusion and Equity start with Recruitment

Australia is now more diverse than ever. But the reality is true Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is yet to be fully adopted by many organisations and institutions. 

In order to reflect our changing social fabric and community values, however, it’s essential they do. 

Consider this for example:

The 2021 Census reveals how rapidly our country’s ancestry is evolving. 27.6% of residents were born overseas and 48.2% have at least one parent from another country. Additionally, almost a quarter of the population (24.8%) speak another language other than English at home. 

In condensed charts published by The Conversation, Baby Boomers and Millennials outstrip all other generations, the number of First Nations people is growing, and women are still struggling with the bulk of domestic work. 

These are all factors that impact work culture, consumer habits and our approach to organisational innovation through diversity. In case you missed it, you can read more about that in my previous article, Characteristics of an inclusive leader

But what does it take to establish true inclusivity?

Begin by assessing your current DEI
  1. Reviewing your current diversity mix. If every department is populated with similar people, this could cause issues in the future if you’re looking for diversified thinking for a new strategy. Whilst meritocracy should always come first, there’s little doubt that there’s a large number of extremely capable people who are underrepresented within organisations.

Making it your policy to encourage such people to step forward for roles can send a powerful signal to markets that your organisation is committed to DEI. It will also enable you to cast your talent net wider.  Remember, diversity should incorporate employees at all levels of seniority and backgrounds – from ethnic minorities, and those living with disability, through to older employees, genders, LGBT, and people from different demographics. 

Organisations need to start taking talent seriously; how many organisations have a specialist talent leader on the ELT? Human Resources is represented on many leadership teams, but if you really want to make an impact with all talent at all levels, especially with your DEI strategy, then a dedicated and specialist team to undertake this would be the best strategy. Of course, by not doing this, you feed more revenue into recruitment companies & potentially the message to the market that you are not that serious about Talent & your DEI strategy.

  1. Evaluate your current recruitment strategies and materials.  Even though hiring decisions are driven by business needs, it’s not uncommon for unconscious bias to creep into the process. This is where DEI needs to be addressed at each critical phase with established procedures, policies and technologies to counter-check “affinity selections”. 

Looking at your job descriptions and postings is a good start. Do they elicit biases that dissuade some people from applying? For instance, saying a ‘young dynamic team’ could alienate more experienced mature workers – even though they are progressive individuals. Does the tonality and imagery in the posting set a racial stereotype? Other things to be mindful of include:

  • Emphasising job responsibilities rather than requirements: When you remove degree requirements that aren’t essential (but can be demonstrated through experience), you also remove the stigma of low educational opportunities through disadvantaged socio-economic status.
  • Ensure people with disabilities can be catered for.
  • Identify benefits that show your commitment to inclusion and diversity – such as parental leave, hybrid work and flexible working hours, childcare packages, and mental health support. 
  1. Recruitment Consultants and Hiring Manager personal bias.  Considering many people are unaware of their bias’s and even less have mechanisms in place to evaluate their thinking, you may need to consider workshops to counteract the problem. Your HR team would need to be involved to ensure everyone in the recruitment process understands:
  • What DEI involves and why it’s essential for the organisation.
  • Tips on candidate selection and promoting inclusion and diversity during recruitment.
  • Topics to avoid during the recruitment process.
  • How to identify common bias’s and avoid them during interviews.

Other methods of promoting healthy diversity and inclusion

While all organisations have different approaches to DEI with recruitment, there’s a number of practices that can be relied on for positive results.

Artificial Intelligence and gamification

Technologies like AI and strategies like gamification can test a potential candidate’s skills. They can also reduce bias by evaluating candidates based on data and algorithms, rather than emotional triggers.

Good examples of this are how L’Oreal uses AI-driven chatbots to guide applicants through its recruitment process. Also, McDonald’s and Marriott International enables candidates to showcase their skills whilst experiencing the daily life of their employees. 

Be more targeted with recruitment

Once you have identified the groups least represented in your organisation, it becomes easier to develop recruitment strategies to attract them. For instance:

  • People with disability will gravitate to you if job postings, social media and website are fully accessible. Remember, 20% of people in Australia live with disability. Many of these people have unique talents, degrees and valuable experience.
  • Partnering with and reaching out to special interest organisations and colleges can open-up a diverse pool of talent. These may include women’s business groups, various religious organisations, universities in less advantaged regions, or institutions overseas.
  • Use Search Engine Optimisation and carefully chosen key words with your recruitment marketing to leverage Google to your advantage.
Improving the candidate experience

Be mindful that some candidates can perform better at interviews than others – especially if their background hasn’t emboldened them with much social confidence. Don’t confuse this uneasiness with capability; once a worthy candidate settles into a roll and feels welcomed, they usually thrive. 

For this reason, it’s important to make the interview process as comfortable as possible – consider their needs, such as demanding family commitments when scheduling an interview, or if they need disability assistance during the interview. 

Ensuring your interview panel is a diverse group will also help.

The upshot

Creating a diversity and inclusion strategy is never easy – particularly in regard to promoting its adoption across the organisation. However, considering skills shortages, the need to attract innovative talent, evolving community and customer values, and competition to develop workplace cultures, DEI is firmly at the top of the list of organisational objectives. And it doesn’t look like slipping any time soon. 

We understand that no two organisations are the same, and we pride ourselves in our ability to obtain a thorough understanding of your business. Most importantly, we listen, this allows us to develop a recruitment solution that is completely tailored to your needs. We aim to build strong relationships and forge long term recruitment partnerships with all our clients.

We have a wide network of executive talent looking for new opportunities and can source senior professionals across a variety of industries. Feel free to contact me for a non-obligation chat.

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