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The benefits of Diversity and Inclusion at work

Posted on | Posted in Candidate Profiling, News

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) at work is a hot topic these days with many companies having policies to guide the creation of an inclusive workplace. Some people may eyeroll at the mention of D&I and think it’s all about being ‘politically correct’ and ‘woke’, but that couldn’t be further from the truth:

  • D&I isn’t just about race, gender, religion, it’s also about people with different perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds to yourself.
  • A diverse workforce can allow you to better serve your customer base. Why? A diverse team have already learned more inclusive communication styles
    There is another strong business case to champion diversity in the workplace because if everyone is the same you only get a one-dimensional approach to problem-solving, strategy and work. Variety is the spice of life!
  • Having neurodivergent people in your work force can be the driving force for innovation and profitability. Ensure your company’s D&I policy includes a neurodivergent strategy to attract any candidates with vital skills that could benefit your business.

Where to start?

Diverse and inclusive workplaces usually have leaders who aren’t afraid to have open conversations and who will advocate the necessary action to create an inclusive culture.

You can start by taking an honest look at your team and wider company – are you all the same sex, similar educational background, or ethnicity? Are you aware of any differences? If there is a lack of diversity in your employees, you can take steps to address it.

Be part of the solution

As the saying goes ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, so any positive changes to shape a diverse and inclusive workplace are going to take time. Set realistic objections and understand that you may not be able to solve all the issues, but you sure can make a difference.

A recent example is an IT company based in Surrey recognised that only 16% of IT workers were female and wondered how they could encourage more women to enter the sector. They decided to only accept work-experience students from the local all-girls secondary school to show that a profession in IT is an accessible and realistic future career path for women.

More initiatives such as this could help to increase the number of young women taking tech subjects at A Level and university, applying for IT apprenticeships, or applying for IT jobs in a few years.

Representation matters

Take a close look at your company website and marketing materials to see what pictures and images are used. Are all customers represented or it is only a certain type being shown?

Show your customers and potential new employees that you are for everyone and reflect this in your communications. You will attract more customers and talent if people can see themselves on your website and social media. They will be able to relate and know this is a company that ‘sees’ them.

Review the benefits package to see if the perks are applicable and accessible to all employees. Not only will everyone be able to use the benefits, it will also help you attract a broader range of candidates.

Give your recruitment process an overhaul

Only recruiting from the same small pool of candidates will ensure that the company misses out on diverse talents, skills, ideas and creativity. During this candidate shortage period is your recruitment process smart enough to attract applicants from different demographics.

Are you only getting the same type of CVs landing on your desk? Or do you find that certain groups just don’t apply? If the answer is yes, you may need to look at how your job adverts are worded. For example, do you require your candidates to have a degree from a certain university whilst the ad states that your company has a Diversity & Inclusion policy?

Check the tone and language used on the job ads and ask for feedback from colleagues and others.

Also consider offering part-time hours or flexible contracts because some very talented candidates may not be able to work full-time for various reasons. You may also wish to screen CVs by removing names to ensure no unconscious biases influence your decision-making.

Bear in mind that many standard recruitment processes and policies may potentially screen out any neurodivergent candidates, but you can make small changes which will have a big impact:

  • Adjust your recruitment practices for neurodivergent applicants.
  • Promote workplace accessibility and make any necessary physical accommodations.
  • Deliver appropriate training for colleagues and managers.
  • Provide ongoing support to neurodivergent employees.

An inclusive culture for everyone

A happy working environment forms a sense of belonging and fosters high levels of employee engagement. You may hold regular company events and fun team-building days for your employees to enjoy themselves and bond, but are these events inclusive for everyone? Of course these types of bonding exercises may not appeal to everyone, but could everyone join in if they wanted to?

You could host a variety of events throughout the social calendar to ensure that there’s something for everyone.

Forward thinking recruitment consultancies like Wote Street People can advise you on how to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We have plenty of innovative ideas and can give you tips on how to recruit to the widest market. Give Maxine a call on 01256 236997 or email maxine@wotestreetpeople.co.uk  for a confidential chat.

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