Companies across the U.K. often fall at the first hurdle when it comes to harnessing diversity in the workplace. The hurdle is your recruitment team.
Often, a company may think that they have very inclusive and diverse recruitment practices. They believe that they allow all kinds of people to apply for their jobs and have a fair and equal chance of getting them. However, this is commonly not the case. Many companies have exclusionary and biased recruitment practices of which they are not aware and which have knock-on effects on the equality, diversity, and inclusion levels of that company.
One of the most important aspects of this problem can be the recruitment team. This team is responsible for all recruitment decisions in the workplace. Therefore, how this team is built and who it consists of has a very significant impact on whether or not the recruitment decisions made are truly diverse.
In this blog, we want to help employers become more diverse and inclusive by discussing how you can build a truly diverse recruitment team and avoid these aforementioned issues.
The Impact of the Recruitment Team
Firstly, it’s important to look at why the recruitment team is so essential to EDI within a company.
Your recruitment team is your first point of contact for all potential employees. If you have a lack of certain ethnic groups, sexualities, identities, or backgrounds within your organisation, it is often likely that this problem can be stemmed right back to a problem within your recruitment system. Perhaps your recruitment team is acting with either unconscious bias or conscious discrimination. As such, many people may be failing to enter your company right from the beginning stages of applications.
You can run all the Pride events and Black History Month events that you want, your company cannot be genuinely diverse until diverse job seekers are given fair and equal opportunities in applications and interviews.
Often, the problem does arise from the fact that unconscious bias is a force at play. Most companies will not allow purposeful discrimination to take place in their recruitment and would be horrified at the thought. However, it is very common for recruitment decisions made via unconscious bias to slip through the radar without anyone noticing or being aware of the problem in the slightest. You may have recruitment workers who you value and respect. You may never be aware that they have unconscious bias that is putting some applications at an unfair disadvantage. They may not even be aware of it themselves.
How to Build a Diverse Recruitment Team
With this context in mind, it’s easy to see why building a diverse recruitment team is so essential for companies. If you want to see good EDI figures in your workplace, start right at the beginning. Ensure that you establish an even playing field right from when you start reading and considering applications.
Our advice for building your own diverse recruitment team consists of the following.
- Ensure that all members of your recruitment team are screened for bias and discriminatory opinions.
- Ensure that all members of your team undergo training, learning and development surrounding unconscious bias and are encouraged to consider their own learned behaviours and opinions.
- Undergo positive action to ensure that the members of your recruitment team are diverse themselves. Make sure one ethnic group, gender, or identity does not dominate the team and ensure a healthy mix of opinions and perspectives is heard within the team.
- Encourage feedback and peer learning from your team. Hold team meetings and town halls to ensure you deal with any issues or differences proactively.
- Encourage feedback from applicants who go through your recruitment processes. If an unconscious bias is occurring, someone on the other side of the equation might notice it more easily.
- Employ diverse recruitment practices learnt through training and development. For example, blind application forms and non-traditional interview formats.
- Make sure to pass final recruitment decisions through multiple people. Do not allow one person or a specific category of person to dominate the final decisions. Make sure you are making group decisions based on a diverse background of voices.
How you develop your recruitment team and how they behave has a huge impact on who enters your workforce. We know the value of a diverse workforce and so if your recruitment team is holding your company back from reaching truly positive EDI figures, this is a huge disadvantage to your company. To ensure the best business practices for both your employees and yourself as an employer, taking this seriously is key.
Following our seven steps of advice is a great way to ensure a positive, diverse, and inclusive recruitment team is at work in your company. With such a team, you will be sure to see healthy and inclusive decisions which reflect positively on your business.
It might take a bit of time and effort but, in the end, it will benefit everyone involved.
Become a Diversity-Positive Employer with Aspiring to Include
If you are an employer and/or business owner who is looking to up their game in the arena of fair, inclusive recruitment and employment, you have come to the right place.
Here at Aspiring to Include, we have plenty of tools and resources available to help you be the best and most inclusive employer that you can be.
You can start with our guidance for employers section, learning about everything from equal pay to the benefits of hiring a diverse workforce.
Then, you can check out the services we offer employers and see how we can take your business to the next level of inclusivity and diversity. You can also take a peek at our inclusive job board to see the other employers we are working with and how they are posting their job opportunities to our diverse talent network.
Finally, for anything else you need, don’t hesitate to give us a shout.