How employers can foster a culture of inclusion

Jamie Smith our consultant managing the role

Workplace diversity and inclusion has long been a highly important and interesting topic of conversation with my clients, and it is easy to see why. A study by Deloitte found that diverse companies enjoy 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee. And, research from McKinsey shows greater diversity in the workforce results in greater profitability and value creation. The same set of research showed that there is a statistically significant correlation between diverse leadership at executive level and better financial performance. Arguably, this is because diversity in the workplace allows for greater creativity and innovation, due to a broader range of lived experiences.

What can employers do to foster diversity and inclusion in the workplace? 

Review your recruitment processes

As a Senior Recruitment Consultant, I am continually having conversations with my clients about what steps they can take to ensure they have a diverse workforce. To ensure you have a diverse range of employees, you need to ensure your recruitment process is fair and equitable. The first step in that journey is to ensure your recruitment process is optimised to draw in people from various backgrounds. 

  • Audit the job advert copy

The language you use in your job description and help to attract or unattract different candidates from applying to your open role. To attract more female candidates, avoid using too many “masculine-type” words (e.g., ambitious, dominate, challenging) in your job posting. Utilise tools like Gender Decoder to ensure your job adverts are gender neutral and inclusive. 

  • Be creative with where you search

Look for talent in unlikely or overlooked places. In recruitment, it is easy to fall into the pattern of simply posting a job advert on a job board and hoping for the best. This tactic however, does not mean you will garner a diverse candidate pool. As an alternative, seek out candidates in a more proactive way. For example, there are many online and offline groups dedicated to women in finance. This could be a great opportunity to connect with high calibre women in the industry who may be a more passive candidate. Furthermore, you can utilise job fairs, outreach programmes and charities to attract candidates with a variety of backgrounds.

An increasingly popular technique recruiters are using, this method is designed to mitigate potential bias in the recruitment process. The process involves removing identifying factors from applications and CVs prior to review, including: name, age, gender, ethnicity, name, address and educational establishments. Thus, allowing the shortlister to focus on skills and aptitudes alone. 

 Flexible working can help your diversity agenda

An additional way your businesses can foster an inclusive workplace culture is to provide remote and flexible working opportunities for people. There is a real appetite for remote working across the market. Companies, like EY and PwC, are reconsidering their approaches to work/life balance in response to the pandemic.

Employees have enjoyed skipping their commutes, and are working productively from home. By excluding remote working opportunities, you could be excluding some great candidates who could be an excellent fit for the position. Technologies like Zoom, Teams and Skype mean that a candidate’s suitability is no longer defined by how close they are to the office.

 Hire for the business you want to build

Having been in recruitment for a number of years, we have all heard those famous words “I don’t think they are a cultural fit.”  It’s understandable that companies would look to hire someone that fits in well to their current team. However, by closing that door early in the recruitment process, companies are potentially missing a great opportunity to present individuals with unique skills sets that will offer something different to the current culture.

Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance".

VERMA MYER | AUTHOR 

Understand the difference between diversity and inclusion 

Diversity and inclusion are intrinsic. You have probably heard Vema Myer’s quote, “diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance”. In the context of the workplace, diversity refers to the composition of the workforce in terms of characteristics such as: age, cultural backgrounds, geographies, physical abilities and disabilities, religions, genders, and sexual orientation. Whereas inclusion is about fostering a work environment and culture that enables all employees to participate and thrive. 

 Nurture an inclusive workplace culture 

I am fortunate enough to work with a number of clients who foster an inclusive workplace culture. One commonality they all share is that they encourage their employees to practice their culture and traditions within their business. This is important as one of the best ways to demonstrate that you respect them.

Here are some ways through which you can promote inclusiveness at your workplace:

  • Ensure that social activities aren’t always alcohol related
  • Recognise days and holidays with significance to communities, such as: Diwali, Eid, International Women’s Day, Hanukkah, Black History Month in February, Pride Month in June, etc.
  • Ensure employees feel empowered to share their beliefs and values.
  • Make every new hire aware that your company is a safe place for every gender, race, sexual orientation, culture, or disability.
  • Communicate that workplace discrimination will not be tolerated. 

Simply creating a diverse workplace is not enough. You need to communicate your expectations to your workforce too. Arguably, the differences in team dynamics make for empathetic teams who understand how to avoid offending people of diverse backgrounds.

Ultimately there is still a lot of room for improvement: women are still paid up to 15% less than men, in some parts of the UK, ethnic minorities are paid up to 23% less than their white counterparts, and 35% of LGBT+ people have hidden their sexuality at work due to fear of discrimination.  

If you would like to know more about Marks Sattin and our mission statement on equality, diversity and inclusion, please visit our dedicated area on our website. If you would like to discuss any of the above from a candidate or client perspective, please don’t hesitate to reach out to myself.

07/07/21
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