Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

    As huge strides are being made in terms of modern equality, inclusion and diversity in the workplace have never been more important or prevalent. We have come to the crossroads of change and employers are now increasingly realising both the business and social positives to be gained from such developments. Not only does recruiting people from all walks of life award opportunities to all, but it also provides a wide array of perspectives and experience for the company itself.

    It is suggested that companies with a diverse pool of employees have actually been found to outperform those without. These companies can access a wider talent pool to take on the very best and most talented professionals, whilst providing opportunities for all. Diversity in the workplace is perhaps being helped by the fact that it makes perfect business sense to promote such inclusion. In a survey of 450 employers, it was found that 73% of the employers surveyed believed that diversity encourages creative and innovative thinking, while 67% said it was important so that the workplace can reflect the local community.

    An impressive 85% claimed that diversity in the workplace is a top priority, although just under half do not currently have the programmes in place to follow through on such plans. A huge 86% believed that anti-bias training for managers would be effective in reducing any unconscious bias in the hiring process, yet only 36% had implemented this. 68% said that a range of stakeholders assessing CVs would help and 77% suggested removing personal information from CVs, yet only 22% and 17% actively embark on these methods.

    Perhaps part of this issue comes down to the tools available to companies, as 45% claimed that their recruitment systems were not effective when it comes to finding diverse candidates for roles. Another problem in the area of inclusion may be the lack of a consistent department to push for these changes. 56% said that senior management should be in charge of diverse hiring, while 39% said human resources, and 9% said marketing.

    It seems as if the general feeling and realisation that diversity in the workplace is a modern social issue that simply should not exist is prevalent, yet the solution is lagging firmly behind. The statistics above show that social change is accelerating at a far faster rate than business leaders are actually implementing such changes. With record-low unemployment numbers and rising skill shortages, it is a challenging time for employers in the UK at the moment. With the available talent pool being smaller than ever, businesses of all shapes and sizes simply must utilise the full extent of the talent available to survive, which should be promoting skill above race, gender, colour, and sexual orientation.

    Businesses could therefore consider some or all of the following points in bringing diversity and inclusion into their recruitment process:

    1.      Advertising roles on a variety of platforms with a diverse talent pool in mind
    2.      Training hiring managers to deal with or remove the possibility of unconscious bias
    3.      Actively offer flexible roles to suit candidates from all walks of life
    4.      Engage specialist recruiters with the diversity and inclusion processes so all parties are working towards the same goal