Has the workplace become a melting pot?

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With recent headlines around the gender pay gap and women in the workforce dominating the news, it’s easy for companies to try a one-size fits all recruitment approach to fill gaps quickly. But, diversity is much more than hiring individuals from a specific demographic or ethnic background. Often the mistake businesses make is encouraging management to hire from specific groups in order to tick the ‘right’ boxes, which can lead unhappy staff as inclusion needs to be a part of the company culture not just the hiring process.

One of the biggest challenges facing companies today is how to create an environment that is open and values equal participation so people thrive rather than just be present each day. It is about creating a culture where people can feel they are truly valued and respected.  Individuals are made up of many layers that we have got to make sure companies create processes to understand, welcome, respect and value that.

When reviewing diversity and inclusion processes, there is no quick fix or shortcut. It may mean undoing old procedures and having difficult conversations as there will be people who feel threatened or who disagree with the new procedures being implemented. But if a business is truly committed to it, then absolutely it can be done.

A few key pieces of advice for employers about how to incorporate and create a diverse workplace.

People like businesses are unique, so the hiring process should be too.

Usually hiring is need driven; i.e. someone has resigned and as a result the role needs to be filled as soon as possible, which means the same job advert is used.

It is important to ask the following questions:

  • Do we really need that level of education?
  • Can we offer flexible working?
  • Do they have to be able to do certain key parts of the role?
  • What’s our interview process?
  • Is it the same panel each time – is there any representation?

Value Proposition – the advertising message and its appeal

It is very much about creating a process that is more about equity than equality – not discounting any group or individual to make sure that we’re all actually at the same starting point. If a company is inclusive, they would want to attract everybody and not only look at getting women back into the workplace or increasing the number of Black, Asian minority, Ethnics (BAME) candidates into their company. The message should be that they want the best person for the role and recognising that they might have to male themselves attractive to individuals in order to want them to come and work for the company.

Onboard and retain staff

It is important that companies spend time to make their onboarding process inclusive. Employees want to know what it will be like going forward once they have joined the company.  They will want to know if there is a real culture of inclusion. By ensuring that there is a follow on from appointment through to onboarding, this could lead to retaining employees as a culture is created where everyone feels valued.

Valuing differences

At times, companies struggle to get a number of diverse candidates to apply for their jobs.  This links back to the messaging – Companies need to remember that every potential future employee is researching them before they even apply. Potential staff can quickly tell if you are being authentic or if it’s just another token gesture. What message as a company are you putting out on social media?

An in-depth discussion regarding this topic can be viewed on the Prosper for People Facebook page in the videos. https://www.facebook.com/ProsperThroughPeople/

Written by Alison Charles and Reyhana Jano