Diversity and Inclusion in Recruitment

The instances of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others last year urged companies to take a stand against racial injustice, with the Black Lives Matter movement powering worldwide action.

In the UK, the recent racist abuse aimed at England teammates Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after the Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy show there is still a very long way to go to tackle racism not just in football, but in all aspects of life. 



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The work of business leaders, hiring managers and recruiters has been more valuable than ever before. Facing pressure from investors and customers, organisations large and small have pledged to advance diversity and inclusion within their ranks. Many are working tirelessly to make this happen. Yet, there’s still much more work to be done. 

Diversity analytics company Blendoor found that pledges and actions do not necessarily match up. In a study that looked at a small sample of tech companies, Blendoor found that the companies that made statements supporting the #BlackLivesMatter movement actually had, as a component of their workforce, 20 percent fewer Black employees on average than those that did not.

Diversity and inclusion should not be a simple tick of the box exercise. Nor should it be a mere opportunity for companies to jump onboard trending news. It requires significant commitment, strategic thinking, and accountability from all levels of a business. Change is needed, and it’s needed now. 

Take a look at how your business can implement diversity and inclusion strategies that yield real results.

Measure the business’s current D&I initiatives

First and foremost, gaining a strong understanding of your current business landscape and how your diversity and inclusion looks like both in terms of processes in place and current employee representation.

Businesses have to assess their context and understand what their current state looks like to figure out what’s the right future state for them going forward. 

Ask your employees

Despite improved D&I efforts from many businesses across the globe, a scary proportion of employees still feel that they don’t belong. In these workplaces, many female employees don’t feel respected (or worryingly, even safe), minorities can be painfully underrepresented, people with disabilities often don’t have the resources they need to succeed. The list goes on. 

No company wants to have a culture where not every employee feels comfortable or that they cannot thrive. But how can one address problems they don’t know existed? Without measuring inclusion, business leaders, managers and HR teams have to rely on their own subjective perceptions of the culture at their organisation, which of course, can be highly inaccurate. And damaging. 

Employee surveys are a fantastic tool for measuring the feelings and opinions of your workforce at scale. When used correctly, they can raise red flags about potential problems within your company that you were unaware of, and they can uncover opportunities to empower change.

Survey Monkey has put together a seriously useful guide on how to use employee surveys to measure diversity and inclusion for a stronger workforce. Go check it out. 

Examine current processes

Ahead of putting in new processes, we need to know what we’re currently doing and determine whether this is successful at all. 

If existing recruiting efforts don’t proactively account for diversity and inclusion from the very top of the recruiting funnel, it can be tough to make improvements. Consider all of the elements that are currently in place and analyse how well these are working. 

Another key part of the process of creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce is to uncover and consider your existing organisation data. For instance, you may wish to consider the following metrics:

  • Diversity of employees vs. application pool 
  • Diversity across organisation levels 
  • Job satisfaction
  • Job retention 

Review your communications for unconscious bias

As Sigmund Freud once said, Words have a magical power. They can bring either the greatest happiness or deepest despair.”

The words used by businesses can have crazy impacts on diversity and inclusion. From the content and messaging we use, branding and marketing efforts, job ads and descriptions, through to review screening, email shots and interview questions.

Every single interaction with potential candidates and actual candidates is an opportunity to encourage diverse and inclusive practices. 

According to new data released by Indeed, the world’s largest job site, just 13 percent of job adverts include diverse and inclusive language. Indeed analysed millions of jobs advertised across its platform for explicit mentions of phrases like “we are an equal opportunities employer” or “we encourage applications from people of all backgrounds”. 

It found that while there had been a 2 percent rise in the number of job descriptions using such language only 1 in 8 actually did.

Features of a job advert that can discourage applicants from underrepresented backgrounds to apply include wording and tone. Recent studies have shown that adjectives used in job descriptions often convey an unconscious gender bias. For instance, words such as “competitive” or “leader” are often associated with masculine stereotypes and can be a turnoff for female job seekers. The use of this ‘gendered’ language to describe wanted qualities is especially dangerous in gender-imbalanced sectors like STEM

Take time to review all your communication to ensure it is as inclusive as possible. Changing even the smallest words can have a big impact on outcomes.

Invest in technology

Technology can be an enabler of greater diversity and inclusion within the workplace. It provides data-driven insights and scalable solutions that can challenge outdated processes, open up our minds, influence processes and ultimately change behaviours. Examples include:

  • AI-powered text analysis to reduce bias in job postings
  • Gamification used with hiring managers to help develop skilled and positive approaches to employee recruitment
  • Video-based AI to assess the potential biases of interviewers
  • Using AI to help address the workplace gender pay gap 

Driving diversity with HdE LABS

Here at HdE TALENT, we have invested heavily in making sure that we are a voice for change in the talent market, putting candidates at the centre of everything we do.

Our Predictive people analytics platform, HdE LABS, provides HR and recruitment professionals with the data and insights they need to make better-informed decisions about potential talent.

With over 60 assessments measuring over 120 attributes, we help businesses identify, retain and maximise the performance, potential, and fit of a candidate. Our platform is built on AI machine learning, data science, and cognitive neuroscience to help identify potential over experience.  

So far, HdE LABS has helped companies including  Schroders, BlackRock and BT  make better informed and less biased decisions around recruitment and assessments. In fact, Lloyds of London has recently achieved a gender equality of 93.75 percent through its recruitment process using our platform.

Why not get in touch with us today to discuss how we can help your business create a fairer and more accurate approach to talent management?

While things are steadily improving, there’s still a long long way to go in creating a world that fully supports diversity and inclusion in all areas of life.

In the workplace, the successful execution of an effective D&I plan must include the cooperation of senior executives, hiring managers, team leaders, and employees across an organisation. Only then can real change be made.