How often have you seen a hiring committee made up of middle-aged white men? A lot more than you’ll have seen one made of BAME women, right?
If you’re not part of that demographic, it can make you wonder what the rest of the business looks like. How inclusive that company is.
Although BLM, the global pandemic, and even the election of Trump have pushed the issues of DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) to the fore, as a society, we still have a lot of work to do. Especially in business.
At the time of writing this, it’s National Inclusion Week, which many people see as interchangeable with diversity.
But diversity and inclusion are two separate things.
They’re defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as:
“The fact of many different types of things or people being included in something; a range of different things or people.”
“The idea that everyone should be able to use the same facilities, take part in the same activities, and enjoy the same experiences, including people who have a disability or other disadvantage.”
According to Inclusive Employers, a leading membership organisation for employers who want to build inclusive workplaces, inclusion is “an overarching culture that encompasses diversity and equality and many other aspects of our working lives.”
Although inclusivity and diversity are separate entities, one way of ensuring inclusion is by hiring diverse candidates.
The more diverse employees your organisation has, the more diverse candidates it is likely to attract and hire.
And the more diverse people your organisation has, the more likely it is that employees and candidates will feel included.
In an inclusive environment, employees are able to work in a way that suits them, and they feel valued. This means they are comfortable and able to do their best work. It’s a win/win system for the employee and the employer.
More than a diversity quota
While diversity can be achieved by quotas, inclusion must be cultivated throughout the business, according to jobs board Macs’s List. There’s no real way to quantify inclusion, so it must be something that is part of your company culture.
And it must start at the very beginning – with your recruitment process.
So how do we ensure inclusion from the recruitment process and onwards?
Think of “culture add” rather than “culture fit” in your EVP and CVP
Yep. You probably want people to feel at home in your organisation.
However, culture fit suggests that people have to conform to your business’s culture, rather than the business adapting to accommodate your employees.
So rather than thinking about how candidates will slot into your organisation, think about how being more inclusive and ensuring greater diversity will add to your company culture.
Because, greater diversity leads to a more inclusive environment for everyone and has the added benefit of making companies perform 33% better than non-diverse businesses.
However, we know it can be difficult if you’re a small business or you’re based in a remote location where the majority of your team will come from the largest local demographic. This is where having a culture of inclusivity is vital.
Ensuring that the little diverse team members you do have feel included, and that they can speak positively about your organisation’s diversity and inclusion culture will go a long way to addressing the lack of diversity upfront.
Eliminate unconscious bias
Every organisation will argue that they are free of bias when it comes to background, race, gender, and much more. However, studies have shown that while we can all have the best intentions, unconscious bias creeps in.
A 2019 BBC article showed that unconscious bias often starts with someone’s name. In a study by researchers at Nuffield College, British Citizens from ethnic minority backgrounds have to send 60% more job applications to get a positive response from employers, compared to white counterparts.
One of the ways to do this is by having a blind selection process.
At Solutions Driven, we present long-lists of anonymous candidates, found from a passive candidate pool. Because we scorecard every candidate, businesses get the best candidates without identifying characteristics that make no difference to their performance but do to bias.
Eliminating bias gives you a better chance at diversity which will in turn lead to higher inclusiveness.
Improve your hiring panel
I’m a woman in my mid-30’s. The amount of job interviews I’ve walked into where the entire panel was made up of 40-50 year old, middle class, white men is astounding. Far from feeling included, I’ve felt positively excluded.
In one, the language used, the business examples used, the real life examples given all felt so far removed from my experience of life and work that I couldn’t imagine ever working there. (I didn’t take the job…)
People feel included when they see people who are like them, or at least people who don’t fit into exactly the same mould. With a more diverse panel, you’re going to encourage people of a diverse background to join your organisation.
Even better, you’ll get various different viewpoints of your candidates, according to your panel’s life experiences.