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Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Workforce

16 February 2022

In today's competitive workforce environment, cultivating an inclusive culture isn't just an option, it is a necessity. Innovation and growth are stifled in the absence of a diverse workforce offering a plethora of new perspectives. In fact, a recent McKinsey study found that companies in the top quartile for gender, racial, and ethnic diversity were more likely to outperform their national industry medians in terms of financial returns. Along with commercial success, it's no secret that a diverse workforce fosters a healthy and happy organisational culture.

Despite this, a number of businesses continue to fall short of their goals, while others are unsure where to begin in developing a diverse workforce.

What is diversity, and why is it important at work?

The term "diversity" refers to the presence of a wide range of different characteristics in a group of people. The term "diversity" is most commonly used to refer to legally protected characteristics (e.g., gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, and age). However, it can also refer to skills, professional background, and personality traits.

Embracing diversity at work benefits everyone. First and foremost, it is the right thing to do. Everyone deserves equal opportunities for success and advancement, and some groups, such as women, Black, Asian and ethnic minorities or people with disabilities, continue to face overt or unconscious bias. Ultimately, valuing the differences of others is what brings us all together and can be the key to a successful, thriving workplace and a fair work environment.

What steps can you take to make your workplace more diverse?

1. Make job postings more inclusive and eliminate language bias

If your company is having difficulty attracting diverse candidates, you may want to reconsider your approach. Unfortunately, candidates from minority groups are frequently hesitant to apply for positions, owing to past experiences or a perceived lack of chances of being hired. Leaders can no longer wait for talented candidates from diverse backgrounds to approach them and then dismiss them when none apply.

To make job ads more inclusive, remove and pay close attention to words and phrases like "strong English-language skills" and "Cultural Fit." “clean-shaven”. Never bring up race or national origin or make any comments about childcare management.

2. Gender Bias Should Be Avoided

Gender-Coded Words must be removed to avoid gender bias. Some examples of gendered words are:
Female-coded words include variations of:
Agree, empathise, sensitive, affectionate, feel, support, collaborate, honest, trust, commit, interpersonal, understand, compassion, nurture, and share.

Male-coded words include variations of:
Aggressive, confident, fearless, ambitious, decisive, head-strong, assertive, defend, independent, battle, dominant, outspoken, challenge, driven, and superior.

3. Create and Publicise More Versatile Company Policies

Are your company policies, even inadvertently, based on certain assumptions about your employees' lives?

Statistically, women continue to provide the majority of childcare in heterosexual couples.

Women are eight times more likely than men to care for their children if they are ill, if the school is closed, or in the event of any unforeseen circumstances. As a result, if your company has overly strict attendance policies or does not allow for some flexibility, women will suffer disproportionately, limiting your ability to hire or retain women.

Allowing everyone to take time off during Christmas is also beneficial for those who are Christian or celebrate the holiday for cultural reasons. Do you, however, allow your Muslim, Jewish, or Hindu employees to take time off on religiously significant holidays? If not, those policies should be revised.

4. Ask About Adjustments at Interview Stage

This point is especially important for candidates with disabilities, but it also applies in other situations. If you demonstrate that you are making a proactive effort to be inclusive and accessible, a candidate from an underrepresented group is more likely to apply for a job at your company. Asking if they need any adjustments to make the interview process more accessible is a simple way to accomplish this.

Ramp access to your building for a wheelchair user, a sign language interpreter for a Deaf candidate, or an accessible parking space close to the building are some examples.

5. Increase the diversity of your brand.

If you want to attract a diverse workforce, candidates should be able to tell from your employer brand that inclusion is a top priority but how can you attract diverse candidates if you don't have a diverse staff? Don't let anyone fool you into thinking it's too late to change how others perceive you.

Indeed, the more dedicated you are to creating an inclusive environment and promoting equal opportunities, the more you will be recognised within the community for championing the cause.

6. Consider your current employees' experiences.

Attracting and retaining a diverse workforce is only half the battle. Employers must consider how they can help their existing employees feel accepted, safe, and welcome in the workplace at all times in order to foster an inclusive culture.

It may not appear necessary when no incidents occur but requiring all new employees to attend a mandatory harassment-free workplace training session will ensure that the tone is clearly set within the business. If an employee faces discrimination because of their gender, race, ethnicity, social class, or sexual orientation, employers must hold the perpetrator accountable and make all employees aware of the consequences of such behaviour.

Furthermore, it is critical to check in with your staff during regular one-on-one meetings to determine whether there are any problems or unnoticed staff behaviours.

Get in touch! We can help.

Datum RPO can help you to manage your agency providers, ensuring that the workers they provide are legally compliant, as well as deliver significant cost savings.


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